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Crime Fiction 3

4 Pages

English (Arts)
Course Code
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

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Jan 11 - 18th Amendment, Uniform Crime Reporting Manual; J Edgar Hoover, Report on the Cause of Crime (both those are documents trying to plot crime statistically), Gunfighter Nation; Richard Slotkin, Delinquency Areas; Clifford Shaw (block by block maps of Chicago plotting crime) - first efforts to study crime in a scientific way - policing is more professional, the rise of the HB novel - Finish the book, read the big sleep - Personville = thinly disguised version of Butte, Montana (5k to kill a man, but he says no) - Qs: what's the vision of society in this book as presented by Hammett? what motivates our protagonist? - society is corrupt. the continental op is motivated by the fact that he's pissed about the attempts to assassinate him and what they mean for his role in society - I think that he does it out of spite, and the fact that he's disenchanted with how the town's set up - representation of labor: there really isn't any labor that's not criminal. everyone in the novel is engaged in some sort of criminal enterprise - everyone's all in on blackmarket economy - the initial murderer is the only one who has a real, honest job - everyone is laissez-faire, there's no real sense of a governing authority, there's no real value system - after the fight, he says that he's just running an experiment - no sentimental notions about violence - there's a book that just came out Leonard Cassuto > HB sentimentality = that hardboiled protagonists are longing for a shared ethic of character, though they exist in a world where there isn't one. they sentimentalize this, then - he's revelling in the chaos; he seems dismissive of society as a whole - he's on a purification campaign, but it's a purification by violence - he's motivated by pride. - line blurred between the actions of the criminal and the actions of the law-abiding citizen - he's exonerated for his murders (namely in self-defence) - his still working for his agency at this time - he's quite dismissive of the reinforcements that come to help him - Gunfighter Nation: academic, but interesting. - this novel is like a war: the two sides are trying to destroy one another - the frontier > you can have free land as long as you agree to develop the property (around Gold Rush in 1849) - Slotkin sees HB as "regeneration through violence" > like taming the frontier, only now it's an urban frontier - 1890 > census: frontier is gone - 1880's-90's > there are lots of immigrants to cities; about a million new immigrants per year in places like New York, Boston, Philadelphia etc - supposedly, your country has now reached its geographic limits, which were previously limitless. at the same time, more people are coming in, making this a double whammy - in Chicago, which isn't on the East Coast, there's also massive industrialization. it's a site of first residence for some people - universal warfare: the war of each against all and of all against all - the agency for policing is a private agency (Pinkerton) - in the late 19th century, they're the only one with nationwide power. local cops tend to be corrupt, and are often just extensions of the political power (and mobs, etc) - they tend to focus on the sale and distribution of alcohol (prohibition) - curious paradox: banned by the federal government, creating a spectacular rise in crime, mob bosses etc, and changing what crime is like - the gangs used to be at a neighbourhood level, but after prohibition, they become city-wide - illegit businesses are hiding behind fronts - pharmacies were allowed to distribute alcohol, so they often did so in the prohi
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