Eva Khatchadourian - “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Eva Khatchadourian - “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver

The eerie and thought-provoking book "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver explores the intricacies of parenthood, remorse, and the essence of evil. Eva Khatchadourian, the mother of Kevin, the adolescent boy who carries out a horrific act of violence, is the main character in the story. Since Eva's character is so important to the plot, it is imperative to analyze her background, personality, motivations, relationships, and general function in the book in order to fully comprehend the deep topics that Shriver explores.

Determine the Type of Character

The character Eva Khatchadourian is lively. She experiences a significant metamorphosis as she struggles to deal with her son's activities throughout the book. As Eva considers their shared life and attempts to make sense of Kevin's actions, the story is told through a series of letters she writes to her estranged husband, Franklin. Eva's transformation from a torn and guilt-ridden mother to a lady dealing with her son's decisions is facilitated by this introspective journey.

Examine the Character's Function in the Narrative

In "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Eva is the main character, and the story revolves around her viewpoint. Her attempts to comprehend Kevin's reasons and whether or not her own acts as a mother contributed to his violent tendencies are central to the narrative. Eva functions as a lens through which the story examines more general themes of responsibility, nature vs nurture, and the boundaries of parental influence. Eva is a mother struggling with the social criticism of her son's behavior.

Look into the Past of the Character

The tale delves deeply into Eva's past throughout. She is a prominent travel guide writer, of Armenian heritage, and was formerly a fiercely independent lady. Her conflicted feelings about having a child and the tense dynamics in her marriage add to the complicated background that Kevin's story takes place against. Eva's Armenian ancestry is noteworthy as well, contributing layers of cultural impact to her persona.

Examine the Personality Traits of the Character

Eva Khatchadourian has several intricate personality characteristics. She reflects on herself with unreserved honesty and intelligence, as well as introspection. Her openness also betrays some distance and mistrust, especially when it comes to parenthood and her bond with Kevin. Because of her strong sense of self, Eva finds it difficult at times to live up to the expectations of society about maternal affection. This causes friction in her relationship with Kevin.

Assess the Characters' Interactions

Eva's character and the story as a whole are greatly influenced by her relationships, particularly those with her son Kevin and her husband Franklin. Her and Franklin's marriage is troubled, full of unseen conflicts and miscommunications. In particular, the way her relationship with Kevin is shown is fascinating; it shows a complicated mother-son dynamic that alternates between estrangement, resentment, and brief moments of intimacy.

Examine the Actions of the Character

The novel's examination of parental blame and accountability revolves around Eva's actions. Eva has struggled with emotions of inadequacy and a sense of not truly connecting with her kid since Kevin's early infancy. As the narrative progresses, Eva's deeds become a focus for introspection, making her face the prospect that her decisions might have contributed to Kevin's unsettling behavior.

Determine the Character's Issues

Eva has difficulties on the inside as much as the outside. She struggles with guilt on the inside and wonders whether there was anything she could have done to stop Kevin from acting the way he did. As the mother of a well-known criminal, she faces criticism from society and the weight of public opinion on the outside. The book deftly weaves these tensions together to create a story that delves into the complexities of individual accountability.

Evaluate the Character's Development or Shift

Throughout the book, Eva experiences tremendous emotional and psychological development. Her journey is characterized by her eventual awakening to the limitations of parental influence and her acceptance that she might not be able to control certain aspects of Kevin's personality. Eva has a moving moment of reckoning at the novel's climax, which challenges her ideas of who she is as a mother and a person.

Provide Proof to Back Up Your Analysis

Shriver's story is full of instances that highlight Eva's characteristics, drives, and deeds. Her letters to Franklin, for example, give a candid and unvarnished description of her feelings and ideas. Particular events, like Kevin's early behavioral problems and the tense mother-son relationships, provide verifiable proof of Eva's inner conflicts and the outside difficulties she encounters.

Determine the Significance of the Character

Eva Khatchadourian is a pivotal and complex character whose journey facilitates the novel's examination of important subjects. Her importance comes from her ability to make readers consider the intricacies of parenting, cultural norms, and the nature of evil in addition to her function as Kevin's mother. Shriver asks readers to consider the limits of parental accountability for their children's behavior by using Eva to subvert traditional ideas of maternal instinct and duty.

The History of the Character

Knowing Eva's past is essential to comprehending her personality. Her worldview and how she responds to social expectations are shaped by her Armenian heritage, which contributes layers of culture to her identity. Her tendency for independence and self-reliance is also influenced by her tense relationship with her parents.

Personality Characteristics

Eva is a sharp, self-reliant, and ruthlessly honest person. Her resistance to conventional mother responsibilities and her inability to emotionally connect with Kevin are characteristics that set her apart. These characteristics fuel the conflict in her relationships and serve as the main theme for the book's examination of mother responsibility.

Objectives and Motivators

Eva is mostly driven by a desire to comprehend Kevin and deal with the fallout from his actions. Her objective is to come to terms with her personal responsibility for the catastrophe and achieve closure. Throughout the book, this drive fuels her introspective journey.

Difficulties and Conflicts

Eva struggles with guilt-related internal issues as well as condemnation from society external conflicts. One of the main themes of the book is her struggle to make sense of Kevin's decisions and her own behavior, which highlights how the narrative explores the boundaries of parental influence.


Eva's character growth is shaped by her connections, especially with Franklin and Kevin. The novel's examination of family dynamics, love, and the effects of parental choices on children is aided by the tense dynamics in her marriage and the nuanced mother-son bond.

Archetypes and Symbolism

Eva is a perfect example of the contemporary, self-reliant woman who defies expectations placed on her by society. Her character is enhanced by the symbolic significance of her Armenian origin, which links her personal challenges to greater cultural influences.

Character Development

Eva's story is one of acceptance and self-discovery. She changes from a troubled mother carrying guilt to a lady accepting the challenges of parenthood as she struggles with the fallout from Kevin's actions.

Dialogue and Language

Eva uses direct language that befits her honesty and intelligence. Her letters to Franklin are written in a tone that combines pain, frustration, and an unwavering search for the truth. Shriver uses language as a tool to explore Eva's mental state.

Historical and Cultural Background

Eva's identity and perspective are shaped by her cultural and historical background, especially her Armenian ethnicity. Shriver skillfully incorporates these components into the story to give Eva's persona more depth and nuance.

Analytical Angles

Examining opposing viewpoints of Eva's persona enriches the analysis. Various readings could highlight different facets of Eva's persona, such her agency as a woman or the expectations society has of mothers. Views on Eva's place in the novel's main themes will differ among critics.

Set Up Your Study

Ensure that the analysis is arranged logically so that Eva's character can be explored in a cohesive manner. Think about putting similar elements—such as relationships, motivations, personality traits, and background—together.

Present Proof

Provide clear quotes, scenarios, and examples from the book to bolster observations and interpretations made throughout the analysis. The analysis is strengthened and the insights offered are given a strong foundation by the use of concrete instances.

In conclusion, Eva Khatchadourian is a multifaceted and engrossing heroine whose journey in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" offers a potent examination of guilt, motherhood, and the complicated complexities of family dynamics. By carefully examining Shriver's history, character traits, motives, interpersonal connections, and general function in the story, readers can get a sophisticated comprehension of the deep themes that are interwoven throughout Shriver's tale. Eva's persona subverts accepted notions, provoking thought about the nature of evil, parental duty, and the expectations society has of mothers.