The Good Thief: A Novel

by Hannah Tinti

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What is the central conflict of The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti?

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The Good Thief is the story of an orphan named Ren and how he comes to terms with his past, learns to accept himself, and gains an understanding of self-worth. It is a tale of internal conflict—Ren struggles to accept himself, as he has never been accepted into a real family and has always been valued for selfish purposes. His missing hand makes his adoption from the orphanage unlikely, and it also reduces his value to the orphanage, as it lessens his suitability for labor. When Ren is adopted by a couple of thieves and taken to be their accomplice, however, he is valued because of his handicap, which the criminals use to gain sympathy and, thus, advantage. Throughout the plot, Ren encounters people and forms relationships that help him grow as a person, gain self-esteem, and cling to his hope for a better life, despite the external forces working against him. The main conflict in the story is the struggle for self-acceptance, which, for Ren, is a lifelong process defined by misfortune, danger, hardship, and success.

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The largest conflict within Hannah Tinti's book The Good Thief is Ren’s internal struggle for acceptance and longing for a real home with a real family. Tinti creates a bit of a plot twist to increase tension and conflict near the end of the story when Silas kidnaps Ren and Golly, which ultimately reveals that Benjamin is Ren’s father. Discovering his true parentage seems to allow Ren to accept that he is most at home with the other outcasts he has grown to love having in his life. Ren learns that he is allowed to adopt his closest friends as his true family and is finally able to experience the love and companionship he has sought throughout The Good Thief.

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