Hardboiled and Philip Marlowe Essays

Words: 785
Pages: 4

Compare how the writers of The Woman in White and the Lady in the Lake introduce their novels to the reader.
Both the Woman in White and the lady in the Lake are examples of detective fiction genres, though from different eras. WIW could be described as a very early example of the detective genre as well as have intimations of gothic and romance undertone, but uses the provincial Victorian characters of Walter Hartwright and Marian Holcombe to do the detecting, whereas LITL is part of the hardboiled detective style that emerged out of the sleazy under belly of 1940s America and centres around the astute observations and refined skills of the lone private detective: Philip Marlowe.
The time period and setting established by Collins is that of a long summer hot summer drawing to a close. Collins creates this sincere mood as Walter describes a summer night life in London in the Victorian era. For example “The evening, I remember, was still and cloudy; the London air was at its heaviest; the distant hum of the street-traffic was at its faintest; the small pulse of life within me, and the great heart of the city around me seemed to be sinking in unison, languidly and more languidly, with the sinking sun”. However this also suggests a feeling that Walter is at a low point in life. We know this when he says “the small pulse of life within me”. This leaves the reader feeling sorry for him and wanting to read on and find out why he is at a low point in his life. On the other hand, the context of TLITL is much more callous and uses “elaborate furniture, sharp shiny bits of abstract sculptures on pedestals”. This creates an atmosphere of consumerism. Chandler describes these objects like they are a symbol of wealth. This also echoes the start of a consumer society and how objects and materials are used to show off their status.
The writer of WIW initially uses a prologue which sets the tone of the book. Collins talks about the “endurance of a woman’s patience”, this immediately grabs the reader attention also he talks about “what a man’s resolution can achieve”; this reveals that the determination of a man can accomplish all sorts of wonders. This is followed by the opening chapter focusing on Walter Hartwright. This shows that Collins is versatile. From the first line the reader can tell the difference in in gender and also shows how it’s going to a very complex plot. However, the plot of TLITL is clearly introduced as a private detective in amidst social difference. Women in TLITL are seen more of as objects and trophies contrasting with WIW where women are put up on pedestals and are to be worshipped. The themes raised in WIW a major impetus of the plot is the disadvantageous position of married women in law at the time. Laura Glyde's interests having been neglected by her uncle, her fortune (of £20,000, then