The Long Goodbye: The Social Impacts of the Novel “The image of Los Angeles by the 1 950s was, in contrast, that of the wasteland: in the cold, hard city one was overwhelmed by emptiness, desolation, and despair,” as quoted in the article The Dark Side of the Dream by Tina Olsin Lent, overpopulation and industrialization were the major factors that led to gradual deterioration of the city of Los Angeles. rbanization, invoked by the booming economy and glamour of the city, resulted in slums and overcrowded environments and industrialization olluted the city ; industrialization polluted the city .
Soon, The Great Depression hit and the city was overwhelmed with injustice, poverty, and crimes. Nevertheless, amidst such a gloomy and dark city, emerged a popular hard-boiled detective fiction, The Long Goodbye, that served readers as an outlet from dark realities.
In the novel The Long Goodbye, Chandler uses the tropes of corruption and femme fatale to demonstrate the social impacts they have had on the dark and pessimistic postwar era of the 1 940s.
Despite the disheartening historical context of The Long Goodbye, Raymond chandler ses Heroism the motif of heroism to contrast the prevailing darkness that The Great Depression and World War II had encroached on the city of Los Angeles. The juxtaposition of Heroism and Darkness in the novel enthralled the readers of the postwar era and provided them a gleam of hope for the city’s recovery.
According to Telotte in Voices in the Dark, ” the film noir seems fundamentally about violations: vice, corruption, unrestrained desire, and, most fundamental of all, abrogation of the American dream’s most basic promises”of hope, prosperity, and safety from persecution. ” (Telotte 2). Although Telotte makes claims only about the film noir in this quote, her claims can also be applied to other forms of literature that belong to the same genre, Noir.
The hard-boiled detective novel The Long Goodbye definitely reflects the predicaments of the 1940s; The Great Depression raised unemployment, poverty was inevitable, citizens resorted to criminal acts for sun. ‘ival, gangs emerged and police were corrupt. the rise in unemployment, poverty, crimes, gangs and corrupt police. And (Furthermore,) the interrogation scene in this novel best portrays postwar police corruption and heroic acts of Phillip Marlowe.
During the nterrogation in chapter six of the text, Dayton claims that “Every citizen has to co-operate with the police, even by physical action, and especially by answering any questions of a non-incriminating nature the police think it necessary to ask. ” (Chandler 39). According to the constitution, citizens should not be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Marlowe in this case is not given a fair treatment and his right to remain silent is revoked. “He’s not going to tell you… He read that law book.
Like a lot of people that read a law book he thinks the law is in it,” says Dayton (Chandler 1). The quote clearly implies that the police refuse to abide by the law regardless of it being enumerated on a document. This incident in the novel is a symbolic representation of corruption and shattered American dream which values justice, freedom and security. Therefore in this case, Telotte is right about citizens’ freedom and rights being at stake and the American dream being abrogated in the postwar era. From this incident, one can infer that film noir is not all about detectives, crimes and suspense.
In fact, it points out the dark realities of the 1 940s. Amidst the corruption surrounding the ncident in the novel, Raymond Chandler uses Heroism to excite readers and give them a sense of hope. The heroic character Phillip Marlowe, as depicted in the novel is a wise, resilient and faithful detective. “I got up slowly and went over to the bookshelves. I took down the bound copy of the California Penal Code…. ‘Would you kindly find me the section that says have to answer questions? ” (Chandler 39), in this quote the narrative describes Marlowe as being levelheaded despite the overwhelming pressure the COPS exert on him.
Marlowe’s confidence and sarcastic tone in the quote emanates coolness and it, the common characteristics of a hero in every hard-boiled detective fiction. “Dayton would slug me again. He might slug me again anyhow. But if I stood up and he slugged me, would take him to pieces, because the blows proved he was strictly a boxer,” this quote demonstrates police brutality. Despite being brutally assaulted, Marlowe remained silent for he firmly believes that he has the right to do so. This incident further allows the audience to witness Marlowe’s resilience and boldness.
