Re: RARA-AVIS: sidekick morals

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 19 Nov 2001

Mark B wrote, in referring to a quote I pulled from Benjamin Schutz's Embrace the Wolf (by the way, anything of his is good reading for Washington month):

"I think the trouble with using this quote in isolation is is it doesn't quite apply. We have been talking about the situation of the protagonists' sidekick doing the dirty work. In the book Saunders is his client's husband who he was supposed to find and bring home, not a sidekick who may do his dirty work. I think there is a clear difference in responsibility in stopping someone you are supposed to protect from doing a morally wrong deeed as opposed to letting someone who should be your equal do it."

You're absolutely correct about the difference in overall implications. It just seemed to me that the quote summed up the issue we had been talking about.


And the way it plays out is not that different from how it does with the sidekicks. Haggerty tries to convince Saunders not to kill his kids' killer, saying he will go to prison. However, at the time, Haggerty is
(conveniently?) physically incapable of stopping Saunders. So, as in the sidekick examples, the killer is killed.

And Haggerty is the only witness. He decides to remain silent, lets Saunders get away with it. Haggerty does, however, consider the moral consequences of this silence and realizes he is a bit lessened by his decision. It may be a quick decision for him, but it is not an easy one.

Plus, in later books, he is rewarded with plenty of publicity and work after his role in tracking down the serial killer comes out.


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