Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: poppa and pauline

From: Kerry (
Date: 12 Mar 2002

At 11:25 AM 3/12/02 -0500, you wrote:

>Except for tough guys like Parker

I'll give you Parker, though we could argue what makes someone tough, along the lines of is one tough not to feel fear, or if one overcomes fear. But Parker's a hard lad, no question.

> and the various Thompson protagonists.

I don't think Thompson's protagonists are tough. Certainly not the Killer Within Me. A man in tough circumstances okay, but this is about a personality that is disintegrating. I think a number of Thompson's books are about people who just aren't up to life's challenge. And often what's interesting is the reader may come to suspect that he/she might have the same reaction in similar situations.

There's a very strong streak in hardboil of characters who are in over their heads. Many of Leonard's characters are people who think they're tough, but aren't. And these are usually the ones who are anything but romantic or sentimental.

>And their lack of sentiment is what renders them cold and sociopathic (and to
>some readers, uninteresting).

The other way around, I think, if we're talking cause and effect. But I agree, with Chandler and Hammet the question as to whether the femmes will crack the dicks' noble codes provides dramatic tension.


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