Marlowe also refuses to release information about Lennox and claims that “Terry Lennox wouldn’t do anything like that. ” (Chandler 40). Raymond Chandler further enhances the motif of heroism by using the trope of loyalty. Loyalty is the foremost quality of a hero that establishes trustworthiness and reliability which displays Marlowe as dependable and heroic. By contrasting Marlowe’s bold, principled, and loyal characteristics to the overwhelming corruption in the city, Chandler created an American hero whom the citizens can revere and admire.
This indeed created a great social impact by encouraging the citizens to be brave in standing up for their rights as citizens. “In hard-boiled detective fiction the male detective is often both attracted and put off by the atal woman. They may become lovers, but she always betrays him. Indeed, she often turns out to be the major villain of the story, either acting directly or inciting men whom she has seduced to carry out crimes, including murder. ” (Milda Danyte 26) as described by Milda Danyte in Introduction to the analysis of crime fiction, the quote gives a concise definition of ‘femme fatale’.
In the novel The Long Goodbye, femme fatale is very prominent in that it insinuates the rising gender issues in the postwar era. In the novel, Eileen Wade can be considered a femme fatale for she is portrayed as sexually appealing ecretive, and untrustworthy. “She sat down and slipped the gloves under the strap of her bag and thanked him with a smile so gentle, so exquisitely pure, that he was damn nearly paralyzed by it… stared. She caught me staring… ” (Chandler 89) this quote describes Marlowe’s first impression of Eileen Wade and his attraction towards her.
It also demonstrates the power that women had with sexuality over men It also demonstrates the sexual power that women had over men; both the bartender and Marlowe gazed upon Eileen’s beauty and were powerless to look away, so weak in fact that she even caught Marlowe staring. Throughout the chapter, Eileen uses her beauty to lure Marlowe into her dark and mysterious life. After Mr. Wade committed suicide, Eileen accused Marlowe of the murder: “As for Mr Marlowe”and I suppose he put you up to all this – I can only say to him that if he didn’t kill Roger in a literal sense, he certainly drove him to his death. ” (Chandler 312).
After bringing Marlowe into all these troubles she committed suicide. “Dead. What a cold black noiseless word it is in any language. The lady is dead,” says Candy. (Chandler 318). From the instances presented above, it is credible that he definition of femme fatale stated by Milda Danyte fits the characteristics of Eileen Wade in the novel. And hence, it validates the prominence of the trope in The Long Goodbye. In the 1940s, men fought in the war and women stayed home to work in the weapon industries. And hence, most of the postwar literary works reflected men’s fear of women’s independence during the war years.
Therefore, many detective fictions during the 1940s involved femme fatales luring men into their mysterious and dangerous lives. However, Eileen Wade depicted in The Long Goodbye is a woman who leads o her own destruction after getting Marlowe in trouble. Chandler’s portrayal of the femme fatale, therefore, maintains the existing social order and does not disrupt the defined gender roles. Nevertheless, the novel did incite some feminist ideals; a feminist would argue that the femme fatale Eileen Wade in the novel is the by-product of the societys repression of women.
As opposed to the movie The Big Sleep released in 1946 which portrayed women as dark and mysterious, the film version of The Long Goodbye released in 1973 depicted women as more independent and tranquil. For instance, the young irls living in Marlov’/s neighborhood in the movie are more revealing and liberated. Therefore, it is credible to assume that the novel had some sort of impact on the rising feminist movements in the 1960s and 70s. In the novel The Long Goodbye, Chandler uses the tropes corruption and femme fatale to criticize the widespread pessimism of the postwar era.
The integration of these two dark tropes in the novel further helps readers understand the gloomy and dangerous atmosphere of the postwar era. Although the novel mostly depicts the dark side of the postwar era, Chandler’s portrayal of these ropes in the novel did leave great impacts on the society. By pointing out the flaws of the postwar society in the novel, Chandler underscored the importance of justice, freedom, and security which our founding fathers truly valued. “A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure. (Henry Kissinger), because of the obstacles that people encountered, they were able to find ways to fix the their flaws and come out stronger. America is now one of the world’s leading countries where freedom and equality roams only because we overpowered darkness at one point in history. Therefore, one should not be afraid of darkness but embrace it; The Long Goodbye did an excellent job in demonstrating that there is light on the other side of darkness. Raymond Chandler bolstered the genre Noir by inventing Phillip Marlowe, modeled upon the archetypes of a cool, hard- boiled, and principled American hero.
