Re: RARA-AVIS: amoral noir/hardboiled protagonists

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 29 Aug 2003


I agree that it's hard to draw the line between amoral, immoral and a personal, though maybe warped, sense of morality. For instance, where does Marlowe's Earl Drake fall? Sure, he is one hard, nasty guy, but is he amoral? Many of his actions seem to be based as much on his own ideas of morality -- a former partner must be avenged, say, is as important as getting the money back. Parker would sure go after the money, but he wouldn't put himself out for, much less ever worry about avenging anyone else. Isn't that why Westlake said he didn't think The Jugger worked, because it was out of character for Parker to worry about another person, instead of just killing him as a loose end?

Parker is cold. Although Parker can be brutal when he feels it's called for, he is not nasty. That requires a personal involvement that is foreign to Parker. Drake, on the other hand, can be very hot. He is very emotionally involved and wants to see those who have wronged him suffer. That seems to me to grow from a personal sense of morality.


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