RARA-AVIS: RE:Hardboiled Character Traits

From: dlochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 29 Apr 2002

The quest for the ultimate definition for hardboiled is a fun game, but it can't be won. We're talking fiction, here, and no matter how one or two or one hundred of us may agree to define hardboiled, some pesky author either already has or soon will come along to bust the definition. Jim Doherty's boiled down (hardboiled down?) definition strikes me as being as good a try as any. But I don't think it's particularly helpful to try and change the interpretation of a character to make a fit. Philip Marlowe is not a working class hero. His previous employment (cop, DA's man, whatever), and his humble origins, if they were humble, have nothing to do with it. He's an intellectual. A social critic. A snob. He replays classic chess games. He recognizes paintings and he knows poetry and authors. He can name every flower on a Southern California hillside. He finds an eager naked babe in his bed and tosses her out, then tears up the linen. He's not an average Joe. He's a white knight. A hardboiled white knight. Dick Lochte


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