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Crime Fiction 14

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

Feb 17 - plot summary - 495: The mafia's got one big head and she doesn't care how many little ones she loses. you can chop them all off and a year later, there'll be twice as many - the mafia is guilty of violating the individual - a contest being staged between the radical, possessive individualism of Hammer, who's out on his own, trying to avenge something - he doesn't arrest people, he just wants to kill criminals - he's very cynical/sarcastic about that, in fact - the one "heroic" individual vs. mass organizations - the imagery that describes the mafia makes us think that the mafia is just a point where a bunch of anger can be observed. "slimy, foreign secret army" (380) - violation of individuality, the mafia is an army, they aren't individuals - it's like a government, too, which means that he doesn't think too highly of the feds - lots of analogies between the federal government and the mafia: one leader, but it's mostly in name. they're like an army too - extortion: the mafia's "insurance" is like a tax. this is the language of government - Spillane says "its leadership appears to be in a group, rather than an individual" - Hammer says "they violate the integrity of the individual" - 487: Mafia is a government in which the little people don't count - 387: the thing has ballooned up to a point where it is federal (so it's governmental in level) - 496: the mafia was previously described as having tentacles, and here the city itself has become indistinguishable from the mafia: "the monster squirmed, its bright-colored lights .... the meaning was clear" - the octopus imagery used to describe the Mafia, but now it's just the city - Hammer's animus, his desire for vengeance and cleansing, is also a desire to cleanse the city - purification through violence again. this is also commonly found in frontier novels - the easiest way to take care of it would be to burn it down and start over again - this is not to say that this is the only image of the city, but it's a presentation of immorality and such - if you try to get your mind into the novel and try to figure out how it works, how it displaces a certain number of things - movement is a strong theme - Lily Carver opens her robe, and what does he see? she's been burned. if you go back to the first scene where you meet Lily, she smells like rubbing alcohol - the rubbing alcohol might be to lessen the pain of her wounds? - when she comes out of the office with the gun, she pulls over her robe and he describes her body as a disgusting mass - then he lights his lighter and throws it at her, and she catc
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