Re: RARA-AVIS: Marlowe as racist?

From: Chris Routledge (
Date: 05 Sep 2000

>But in view of his time, I think Marlowe is what
>Chandler obviously intended him to be in this situation: the most decent
>man in the joint.

This argument about racism is one that rumbles around Chandler like thunder in the mountains. Another is misogyny. But Chandler, as Jim Beaver points out, was placing a decent man in surroundings that were far from decent. Marlowe is a loner: he's scornful of anyone who doesn't live up to his own standards. If he has one flaw, it is that he doesn't make allowances for the circumstances in which people live. He expects them to be decent no matter how terrible their living conditions. And if he has the attitudes of his time, well, who doesn't? he is at least prepared to acknowledge that the times they are changing: in The Long Good-Bye he expects the chauffeur to be uneducated because he's black; he turns out, of course to have read TS Eliot.

Cheers Chris

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