RARA-AVIS: Marlowe as racist

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 05 Sep 2001

<< s the art of sarcasm really that lost? Or is that some can't see beyond their own prejudices? >>

Since the sentence is meant to be answered by me . . . . No, I had not forgotten the question. I was still trying to frame an answer, If you remember, I wrote that I ended the essay before I finished it. I couldn't decide for myself where I stood. See, I remember that the whole point of Huckleberry Finn is Huck saying, "All right, I'll go to hell!" because he rejects his entire society's racist point of view. That's the punchline of the novel, if you will. Because he rejects his world, he goes off into the wilderness at the end of the book, into the uncharted lands. (Any Rara-avian can connect that with every book we discuss.) Huck says the words; I wished Marlowe said them. Yeah, I know sarcasm and irony.
(Irony equals intellectual sarcasm.) I wish Chandler was clearer, that he actually said "All right, I'll go to hell!" I wanted him to say it, and not have me mouth the words for him, and tell myself, yeah, that's what Chandler would've said, I know it. But I don't know it. I don't hear Chandler saying it. I don't hear Marlowe saying it. I am not convinced by the silence. Can't see beyond my own prejudices? Hey, why should I be any different than anybody else?

Frederick Zackel

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