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Transcript of CRIME FICTION
In this unit we will be …
understanding what conventions are used in a crime story to make it recognisable and identify these conventions
learning about some well known crime authors and stories
reading and watching different crime stories
Looking at how to write a good opening to a story
Learning how to create suspense in our writing
Looking at reading and writing horror stories
Crime fiction is the genre of fiction that deals with crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is distinguishable within this genre's texts and are blurred and often changing.
What would we expect to see in a crime story?
A crime – murder
Clues so the reader can solve it
Culprit must be known to us
Suspense and tension
It is a literary device used by writers to distract, confuse, or surprise their readers. A red herring is meant to draw the reader off the correct trail so that they will be surprised when their solution dead-ends and the true solution is revealed. If you think of a twist at the end of a movie, all the clues were there in order for the twist to make sense; but other false clues were there as well to keep you from guessing the twist. False clues add to the surprise of the reader, but they also give credit to the analytical skills of the detective. When the detective is able to solve a mystery that has all the other characters and the reader stumped, that's one good detective!
Crime fiction through time
Edgar Allan Poe wrote detective stories in the 19th century. He is considered to be a founding father of detective fiction.
His detective, C. Aguste Dupin, and the un-named narrator form the template for many other detectives.
The first detective stories
What are the conventions?
The narrator is often a friend or associate of the detective, their mistakes and failures are used to make the detective look smarter.
Past events play an important part in many of these stories
It is intelligence that wins the day rather than strength or violence – they are methodical and logical
Dialogue is important as theories are talked through
The typical atmosphere is gloomy and dark, often with gruesome murders, bloody corpses and descriptions of terrible injuries
Means, motive, and opportunity form the basis for any prosecution:
Means: Would the suspect be able to commit the crime?
Motive: Does the suspect have a reason to commit the crime?
Opportunity: Was the suspect there when the crime was committed?
More about Poe
Equally as important in the history of the crime fiction genre was Agatha Christie(1890-1976) . Her best known detectives are Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple and Mr. Parker Pyne.
Looking at the history of crime fiction as a serious genre, crime fiction didn't begin to be considered until around 1900.
Crime fiction generally started in 1841 with the publication of Edgar Allan Poe's story 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'. From there it gradually spread over the United States, Great Britain and France. By the turn of the century crime fiction was generally acknowledged as a new and special kind of literature.
Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories first appeared in serial form in the monthly Strand magazine in Britain. The series quickly attracted a wide and passionate following on both sides of the Atlantic, and when Doyle killed off Holmes in The Final Problem, the public outcry was so great and the publishing offers for more stories so attractive that he was reluctantly forced to resurrect him.
The most famous crime fiction author is Arthur Conan Doyle 1880 - 1920 (a medical practitioner from Edinburgh) who invented Sherlock Holmes. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries are said to have been singularly responsible for the huge popularity in this 'locked room mysteries' genre. The evolution of locked room mysteries was one of the landmarks in the history of crime fiction.
Traditionally a male genre with a male protagonist, male narrator and a male view of the world.
Who are the stock characters?
Predator and prey
killer and victim
Seemingly innocent person murdered, red herrings
False clues, cliff hangers, solutions provided in the last chapters, police arrive to clean up and restore order.
Partakes of quest/adventure plot line
Reader is engaged in solving the crime (reader-text relationship)
Good Vs Evil
Power and powerless
Institutions Vs Individuals
Personal moral codes and personal integrity
Detailed; specific and believably realistic settings (often very recognisable by the audience eg small towns; trains; cruise ships; well known cities)
Settings often well researched and factually detailed
Often told by the detective (first person)
Tone- tension, suspense and menace
Language is simple and colloquial (slang and swearing) but very masculine, vulgar and aggressive.
Limited descriptive passages- story mainly consists of dialogue and action.
Settings will be described in detail because it helps create the atmosphere. It is also important to the crime and/or plot.
What do you know about crime fiction?
Detective work time!
See PowerPoint: A murder is announced.
Setting is shown as a ‘mini’ society that is confined by location (we see familiar types of people you might expect to find in such a place eg vicar; school teacher; the ‘gossip’; waiters; conductors etc)
Social attitudes and values at the time of writing are reflected (often the writer is making a comment about these by the way they are presented)
• Set in hospitals, school laboratories, private investigators home, special crime units and laboratories.
• Alluding to past crimes or injustices to heighten the horrors of the crime and of the atmosphere.
• They are not set in closed setting
• Violence is very graphic and it includes the killing of an innocent
Urban- inner city "mean streets"
Places of the rich and famous
Places associated with the justic system
The PI's office (often run-down)
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is considered to be the first locked room formula used in a short story.
THE LOCKED ROOM:
Definition: A crime is committed in a room, sealed from the inside or under constant scrutiny.
"I can't read fiction without visualising every scene. The result is it becomes a series of pictures rather than a book." ALFRED HITCHCOCK