From: Michael Robison (
Date: 29 Nov 2004

James R Winter wrote:

Spade is not a tarnished knight. He's really a sleazewad who develops a conscience as time goes by.

*********** I wasn't thoroughly convinced that Spade ever developed a conscience. His spiel at the end seems to indicate that he turns her in primarily because he thinks she would stab him in the back some time in the future if he let her go. Note that when she asks him what he would have done if the falcon had been real, he does not nobly claim that the outcome would have been the same, but noted that would have required a reassessment. Even in the end, Spade's morals were flexible where his well-being came into play.

The tarnished knight label more aptly applies to to Chandler's Marlowe, but it should be noted that Marlowe, too, could be a pig. Isn't it in FAREWELL, MY LOVELY where he gets filthy drunk and plays tongue tag with a guy's wife right in his home, and then makes arrangements to meet her later when interupted by the husband. There are several scenes in Chandler's works where I think Chandler transfers his own bad habits to Marlowe, drawing him out of character to my way of thinking. My personal feeling is that Chandler thought that if he could transfer his sins to Marlowe, and Marlowe could be thought of as noble at the end of the book, that in some way redeemed Chandler. Redemption in print, a baptism in ink.



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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Nov 2004 EST