RE: RARA-AVIS: Fissures in hardboiledness

Date: 27 Apr 2002


Re your comment below:

> I'm going to be pig headed and stick with my
> assertion since he wasn't a
> cop first. You haven't disproved it, only shown that
> it's not black and
> white any how.

What I set out to demonstrate was that DA's investigators are not likely to have been born to the purple. DA's investigators are cops, pure and simple.
 Whether or not Marlowe was a cop before joining the DA's office, he was a cop when he was SERVING with the DA's office.

As for his life prior to his pinning on a DA's badge, Chandler states that he worked as an investigator for an insurance company. Again, this part of Marlowe's past is never referred to in any of the books or stories but is mentioned in a letter by Chandler to a friend.

As for his never having been a cop, I'll leave the final word on that to Marlowe. In THE BIG SLEEP, he tells General Sternwood that he's never been married because, "I don't like policemen's wives."

> My overall point still stands
> regardless of whether or
> not Marlowe is a true example. Being rich doesn't
> preclude one from
> being hardboiled. You either have the 'tude or you
> don't. The events in
> one's life that could lead to developing such an
> attitude are not
> delegated to any specific socioeconomic level. One
> might have more than
> the other, but there will always be exceptions.

I didn't say it was ABSOLUTELY disqualifying. I said that such a background was CLOSE to being absolutely disqualifying. I still think that "the events in one's life that could lead to developing such an attitude" are a lot more likely to occur in what might be called, for lack of a better term, the "working" class than in the "privileged" class.

However, you're quite right that, whatever a given character's background, it's his attitude that defines his being hard-boiled or not.


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