Claudia Valentine Character Analysis

Topics: Gender, Woman, Private investigator Pages: 3 (1086 words) Published: March 8, 2012
Claudia Valentine’s Distinctive Voice and Character Analysis Claudia Valentine, being the protagonist of The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender, has been successfully developed in the text to both support and subvert the stereotype of a male hard-boiled detective, where she is portrayed as a female private detective who inheres the traditional characteristics of a tough talking male detective but also presenting feminist points of view. Thus the author, Marele Day has created this powerful distinctive voice of Claudia’s in the text so that it can connect and appeal to the reader. Day plays with the gender stereotype in the opening scene, making the reader assume the protagonist is a male. Day has Claudia describing Jack Daniels, overflowing ashtrays, a good looking nameless blond in bed, the situation of a hangover and the messy flat surrounded by scattered clothes are all things stereotypically associated to a single male. This is not until the reader identifies the blond to be a ‘him’, where one becomes aware she is female. Day has manipulated the traditional figure to suit her female protagonist. The reader also learns further into the text that Claudia is a divorced woman, living in Sydney, who has left her children in the care of her ex-husband, now living in the country. Claudia however, lives hard. She lives above a pub, eats pub food, drinks hard alcohol and judging from the one night stand and conditions of her flat, the reader is able to tell that she is liberated – has no steady relationships, is rather aloof and a self-reliant woman. Another factor that Day is suggesting through the association of masculine iconography and language to Claudia is the fact that she is strong and competent. As the reader finds a woman in typically a men’s job, the portrayal of her behaving like one proves that she’s more than capable to do her job well. Unlike other typical private detectives, Claudia doesn’t carry a gun, instead she is a karate expert – ‘my legs are...
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