Re: RARA-AVIS: I have a question in answer to your suggestions

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 24 Aug 2004

Noir protagonists can, but needn't, go bad. Goodis's protagonists are not evil so much as weak. Many of Woolrich's protagonists are the same. The protagonist of Edward Anderson's THIEVES LIKE US isn't even weak
--it's just that society is much stronger.

Noir brings with it a feeling of loss of control. Protagonists are generally at the mercy of their outer or inner environment: while a hardboiled protagonist for better or worse acts, a noir protagonist for better or worse reacts. Sometimes that does mean that the protagonist slips into evil, but that's always seen as a slip, a kind of surrender. Consider the differences between POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and McCoy's THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?, for instance. Somewhat similar stories, in my opinion both noirs, but deployed to different effect.

Just my opinion, of course.


--- cptpipes2000 <> wrote:

> While considering the noir suggestion list, I
> noticed that a number
> of the books feature main characters (often
> narrators) who lose their
> grips and become evil over the course of the books.

> Is this part of the noir tradition that I should
> have learned about
> ages ago, or have I simply selected a few random
> examples that aren't
> a part of anything bigger?

===== Doug Bassett

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