Dark Side of the American Dream - Reinventing Noir Fiction for the 21st Century
Carter, William Francis
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CitationCarter, William Francis. 2013. Dark Side of the American Dream - Reinventing Noir Fiction for the 21st Century. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractThe critical essay portion of my thesis provides an overview and analysis of classic noir fiction. The essay explores Dashiell Hammett's groundbreaking work in the early twentieth century and takes into account the further evolution of the genre with Richard Stark's hard-boiled caper in the Sixties and the more recent expansion of noir as evidenced by the works of Dennis Lehane. Characters such as tough private eye Sam Spade, the relentless thief Parker, and laconic investigator Patrick Kenzie illustrate important aspects of noir and their impact on my writing.
My novel Poor Man's Lincoln draws from classic noir fiction in its use of characters and setting. However, my novel also deviates from the genre. While my protagonist Jack Coyle is very much cut from the cloth of icons like Spade and Parker, I have added a further dimension of vulnerability and a potential for growth.
At the beginning of the novel, Coyle is alone and on the run from the authorities. The associates he has known and worked with for years are now gone and he is forced to operate on his own. He assembles and then executes a brilliant plan to turn the tables on his opponents. However, his journey is riddled with his own anxiety and uncertainty. In addition, his inexperience with women complicates his tenuous partnership with the beautiful Leah McBride. The arc of his character, from jittery, awkward loner to confident strategist, is what sets the story apart from lesser genre fare.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367534
- DCE Theses and Dissertations