Hardboiled Conventions

Written by: Lissom Huang, Jerry Huang, Ricardo Thomassini, Marcela Seminahin

Something interesting we learned during our research of the “hardboiled” genre is that there is usually a purposeful manipulation of the point of view through the protagonists unstable personality. Apparently, “[t]he unsettling manipulation of point of view and the unstable position of the protagonist are key characteristics of the darker (more ‘noir’) types of hard-boiled crime story.”. This is especially interesting, as the main character, usually a detective, is normally supposed to represent the side of justice and provide an objective perspective on the situation at hand, rather than make the situation even more difficult to understand.

If we were to make a connection between the result of our research and the first chapter of Motherless Brooklyn, we do realize that at some point, it is hard to follow up with the situation due to Lionel’s Tourettic condition. He would have tics whenever he uttered sentences. For example, at the hospital, he has a condition but yet a nurse do not accept his behavior and wants him out, telling him  “ ‘Can’t be doing that shit,[…] Gotta take it elsewhere.’” (Lethem 31). It is quite ironic how, although a hospital should accept their patients as who they are, they are rejecting Lionel.

This aspect of hardboiled fiction is very prevalent in the movie Blade Runner, where Harrison Ford’s character, a human detective living in a society of cyborgs/androids, as well as many of the androids suffer from a wide variety of psychological issues which make it increasingly difficult to view any point of the story objectively.

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