Themes

Identity and social status

One of the main themes of the novel Normal People by Sally Rooney is the theme of identity and social status. This theme is illustrated by the two main characters and the different ways they define themselves. For example, in school, Connell’s identity is mostly defined by other people’s expectations of him, which he tries to fulfil. He fits in with the people around him and is considered popular. At university, however, Connell struggles to make friends and stands out in the social circles he frequents because of his working-class background. 

In contrast, Marianne has a strong sense of her personal identity and does not define herself based on what other people think of her. In Carricklea, she stands out because she does not wish to conform and...

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