One of the assignments this week was to read for different pieces of noir and reflect on them.
I started with reading The Postman Always Rings Twice. It was a pretty good story. It took me a little while to get used to this type of writing, but once I got into the swing of things it all fell together. I could see some of the noir tropes already from this piece of work. A murder worth investigating, a con man doing what he does best, and the double-cross between Frank and Cora really sold this story. At first I had no clue where the story was going to go, but the ending was definitely a surprise for me. I didn’t expect for Cora to die in a car accident just as her first husband had died. Irony at its best. The theme of moral ambiguity was all throughout the novel. Should they kill him? Should Frank con the man at one ball in the side? Should they rat each other out?
The next thing I read was The Shadow. That one actually reminded me more of a Twilight Zone episode. It was so different that I really couldn’t get over the “Only in the Twilight Zone” feel of the reading. However, there were some of the tropes of noir engraved in it. The con game, “innocent” people being blamed for something they “didn’t do”, and a surprise twist ending. The flashbacks to the times that the three men were on the boat trying to escape from the prison also contributed to the noir feel.
The Killers was the next thing that I read. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. It was very simple and just something not for me. To me there wasn’t as many noir tropes in this one. The element of backstabbing and gangster activity was definitely in there, but besides that I couldn’t see anything else. There was more moral ambiguity themes in here as well.
The last thing I read was A Matter of Procedure on the Shenandoah Literary website. I really enjoyed this one. The main characters personality really spoke to me. At first she seemed like she was going to be a great, strong female character, maybe even a femme fatale . Then you realized she had a drinking problem and that she seems to have one too many screws loose in her head. The trope of a murder investigation was definitely there considering she was the lead detective on the case. A few flashbacks also occurred in this story. The setting of the story is in Dallas which could be considered a large depressing city. Where people hide in the shadows and the crime rates are high.
I would define these styles as depressing and pessimistic. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with who was talking because of the fast pace of the readings. The long descriptions of the tiniest things was also strung throughout all the stories. I enjoyed most of the stories that I read.