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Crime Fiction: Context and Values

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Cass M

on 11 February 2013

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Transcript of Crime Fiction: Context and Values

Context and values -
and why you need them! CRIME WRITING THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND CONGRATULATIONS! If you'd made it this far, you've allowed yourself to be enlightened upon the absolute necessity that is context and values in texts! Hooray!

I'll leave you now with this piece of advice: If you're hoping to do well in Extension English... CONTEXT
Created as a parody of Agatha Christie's cosy-school "The Mousetrap"
Aims to satirise aspects of theatre and modern life
Influenced by the theatre of the Absurd
The cosy-crime subgenre was popular at the time: Hound mocks it through the use of dramatic devices such as cliché , irony, and the inclusion of the senseless melodrama that was so often found in theatre at the time.
Why? (This is the part where context can change your entire essay!)
The cosy-crime genre was extremely popular in the 20th century - around the same time as the Vietnam and Cold War. Stoppard challenges its appropriateness during such a state. The Real Inspector Hound INSPECTOR REX Values The Real Inspector Hound Conventions Context and values - and how they can change your essay's life! The two most important words you will ever find!
Context = Back story, the situation, the circumstance surrounding an event.
Values = Morals, what is socially accepted
So why is it so important?
Times change, and so do social expectations!
The same kind of text written in two different eras can mean two very different things. HISTORY... Conventions and Values 1920s’ Golden Age, also known as the Cozy school of crime
Largely comprised of British authors
Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham
Majority of crime writings were whodunits
Strict conventions made novels appear filled to the brim with clichés
Confined setting - often incredibly detailed - with a limited amount of people, meaning one of them must be the murderer
The authors would include a sufficient amount of clues in order to allow the responders a chance at figuring out the criminal: this is referred to as "playing fair"
Numerous red herrings
Denouement revealing the criminal and motives American Hard Boiled 19th century: official beginning
Arabic tale: "The Three Apples"
Chinese novel: "Di Gong An"
1846: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"
1887: Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
Catalyst for future crime writings: detective's skills of logical deduction has remained popular in the crime fiction genre over the centuries
Methodical approach to investigating
Large value was placed on brain rather than braw Golden Age Early 20th century America, mainly 1930s and 40s
Post-WWI --> period of the Great Depression
Growth of gangsterism, and as a result lawlessness and corruption became the norm
Lead by authors such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler
Creation of the middle-aged, male, tough-guy detective who smoked and drank far too much coffee
Plots were less puzzle-like and more similar to a labyrinth, with endless twists and turns
Investigators tended to be far more pessimistic, shallow, alienated, distrustful and sexual as opposed to the British Cosy detectives "Noir Fiction" "Cosy School" CONTEXT Inspector Rex Austrian television program
Investigative team lead by Richard Moser and Rex, his police dog
Immense international popularity Values Inspector Rex "Under Hypnosis" Murderer is revealed to the audience early on
Different from usual crime writings as the murderer was hypnotised
Challenges ideas regarding what makes a murder
Suspects are quickly noted: the girlfriend of the man who was killed as she claims to have no recollection of the night, the mother of the murdered man who appears to be practicing hypnotism, and a man who claims to be able to heal through the power of the mind
Episode continues to involve the audience in the process of catching the perpetrator: Forensics expert explaining in full detail to Moser the different ways to find fingerprints, etc. 19th Century Detective Fiction Noir/Thriller Fiction Post World War II
1970s and 80s
Period of the Cold War
Plots were packed with danger and action
Conventions included betrayal, sexual promiscuity, deceit and multiple identities Contemporary Mystery Recent developments to the crime fiction genre
Radical changes are continuing to be made
Courtroom environments are becoming increasingly popular
Crime fiction is becoming prominent in the film and television industry
First-person narration from the perspective of the protagonist
Female investigators are becoming more common "Procedural Fiction" Detailed and authentic settings that tends to be confined in some way, shape or form
The crime is often personalised: Generally a murder, with a large amount of information about the victim being given
Red herrings: disguises and false/meaningless clues
Protagonists: The amateur, the private investigator, the police detective, the pathologist
Action-packed, high-speed chases
Violence and deception alongside the concept of good vs evil
Eventual denouement: "safe" adrenaline rush for viewers Questioning religion, reality and what is known as the "human condition"
The relativity of truth
Humour through parody
The behavioural differences between those of different social class Numerous conventions of the Absurdist genre are utilised, whereby Stoppard rids his play of all predictability and reassurance
Cliché (see: setting in an isolated environment, cut off from the rest of the world, surrounded by ‘deadly swamps and fog’)
Dramatic irony
Illogical coincidences
Red herrings (Almost all the characters make claims to want to ‘kill’ somebody at some point) Motives leading to murder
Manipulation and framing of the innocent
Good triumphing evil
Society's changing ethics Conventions Context and values? Huh? make sure you don't forget! Bibliography 1. History of Crime Fiction 2010, Wikimedia Foundation, viewed 6th of February, <http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/231221>
2. Mystery Genres, viewed 6th of February, < http://www.mysterynet.com/genres/>
3. Crime Fiction: Crime Writing for the HSC, viewed 8th of February, < http://crimewritinghsc.wordpress.com/genre/crime-fiction/>
4. EE1 Module A: The Real Inspector Hound, viewed 8th of February, < http://www.boredofstudies.org/wiki/Module_A:_The_Real_Inspector_Hound#.27Theatre_of_the_Absurd.27>
5. Crime Fiction Part 1: Genre Basics.
6. Stanners, B. 2007, Exploring Genre: Crime Fiction, Phoenix Education
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