Therefore, it is no surprise that he is esteemed as the founding father of the noir genre. To conclude, The Long Goodbye is not simply a detective story consisting of suspense and a hard- boiled hero for it did have compelling impacts on the postwar era. It allowed eaders an outlet from dark realities, encourage them to stand up for themselves, and promoted justice and equality . To conclude, The Long boiled hero, for it had compelling impacts on the postwar era; it offered readers an outlet from dark realities, encouraged them to stand up for themselves, and promoted justice and equality.
Bibliography Danyte, Milda. Introduction to the Analysis Of Crime Fiction. Recenzent KristinaAuryIait (VDU). 2010. Print. (This book talks about femme fatale in film noir. Nevertheless, I used this source to prove the presence of the trope femme fatale in The Long Goodbye. Although the book is an overall analysis of Crime Fiction, I only took the parts that analyze femme fatale. ) Coit, Christine. Philip Marlowe: American Detective. An undergraduate Research Journal. 2003. Print (The article gives a precise analysis of Philip Marlowe.
It touches on several topics such as the development of Marlowe in the genre Noir, heroism and Marlowe’s interaction with women. I extracted information about heroism in Noir from this article to support my claims in the essay. ) Blaser, John J. Film Noir’s Progressive Portrayal of Women. John J. Blaser and Stephanie L. M. Blaser. 2008. Web. The article gives decent analysis on femme fatale. used the ideas presented in this article to enhanced my argument in the essay. This article talks about the development of femme fatale as a trope in the 1940s.
It also relates it to the genre Noir. ) Telotte, J. P. Voices in the Dark: The Narrative Patters Of L. A. Noir. Illinois: Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 1989. Print. (To support my analysis about corruption in the novel, used a quote about how corruption is a big component of the noir genre. The quote also states that film noir is mostly about violence, darkness and vices. It also mentions the destruction of American dream of the postwar era. ) Olsin Lent, Tina. “The Dark Side of the Dream: The Image of Los Angeles In Film Noir. Southern California Quarterly, Vol 69, No 4, A Centennial Salute to Hollywood, 1887- 1987 (WINTER 1987), pp 329-348. web. (The Dark Side of the Dream gives a great description of the city of Los Angeles in the 1900s. It compares the 1 920s and 1940s Los Angeles. The article denounces the darkness overwhelming the cities in the postwar era and praises the beauty of the cities in the 1 9205. The article also talks about how the cities fall into arkness after World War II and The Great Depression. ) Danyte, Milda. Introduction to the Analysis of Crime Fiction.
Recenzent KristinaAuryIait (VDU). 2010. Print. This book talks about femme fatale in film noir and it can be used to prove the existence of the trope femme fatale in The Long Goodbye. For instance, Milda Danyte gives a very concise definition of femme fatale in the book. By quoting her statement, I was able to demonstrate the presence of a femme fatale and its significance in The Long Goodbye. Moreover, although the book is an overall analysis of Crime Fiction, there are certain parts that assisted me on my analysis on the trope Of femme fatale- Coit, Christine.
Philip Marlowe: American Detective. An Undergraduate Research Journal. 2003. Print The article offers precise analysis about the character Philip Marlowe. It touches on several topics such as the development of Marlowe in the genre Noir, heroism and Marlow‚s interaction with women. In order to demonstrate the characteristics of Philip Marlowe, the article also provides detailed comparison between Philip Marlowe and other heroic characters in history. Furthermore, it discusses bout how the creation of Philip Marlowe leaves a great impact on the American society. Stephanie L. M.
Blaser. 2008. Web. The article contains several ideas that can be used to enhance my argument in the project; it discusses about the development of femme fatale in the postwar era and its impacts on the society. The claims made in this article are also backed up with great reasoning and hence gives you deeper understanding of the genre. Furthermore, the article offers several examples of femme fatale in film noir.
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