RARA-AVIS: Miker loves Cora

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 13 Nov 2002


It's my opinion that Cora doesn't get a fair shake from the critics.

It doesn't take long to figure out that Frank is a worthless bum, but it surprises me that few critics find much good in Cora. It seems to me that, unlike Frank, Cora is essentially a good person in a harsh world that has left her few choices, none of them good. Cora has only one option for happiness, and that is Nick's death. She considers a life with coarse, crude Nick to be a fate worse than death, and when Frank comes back after leaving, he finds her prepared to kill herself. Frank thinks she's wild and savage like him and teasingly calls her a hell cat, but she tells him he doesn't understand.

"Did you say you weren't really a hell cat?"

"I said it, and I mean it. I'm not what you think I am, Frank. I want to work and be something, that's all. But you can't do it without love. Do you know that, Frank? Anyway, a woman can't. Well, I've made one mistake. And I've got to be a hell cat, just once, to fix it. But I'm not really a hell cat, Frank."

Cora has courage. Shaw, in his THE MODERN AMERICAN NOVEL OF VIOLENCE, states that Cora is a manipulative snake who doesn't have the guts to kill with her own hand, but instead manipulates Frank into doing the dirty work. Shaw has apparently forgotten the first murder attempt, which Cora carried out by herself, bludgeoning Nick and dumping him in the tub by herself. And when Frank and Cora are sweated by Sackett, Cora stands firm until scumbag Frank wilts and finks.

Cora is forgiving. Cora forgives Frank his dalliance with the cat woman, and then his breaking down and pinning the murder on her.

Cora is industrious. After the murder she works hard to make the cafe a success, and she's astute enough to add the beer garden, which brings in even more business.

Cora, released from the burden of Nick, attempts to be sincere and loving with Frank. She knows what kind of man Frank is, but she is committed to him nonetheless. She offers him a fair chance to get rid of her when they swim in the ocean close to the end.


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