“The Femme fatale, defined simply, is an irresistibly attractive woman, especially one who leads men into danger. In hard-boiled fiction, she is usually the protagonist’ romantic interest…The protagonist involvement with her my range from mild flirtation to passionate sex, but in the denouement he must reject or leave her, for the revealed plot shows her to be one of the causes of the crime.”
Williams Marling, Professor of English
Case Western University
In the book Jonathan Lethem’s “Motherless Brooklyn” both Kimmery and Julia can both, arguably be considered “Femme Fatale”. Julia Minna, Frank Minna’s wife, was an attractive women (to the Minna men at least), and had a slight sexual attraction to Lionel. While Kimmery, although not very attractive to most men, attracted Lionel and had a sexual encounter with him also. However, neither of them really lead Lionel into danger, nor did either of them have to be rejected by Lionel in order for the murder of Frank Minna to be solved. Also, neither Kimmery nor Julia was found to be one of the causes of the crime. So an argument could be made on both sides about Julia and Kimmery. Julia Minna is the wife of Frank Minna. She fits into the femme fatale category in more ways than one. One sub- category she fits into is the sexual tension category. The day after Frank Minna died, Lionel (protagonist) went over to Julia Minna’s house so that he could break the news of her husband’s death to her. When he arrived the entire house was dark with the exception of the bedroom. He followed her into it and held a conversation with her. It started with the news about Frank Minna and then eventually led to him holding her breast in her hands. Because of this encounter I feel like she had some sexual tension with Lionel. Also towards the end of the book she had some sexual tension towards Lionel, however, she would never have sex with him because he was a freak....
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