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One notable passage in these opening segments comes when Salander points out to Frode the discrepancy between Blomkvist’s honest nature and the accusations of dishonesty leveled against him in the libel suit. The comment both exemplifies Salander’s shrewdness and foreshadows the conflict to come between Blomkvist and Wennerström. One of Salander’s strengths is her ability to draw inferences from small details. The strength allows her to draw conclusions about how people behave as well as gain a psychological edge over those with whom she interacts. Salander’s comment also points to Wennerström’s tremendous influence in Swedish society, as she more or less suggests he deliberately drew Blomkvist into libeling him, and it also implies that she respects Blomkvist, setting a foundation for the future bond between Blomkvist and Salander.

Finally, the opening chapters set up a distinct parallel between Blomkvist and Salander with a strong focus on their feelings of isolation and alienation within their respective communities. Though Blomkvist previously enjoyed a successful career and a small measure of fame as a reporter, his libel conviction leaves him quite separate from his colleagues. Shunned by his fellow journalists, he contemplates a future with his credibility in ruins and plans a life in which his normal social circle no longer exists. Salander is similarly isolated, albeit by choice. Because of her appearance and attitude, Salander does not fit into the corporate world in which she works, and she appears to have few, if any, close relationships. But while Blomkvist is unhappy about his isolation, Salander accepts hers willingly and seems to take comfort in her relative social anonymity.