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Hammetts The Maltese Falcon - Book Report/Review Example

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And, he belongs to a socioeconomic class that is comfortable enough with itself to feel that it is entitled to react aggressively to meddlesome cops and officialdom. Spade is often flippant, and when comparing him to Walter Mosley's black detective, Easy Rawlins, W. Russel Gray (2004) points out that Rawlins cannot afford to be so because in his case, integrity must be drawn from inner resources as it happens with all oppressed people. The white American detective takes his work in his stride by enjoying it as he will; while the black one will not consider asking white policemen to join him for a drink as part of his job, as does Spade.
The hero of Hammett's novel meets with Miss Wonderly - wonderful in every way - when she appears in his office to request him to tail a man named Floyd Thursby. Miss Wonderly is undoubtedly a beautiful woman. Here, the beautiful woman is a stereotypical description of a lady who must meet with a macho male that can be hard and intermittently cruel - all for an apparently good cause. The macho male replies to her thus: "You won't need much of anybody's help. You're good. You're very good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get into your voice when you say things like 'Be generous, Mr. Spade'" (Hammett).
Spade's is a hard-boiled masculinity. ...
In truth, the man cannot think beyond his masculinity. In his view, there is one true gender in the world: that of the male. Sam Spade is in fact praising Effie by calling her a good man. From another perspective, we can understand his words with the concept of oneness in mind. Spade does not believe in a separate existence of a man and a woman. He must trust in the fact that both were created out of oneness, a single soul. A good man, then, is both a good woman and a good man.

Yet another way to comprehend Spade's words is to assume that he honestly admired his faithful secretary, Effie, for qualities that reminded him of the concept of manhood. She can rebuke him when she must, and remain loyal to him throughout. Finally, the man is definitely not looking upon her with feminineness in mind. He calls her sister, revealing that he does not feel sexually attracted to her anyhow (Hammett).
Sam Spade has been perceived as an icon. Dorothy Parker at The New Yorker called him modern, masculine, and sexy. He has three women to choose between: Iva Archer, the promiscuous wife; Effie Perrine, the spunky girl next door; and Brigid, a fantasy, aggressive, sexy and efficient. The three women in Hammett's novel are known to symbolize the trio of Fates that have prodded the male with questions, solved mysteries, and also possessed occult powers. Of these three women, only Brigid appears as Spade's equal, only because she is both intelligent and clever.

Spade is unlike anybody else in his time. Hammett's hero became so popular that even today the American private eye must be somewhat similar to him. We even expect the women in his life to be similar to Effie, Brigid, and Iva ...Show more
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Summary

This paper is a critical examination of the concepts of gender, race, and class in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, a story of Sam Spade, who is a white macho American male private eye. The paper discusses his relationships with women, and also a black private eye from Walter Mosley's novel to better understand the concepts in question.
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