Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Cat Noir

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 15 Oct 2004

Kerry J. Schooley wrote:

In noir the aspiration toward a better world is deemed impossible from the get-go. Nevertheless people continue to harbour aspirations. It's the Catch 22 of the human condition. To aspire toward a better world, one must first be able to imagine something other than the world in which we exist. That requires abstract thought.
  Though it comes close, that's not quite the same as saying the protagonist displays much in the way of abstract thought.

************ An aspiration for a better world is more of a noir theme than a defining characteristic of a noir character. Nevertheless, although a hardcore struggle to survive may preclude a lot of abstract thought, it still pops up in a boatload of noir characters. A standard line of abstract thinking for a noir character is a twisted justification for some nasty wrong-doings. Stanton Carlisle in Gresham's NIGHTMARE ALLEY fits that bill. Many noir protagonists wax philosophic on the edge of sanity. Flannery O'Connor's Hazel Motes in WISE BLOOD and Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts wallowed in their own private abstract hell.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 15 Oct 2004 EDT