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YMMV / The Secret History

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In the Novel:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Just about every character is subject to this, given the deceptive, elusive nature of the characters and their dynamics as well as the fact that Richard is an Unreliable Narrator.
    • The novel often hints that Julian was in on some of the clique's goings-on; he only flees when they're about to be caught. Although unlikely, early portions of the story are written in such a way as to hint that he actively had something to do with it. Maybe not, but he does seem a little too perceptive to just turn a blind eye to the fact that something is going on with his students.
    • Is Bunny genuinely bigoted, or just trying to get a rise out of the rest of the clique? And do they dislike him because he's prejudiced or simply because the way he expresses it is too barbaric and gauche? The world may never know.
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    • Henry and Camilla’s relationship. It’s ambiguous as to whether they had any physical relationship as well as whether the feelings between them were romantic or merely a mutual respect for one another.
    • Is Henry really the sociopathic chess-master he presents himself as, or is his behavior and claims of having finally found himself through murdering Bunny just him trying to deny to himself that he’s in over his head and in some way traumatized by what he has done?
    • A good majority of readers believe that Richard is secretly gay, given his heavy admiration and infatuation with Henry, attraction (that he eventually acts on) towards Francis, and more than passing mentions of Charles’s good looks. By contrast, his descriptions of Camilla- who he claims to be in love with- are incredibly vague and often rely on comparing her to her twin brother.
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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: An In-Universe example. Richard's grief over Bunny is slow to be realised (given the circumstances) but apparent throughout the book.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Every student in the Greek Class have done some truly evil things note  but they’re all also described as attractive and intelligent, alluring many readers. In particular, Henry and Camilla stand out as the most ruthless and intriguing members of the class.
  • Ho Yay: Henry is deeply devoted to Julian, and takes his departure very hard.
    He turned his blind, unseeing eyes upon me.
    "I loved him more than my own father," he said. "I loved him more than anyone in the world."
    • Richard comes off as incredibly enamored with Henry, even telling Camilla he loved Henry, too.


Example of: