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c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1 3) Detective types. Present a comparative analysis of the detective protagonists in two of the primary texts.

Poe and Hammett had very ambitious literary objectives and the characterisation of their detectives Dupin and Spade within their work is symbolic of the achievement of their experimentation the success in establishing a new stage of detective fiction, a new set of genre conventions and standards. Poe, in writing his somewhat peculiar narrative (Poe 397) The Murders in the Rue Morgue was establishing the very idea and genre of detective fiction; Hammett Americanised and revolutionised Poes invention when he created hardboiled detective fiction. through The Maltese Falcon. How Dupin and Spade are written and characterised by Poe and Hammett as protagonists is instrumental to the literary movements they initiated. A comparison of the similarities and differences of these two famous literary detectives as trademarks of their genres will reveal just how it is their peculiarities and methods which have truly led the development of their genres from the unknown to the firmly defined.

Although Dupin and Spade exist within very different worlds, their respective functions as detectives are similar in their tendency to operate external and opposed to the law and the police to a noticeable degree. Dupin has a clear and stated disregard for the law and the police. The Parisian police...are cunning, but no more...the results attained by them are not unfrequently surprising, but, for the most part, are about by simple diligence and activity. When these qualities are unavailing, their schemes fail. (Poe 411 412)

c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1

Spade shares this contempt and although he interacts with them on a greater level, the interactions are often negative, and full of disrespectful and dismissive comment from Spade. This air of arrogance is a trait that Dupin and Spade share, despite their different social contexts and positions. Both are extra-legal and yet have mysterious connections to the police force which they so disdain, connections which conveniently enable them to elicit police information from an empathetic policeman character, at the same time as withholding information from them at will. In addition to this concept, the two detectives of respective perpetrators share similar fates. Dupins guilty Ourang-Outang was not brought to any kind of justice; rather, it was sold for a very large sum. (Poe 431) The fate of the key witness goes unmentioned and we are presumably satisfied by the fact that the arrested suspect, upon our narration of the circumstances (Poe 431) was instantly released. So it is a peculiar justice that is served. Spades manipulation of the guilty parties ends in the result that he, despite his implication in the crime, is not punished with the rest of them. The ambiguity surrounding Spades characterisation for much of The Maltese Falcon somewhat justifies this, as well as his tendency to work outside the law. Without his deception of the criminals, that he was willing to be bribed into silence, they wouldnt have trusted him with key information, and so he wouldnt have been able to solve his crime. So we are again satisfied by this peculiar justice, and we assume that he is a detective ultimately placing justice over his personal gain. This important similarity of the detectives is what empowered them to represent a genre; their difference of method is what defined these genres as separate.

c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1

In addition to these similarities is a set of notable distinctions between Dupin and Spade which also define them as symbolic of their genres genesis. Some of the different features of their character were those which establish the genres conventions and labelled them as individual varieties of detective fiction. Poe is the inventor of the legendary Great Detective who is the instrument of pure logic. (Holquist 141) Dupin epitomises the detective who believes that the mind, given enough time, can understand everything. There are no mysteries, there is only incorrect reasoning. (Holquist 141) In equal and direct opposition, Hammett is the inventor of the literary private eye, the hard-boiled detective who solves crimes with a determination that carelessly risked his personal involvement and potential injury. Dupin sought only a solution to an intriguing problem; as an aristocrat he has no monetary objectives. For Spade, the solution to the mystery was his income and so he was willing to elicit money out of everyone involved by acting as whoever he needed to be. So where Dupin does in no way engage in any physical pursuit or conflict with the suspected criminal, Spade deliberately implicates himself in the action. (Gorrara 595) This element of the detectives characterisation is a direct result of the way in which the story and discourse of the texts are constructed. The relationship between the first and second stories is entirely different in these two genres, as represented by these two texts. Where in Poe the boundaries are clearly defined and the stories clearly separated, in Hammett they are so intertwined that the efforts of the detective to complete the second story impact upon the nature of the first, which is, like the story of the detection, not at all confirmed until the final pages of the novel.

c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1

These detective stories are both narrated by a disembodied voice that relates to the reader. Dupins tale is told by a nameless narrator in the first person. This person enhances Dupins logic and emulates him in much the same way as the reader, who is unable to solve the mystery without Dupins powers of reasoning. Where the late revelation of significant clues in The Murders in the Rue Morgue is often criticised as not giving the reader a fair chance, this established the feature of detective stories to hide the solution from the reader until the very end. Although Hammetts novel defined a new genre of detective fiction, this element of mystery until the final pages endured, as did the position of the reader as one who is given the clues but is disempowered from solving them. (Hhn 454) Only the superior intellect and observational skills of the detective can reveal the solution to us. So although Spades tale is told in the third person from a point of view that is intimate to his, we are still not privy to his thoughts and methods other than what he reveals to other characters through dialogue and action. This voice emphasises the two detectives shared tendency for social isolation. It seems to have no effect on their ability to elicit information; both are great readers of people despite their lack of human relationships. The detectives also share a set of eccentricities that are unique to themselves and which apply to their detective method. They feel no need to explain themselves to anyone, and they dont seem to seek the praise or approval of anyone either.

c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1

These eccentricities and very distinctive qualities are symbolic of experimental characterisation, which is what Dupin and Spade are. As the representatives of a genres innovation, they share the fact that they are trial; Dupin because he was arguably the first literary detective; Hammetts Spade because he was the first detective who was hard boiled. Their unique methods and personalities as detectives were distinctive enough to indicate the beginning of a whole new genre. Where Dupins externality to the story makes the distinction between the first and second story very clear, Spades clear implication in the plot is what significantly changed the construction of the first story, second story model from Poes, and this resulted in starting a new genre. (Hodgson 312) These detectives are literary equals who in terms of a genres development served much the same role and purpose. The characterisation of Dupin and Spade were equally responsive to their respective authors contexts and objectives for their work and this is how they served in constructed their successful genres. Dupin and Spade are unmistakably the hallmarks of their respective stages in the development of detective fiction. Their characterisation established the conventions for writers to follow, and the undisputable influence that these detectives had is evident in the authors Conan Doyle and Chandler. They are often criticised as rough or unrefined characters that are perfected by their superior successors, and this only emphasises the importance they held as experimental characters within the tentative stages of their respective genres.

c3109550 ENGL3012 Essay 1

Bibliography
Agassi, Joseph. "The Detective Novel and Scientific Method." Poetics Today 3.1 (1982): 99-108. Beekman, E M. "Raymond Chandler & an American Genre." The Massachusetts Review 14.1 (1973): 149-173. Chandler, Raymond. "The Simple Art of Murder." ENGL3012 Course Reader. Ed. Jesper Gulddal. Newcastle: University of Newcastle, 2011. 1-12. Gorrara, Claire. "Cultural Intersections: The American Hard-Boiled Detective Novel and Early French roman noir." The Modern Language Review 98.3 (2003): 590-601. Grella, George. "Murder and Manners: The Formal Detective Novel." NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 4.1 (1970): 30-48. Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. London: Orion Books, 2002. Hodgson, John A. "The Recoil of "The Speckled Band": Detective Story and Detective Discourse." Poetics Today 13.2 (1992): 309-324. Holquist. "Whodunit and Other Questions: Metaphysical Detective Stories in Post-War Fiction." New Literary History 3.1 (1971): 135-156. Hhn, Peter. "The Detective as Reader: Narrativity and Reading Concepts in Detective Fiction." MFS Modern Fiction Studies 33.3 (1987): 451-466. Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Poe, Edgar Allan. Poetry and Tales. New York: The Library of America, 1984. 397-431.