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

Date: 28 Nov 2006

I'm having trouble thinking of a noir protagonist who is doomed by a good deed. Heart of Darkness starts that way; Kurtz goes up the river to do good, but that brought out his tragic flaw and he ceased being a do-gooder. And isn't the New Testament the story of a man who was cucified for his selfless acts. It's certainly noir if you leave it where Mel Gibson did, but three days later the noirness of the story changes quite a bit, at least by Kerry's transcendant test.

I like the idea of a person's reaching out to help the wrong person getting the do-gooder pulled in after the one needing help; while one person is pulling up, the other is pulling down -- who is stronger? Yet he closest I can think of is the "wrong man" story. For instance, in Caught Stealing, Hank Thompson's life veers deeply into noir due to the happenstance of who lived next door. However, how he adapted to noir told a lot about who he was and revealed aspects of him about which no one, including himself, had been aware, far from all of them good. So while he didn't seek out the noir world, his inner noirness came out once he was dropped into it.


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