In Steig Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it is stated that "forty-six percent of women in Sweden have been subjected to violence by a man " (Larsson). Though there are two main characters in the novel, only one has a personal relativeness with the quote: Lisbeth Salander. She is one woman of the forty-six percent who have been subjected to violence by a man. This violence is also a major part of the plot, where Lisbeth and her partner, Mikael Blomkvist, investigate an unsolved murder case involving this unfortunately common violence toward women. The quote mentioned earlier does not only relate to these murders and to Lisbeth, but is an underlying theme of the plot. The novel examines Sweden's unfortunately high levels of the abuse of women by focusing on the corrupt government that allows this violence to happen; this violent abuse has not only completely shaped Lisbeth's character, but has also been a main factor within the plot.
The first time that Lisbeth Salander appears in the novel, she is compiling a report on Mikael Blomkovist, a journalist for Millennium magazine. While it is rare that Lisbeth approves of any man, she finds Blomkvist to be a good journalist and an overall decent man; she paints him in a more positive light than most other men she reviews. It is clear from her description that Lisbeth is an incredibly unorthodox, due to her tattoos, piercings, short haircut, and nearly all black clothing. Her job is also quite unorthodox; she is a computer hacker who works for Milton Security's private investigation division. Lisbeth also displays some psychological problems, such as agoraphobia and possible anorexia, and her hatred toward men is made very clear. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that her character has been shaped by the horrific events of her past.
Lisbeth Salander's unorthodoxy is due to the severe oppression and traumatic events that she has faced.