Re: RARA-AVIS: RE:Hardboiled Character Traits

Date: 29 Apr 2002

In a message dated 4/29/02 12:08:10 AM, writes:

<< 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 hard-boiled white knight. >>

    This is the area that has had me chewing at the edges of Jim's definition. Like most others here, I'm okay with "tough," but unlike Jack and several others I think there is more to hard-boiled than that one word equivalency.
    Marlowe was an intellectual and a snob and I don't think colloquial fits him comfortably. His martini drinking, pipe smoking persona didn't cast much of a common man shadow.
    My problem is that I have not come up with a better term to fill out the meaning of the term hard-boiled, and I haven't heard a better one from anyone else. Is it enough to say that a hard-boiled character is "street wise" or an "outsider?" I don't know, but I'm having fun chewing on this with everyone else.

                                        Jim Blue

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