Re: RARA-AVIS: Maltese Falcon

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 21 May 2008

Brigid O'Shaughnessy isn't a misanthrope. She's an oppressed figure who is forced to use sex to get what she wants because it is the only power she has. Even the fey Cairo has more status than O'Shaughnessy does in a male dominated world. Spade is the embodiment of a misogynist society. He fucks Brigid and degrades her, forcing her to strip in front of Gutman and company, and, in the end, he throws her to the wolves.

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 5:59 PM, Patrick King <> wrote:
> --- wrote:
>> I'm with Mario and John. Spade isn't a particularly
>> nice guy, but I
>> don't think his attitudes towards gays were at all
>> unusual for his
>> times. And it's not like he was targeting random
>> gays. He was beating
>> up those who threatened him and his. Don't think
>> he'd have reacted much
>> differently if it had been a straight man who
>> pointed a gun at him,
>> though he probably would have given him a more
>> "manly" beating, instead
>> of pointedly emasculating him by slapping him and
>> taking away his "gun."
>> As for gunsel, the Rara Avis site's glossary of
>> hardboiled slang
>> contains Earl Stanley Gardner's story about how
>> Hammett got that word
>> past editor Shaw and into the pages of Black Mask.
>> Here's the direct
>> link:
> ******************************************************
> It is interesting that all the male villains in The
> Maltese Falcon are homosexual stereotypes and that the
> ultimate villain, Brigid O'Shaughnessy, is a
> misanthrope who lures men into criminal behavior,
> murdering them or leaving them for others to murder
> when they've out lived their usefulness to her. While
> on the opposite side is stalwart, heterosexual, Samuel
> Spade who may play fast and loose with the truth in
> the face of psychosis but in the long run, unlike
> Archer & Jacoby, does not fall prey to the lure of
> illicit sex. Donald Spoto wold have a field day with
> the underlying psychology of this novel.
> Patrick King

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