RARA-AVIS: *To Have and Have Not.*

From: Bludis Jack ( buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Apr 2003

Somewhere along the line, Miker mentioned that he liked Ernest Hemingway's This book was not published in the 80s, but it does, I think, have noir content, one of the things I think Rara-Avis is all about.

Through all the point of view--first, second, and even omniscient and stream of consciousness, including what I think is a parody of the Molly Bloom scene in Joyce's *Ulysses*--I believe Hemingway has defined noir.

The Harry Morgan of the Hemingway novel is not to be confused with the Harry Morgan in the Bogart movie of the same title. (Screenplay by William Faulkner and Jules Furthman.) Unlike the cool, sharp businessman, as played by Bogart. This Harry Morgan is a loser. He is screwed or doomed, take your pick.

I read the novel years ago, and was surprised to realize that the movie was so different. I suppose visual and auditory images stick with you better than just a reading of a book unless the visual is grossly inferior.

No matter what Harry does to get out of the difficult financial situation, with a need to help his wife and two daughters, he gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble. Harry is the
"Have Not" part of the title.

In what later in the book seems more a parallel plot than a subplot, Richard Gordon, a well-off writer is having marital problems. Even with that, he is the "Have" part of the title. Several of his associates "have" too. His wife is the Molly Bloom character.

Miker said that he thought that Dos Passos was the model for Gordon. I had a note that I made in the book thirty years ago next to Gordon's name that reads, "Erskin Caldwell?" In reading it, and from what I know of Hemingway, I think he was unconsciously writing about himself.

The book is about the downward spiral of both men, but the spiral of Harry Morgan is far worse and about far worse that that of Richard Gordon.

Near the end of the book, a delirious Harry says:
" 'A man . . . Ain't got no hasn't got any can't really isn't any way out . . . No matter how a man alone ain't got no bloody f--ing chance.' "

Hemingway left out a lot of commas and a few letters, but the point is that some men, and it usually is a man who is truly alone, don't have a chance.

That, I think, is the ultimate definition of noir protagonist.

Jack Bludis

PS: After L.A. Confidential, I vowed never to read James Elroy again, but for 80s month, I'm well into "The Black Dahlia." (The guy can write in real English.)

===== http://JackBludis.com Hollywood Mysteries of the Early Fifties

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