The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt
Contributed by Ariane Heyne
Chapter 7

Hobie takes care of the very-sick and recovering Theo. During this time, Pippa visits from Texas, where they spend substantial time with each other, which leads to a rekindling of their old love. In New York, Theo is more concerned about the adults in his life than his current living conditions. He visits his mother’s attorney, Mr. Bracegirdle, and learns that he was about to let Theo’s father withdraw the large sums of money in Theo’s trust. This was until Bracegirdle suspected something foul and denied Theo’s father the access to the money. Meanwhile, Theo continues to live with Hobie as his temporary guardian, and continues to observe how he carries out his trade while using the money now available in the trust fund to study and take care of the household. While still being worried about his painting, he starts to hatch a plan of returning The Goldfinch to the museum without being caught or noticed. He has read in the news that people who are caught with stolen art are arrested and prosecuted.


This chapter shows Theo’s life changing for the better. He stops worrying about his life and enrolls to a school. Though he still suffers from his father’s neglect, he considers himself a rescued child under Hobie’s guardianship. In Hobie’s home, Theo occupies the room that Welty used to stay in, and even wears some of the old deceased man’s clothing. Though he is trying to reinvent himself, wearing them makes him appear like a ghost of a person he saw die. It also robs him of his identity and anything that is uniquely his. Here, Tartt uses the title “The Shop-Behind-The-Shop” to highlight Theo’s current plight. He has access to his money, and yet he stays with Hobie. Again, Theo can afford his own clothes but prefers wearing the ones of an old deceased man’s. Because of these actions, he can literary be considered ‘a man behind a man,’ a person who has no identity of his own.

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