The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith, is an intriguing story that starts out with Tom Ripley being approached in a bar by Mr. Greenleaf. Mr. Greenleaf’s son, Dickie, moved to Europe, and the Greenleafs’ are desperately trying to get him to come home. Tom had met Dickie a few times, but was not very close to him, but because Tom is so incredibly bored with his own life and everyone that surrounds him, he agrees to help in any way that he can. "'Mrs. Greenleaf,' Tom said gently, 'I want you to know that I'll do everything I can to make Dickie come back"'(20). Tom then ventures to the small town of Mongibello, Italy, the town in which Dickie is staying. Tom discovers that Dickie is close friends with a girl named Marge. At first, Dickie does not seem to like Tom much, but after a little while, they become quite close and Tom begins to live with Dickie. Dickie makes it quite clear that he will not return home, but Tom still tries to provide hope to the Greenleafs’ in his letters, even though he has given up on the idea entirely. They become closer and closer and Marge, who is in love with Dickie, is very jealous of their relationship. Tom feels such a strong bond with Dickie, that one day, while Dickie is at Marge’s house, Tom begins trying on Dickie’s clothes and impersonating him in the mirror. “He chose a dark-blue silk tie and knotted it carefully. The suit fitted him. He re-parted his hair and put the part a little more to one side, the way Dickie wore his”(78). Tom realizes that they look quite similar to each other. Dickie returns home and catches Tom in the act. Dickie feels that it is quite a strange thing for Tom to do, and their relationship is never the same. Dickie separates from Tom and begins to hint that Tom should return to America. They begin to despise each other, but they had made plans to take a trip to San Remo, so they go. On the train ride there, Tom imagines killing Dickie, he forms a plan in which he kills Dickie and then becomes him, and that is exactly what he does. Tom must plan everything perfectly after that in order to avoid suspicion and get away with his lie. All is going well until an old friend of Dickie’s comes to visit him in the house in Rome that Tom is now living in. Tom must kill this man in order to continue his impersonation. This begins police questioning and a long series of events in which Tom must navigate through to be able to get away with all his bad deeds. Will he get caught, or will he be able to lie his way to becoming a free man?
Have you ever wanted to become someone else? Obviously not going so far as killing that person to become them, but wanted to be able to live the lifestyle they lived?