Crime Fiction Notes

Topics: Literary Genre, Genre fiction, Crime fiction Pages: 5 (996 words) Published: July 20, 2012
- Thesis: broad and meaningful
- define terms
- link to module
- link to rubric
- introduce texts

Topic sentences:
- insightful

- genre theorist
- context and values
- conventions
- techniques and quotes

- read over your essay and familiarise yourself with your wording - have discussions
- Figure out the arguments in your head
- practise exams
- don’t just Know the material REALLY UNDERSTAND it

The Big Sleep

- conventions that are constant throughout generations of crime fiction genre (passion, detachment, love, hope, justice) are a reflection on the timeless and universal human needs - conventions that are subverted are a reflection of changing values and context

- 1950’s post WW2
- Economic depression
- Desire for hope, justice, escapism

Schwartz: “crime fiction serves to explicate the dangers and pleasures of life.” - There is human emotion with which the audience can empathise - Gives the illusion that they have entered the world of crime

Miller: “A rhetorically sound definition of genre must be centred not on the substance or form of discourse, but on the action it is used to accomplish,” - manipulate audiences empathy to engage them in the text - typical of TRADITIONAL crime fiction GENRE

(Remember these techniques interchangeably and only use the appropriate ones)

Context specific
1. Subvert
Context: Desire for hope
Convention: film noir subgenre traditionally seek to realistically portray the inescapable broken nature of society – subverted – Happy Ending Observation & Theorist:
- Imperative of genre to allow for subversion to become relevant to socio-economic or political context - Chandler, “the cycles and transformations of genre can be seen as a response to the changing political, social and economic conditions”

- socio-economic context of 1940’s World War 2 America - midst of an economic depression
- employment was low and consequently crime was on the rise - yearning for justice and heroism to correct the broken nature of society Convention:
- Characterisation of Marlowe as determined and relentless - Ironic and self-depreciating dialogue “I’m just a guy whose paid to do other peoples laundry” embodies disposition of lone ranger - Heroic connotations, “why did you have to keep going?”, “too many people told me to stop.” Observation and Theorist:

- Crime fiction gives the audience what it NEEDS

Context: 1950’s audience can critique broken society and judge morality of characters Convention:
- Conforms to traditional structure of c/f: red herrings, witnesses, investigation, unveiling of mystery - Lack of narration; no point of view; audience critique characters - E.G. Marlowe, womanizer, heavy drinker, blatant disrespect for authority and the law, “I don’t know what I am going to tell them- but it will be pretty close to the truth” retain a degree of morality, reproach toward reprehensible behaviour, “my, my, my, so many guns for so few brains.” Reflects ambivalent noir concept that everything good is tainted with evil Observation and theorist:

- Convoluted plotline makes the audience “objective viewer” - Critique the broken society and the morality of characters - Livingston, “different genres are concerned with different world views…”

1. Conform
Context: common timeless human desires transcend context and audience and hence are constant throughout generations of crime fiction Convention:
- human fascination with romantic love interest
- foregrounded interaction between ‘hardboiled detective’ Marlowe and ‘femme fatal’ Vivien Rutledge - Verbal sparring soaked in double-entendres indicative of sexual tension;...
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