Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir and the Bible

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 12 Apr 2006

At 05:21 PM 09/04/2006 -0700, you wrote:

>Transcendence often is used in a spiritual context,
>but in a more generic sense it can imply simply the
>act of rising above. In this second sense, I would
>say that Christianity shares much common ground with
>noir on the subject, in that the struggle for
>transcendence is a desperate, powerful, and frequently
>occuring theme. Whether the characters actually ever
>reach this goal is moot. Whether that transcendence
>actually exists is moot also.

Not moot at all. In noir transcendence is denied. Always, whether sought or not.

> The striving for it is
>the main focus.

That's the structure of any story- an objective for the protagonist and an antagonist to overcome, or transcend. And in life mankind always seems to be striving for something, at least in western cultures. We are not happy with the world as we find it. In other literary genres the frustrations of life are transcended through romance, justice, religious faith, moral or ethical behaviour. Not in noir. In noir, transcendence is denied.

Christian themes may be presented, but they are not confirmed. Unless you're one of those who consider noir just a few long shadows and rain-slicked streets.

Best, Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

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