Re: RARA-AVIS: can noir writers advocate social reform?

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 28 Nov 2006

At 02:58 PM 27/11/2006 -0800, you wrote:

>Kerry J. Schooley wrote:
>Transcendence is impossible, but that does not make it
>any less appealing. That is another view of the
>central human dilemma.
>Maybe you've got high expectations for transcendence,
>but in the noir world, just getting out free and alive
>with all your body parts is pretty close.

That'd be survival, a much different and notably fleeting accomplishment. Additionally, most noir protagonists, even those who survive their immediate circumstance, lose something in the process: a job, self respect, a loved one, a pot of gold, freedom to act. Often enough, too, it is the scales from their eyes.

"Transcend," in my Canuck Oxford, is to "be beyond the range or grasp of
(human experience, reason, belief etc.)" Call it living happily ever after, or living for eternity, or somehow rising above or existing indifferently to the human condition. To have low expectations for transcendence is to deny it's practical existence. Which, unlike any other literary form, noir does.

Best, Kerry

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