Re: RARA-AVIS: Maltese Falcon

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 22 May 2008

I don't know that I 100% buy my own oppressed female argument, but I would say that Brigid is not a psychopath. She's a greedy schemer which makes her just like every other character in the book, including Spade, especially Spade. As you say, Spade at least suspects her of murdering Thursby from the beginning and then, instead of confronting her immediately, he sleeps with her and deceives her up till the very end, when he can do the most damage, and when he's sure there's nothing more in it for him. He's as much of a manipulator as she is, and his behavior towards Thursby's widow shows that he's not just screwing around with Brigid to get back at her for what she did. It's a pattern for him. Revenge doesn't really enter into it. He is, as Hammet described him, "a blonde Satan."

On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 3:48 AM, Patrick King <> wrote:
> --- Nathan Cain <> wrote:
>> 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.
> *****************************************************
> Hold it right there! O'Shaughnessy came into his
> office using a fake name. She murdered his partner the
> first night on the job. Spade knew this from the
> beginning. Notice what he says to Effie when she
> sticks up for O'Shaughnessy. O'Shaughnessy was doing
> everything she could to use and manipulate Spade and
> he turned the tables on her. Scarlet O'Hara was an
> oppressed woman in a misogynistic society. Brigid
> O'Shaughnessy is a sociopath with no conscience. How
> did she get that way? That's another discussion. Maybe
> her father raped her. Maybe she was held captive in an
> opium den in Hong Kong. That's neither here nor there.
> Spade handled her in the only reasonable and humane
> way he could to get a complete conviction on the lot
> of them. Personally, I think she should have met up
> with Dexter Morgan.
> Patrick King

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