RARA-AVIS: Morality and noir

From: Michael Robison ( zspider@gte.net)
Date: 03 Sep 2003

Kerry Schooley wrote <snipped>:
> I think you are right to be flabbergasted Jim, because a complex morality
> is at the heart of noir. That is why humanity is "doomed", or an
> of doom, as we defined the genre earlier. I think noir fiction is crime
> writing underscored by two basic assumptions:
> 1) that there is no value in an easily attained morality.
> 2) more often than not we will make bad decisions.

************ Your proposed relationship between noir and morality is interesting, Kerry. I've struggled for a long time to find some relationship and haven't been successful.

Quite a while ago I read somewhere that Gresham's NIGHTMARE ALLEY is a morality story about what happens when you do evil. At the time I thought there was something suspicious about that. I believe Gresham's drift is that Stanton had no darn choice in what he did. Noir started to look like pessimistic determinism. A lack of remorse in most noir, even at the end when screws are turned, made me question any kind of moral message.

I'm still not totally convinced, but reading your take on it is interesting.


# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 03 Sep 2003 EDT