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Power and Corruption in Chandler’s and Paretsky’s Novels: An Analysis

Feb 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The saying, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” denotes that more power an individual has makes one exert more control over people, hence becoming more corrupt. Chandler’s and a Paretsky’s novels,Farewell, My Lovely and Indemnity Only respectively are filled with both corruption and power. Power is authority and strength that expresses the ability to control leading to dictatorship. Historically, power and corruption has proven to be the root of evil in a community. The body, mind and soul of a human are capable coming corrupted through the abuse of power. Possession of power makes an individual feel in the same level as God, depicting a sign of corruption in an individual.Farewell, My Lovelydespite being filled with murder and corruption is essentially a love story that begins in the south central of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Indemnity Only has over the past decades has become a sharp serving notice to bad boys in Chicago over corruption and abuse of power. The renowned authors, Chandler and a Paretsky, tangles with corruption and murder of individuals in connection to white collar crimes. Therefore, this essay critically analyzes the depiction of power and corruption in Farewell, My Lovely and Indemnity Onlyusing empirical examples from the novels.

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In Farewell, My Lovely, the author depicts power and corruption among the affluent classes. Particularly, in the search of Velma and Moose, Chandler introduces the use of affluent community to depict power and corruption. Marlowe secures a job accompanying a man with an intention to buy back a stolen necklace. While the two scenarios appear unconnected, Marlowe shows a link that gets sucked in to a web of power and corruption deeply infected in the affluent class. Likewise, Paretsky’sIndemnity Onlyportrays power and corruption of politicians of Chicago. Paretsky uses the terms old boys and old girls to refer to the people using power to pollute the environment. The novels are base on the American community, the two novels shows that the powerful people uses murder to threat opposing personalities and achieve their corrupt deals. Therefore, the two stories, despite having a non-traditional nature, the characters are identifiably true heroes and heroines that engage in corruption.

Power in farewell my lovely

The depiction of power in the book farewell my lovely seems to come from basic characteristics and mannerisms. Individuals seem to derive their power and legitimacy of the same from simple characteristics. In this case, the best and most highlighted characteristic is the race of the characters. When the murder takes place for example, it is seen that because the murder is that of a clack individual, the detective feels obligated not to take the matter as seriously as he takes other matters. Because the victim murdered is black, Lt. Nutty shows that he lacks much interest and does not give credibility to the matter often preferring to only give as little energy as possible. He sees the black murder victim as someone who exhibited little if any power and one who should be ignored.

Secondly, the Lt. Nutty shows that those in power can simply relay on the underdogs to do their work. While Marlowe runs around town attempting to find the murderer, the lieutenant in charge of the case opts to sit around, lazing around and instead trace Marlowe who is doing his work. For example, when Marlowe indicates that they should search for the girlfriend, the lieutenant who gets his lower from a higher position commands him to go forth and find the said girlfriend. In this case, power is depicted to improve laziness and a lack of interest in the duties that fall under ones category.

Finally power is shown as the foundation upon which corruption is based. Because she is powerful and well versed in the procedures of the bay police, perhaps even as implied in the novel having knowledge of the corruption in bay city police, Ms. Velma almost gets away with murder. She actually almost manages to stray the entire investigation in the direction that she wants. It is only through his intelligence that Marlowe determines and proves the truth. It is important to note that she controls so much power that at the mention of her name, the bay city corrupt officials are influenced to cooperation. Corruption brings with it its own set of power even forcing honest and truthful police men out of work. The corrupt police chief is able to do away with all those who are a threat and who despise the power that he possesses. Policemen are expected to either become corrupt or at least keep silent over matters of corruptions if they expect to maintain their employment. Failure to do so ensure that they are either fired or let go prematurely despite they being the only ones who are doing their work as expected.

Power in indemnity

The immediate source of power in the book comes from the writer’s choice of a lead detective. In a field that is often crowded with men, the writer elects to use a woman depicting and bring out the difference in power. Warshawski is hired by a man to find his lost girlfriend. She immediately takes up the work fervently, even determining immediately that the young girl she is searching for may not be who she imagined to be. The feminist kind of writing which portrays the detective as stronger than all the men in the novel gives credence to the fact that just being a woman in itself, her gender itself gives her complete and absolute power. On the other hand, the men are portrayed as victims or people who need to be rescued at all times. They are faced with phenomenal power which they are unable to resolve and find solutions for the same. However, even with the challenges facing her she is able to protect and complete the task set before her resolving the crime, fighting the criminals and finally re-uniting the finally in a happily ever after emotional setting.

A second depiction of power comes through the elitist kind of corruption that allows people to gather power and to do as much as they want. It is determined in the novel the corruption is so widespread so that even the daughter of the union leader has got to go into hiding. The corruption is seen as something that is common for the big organizations such as the insurance companies and the unions. The union bosses and insurance company bosses are so determined to protect their power that they go as far as using violence. Because people are being murdered and exposed to insecure situations, the other witnesses are unwilling to come forward. The situation is so bad that those in power such as the union boss have to resort to lying . when hiring Warshawski, he has to pretend that Anita is his girlfriend. Anita’s boyfriend has just been murdered and is this murder that has forced her into hiding. After the murder, Anita discovers that this is beyond and much bigger than the actual murder. After this discovery and in fear for her own life , Anita is forced away from her father who also fears for her life. It is this fear that forces him, despite being a big union leader and having his own power in the union to take up a different persona and hire a detective to help him trace his daughter. Because he feels so helpless against the powerful bosses from the insurance companies and conspirators in the unions.

Innocently Warshawski conducts a relationship with Devereaux whose boss is the one who has been ordering all the murders. This simple analogy shows that whereas the companies themselves maybe corrupt, individuals within the company may not be aware of the corruption and extent of power that their organizations. Devereaux though senior and working for one of the most powerful individuals within the town, is unaware otherwise he would easily collect all the information on the investigation. Notorious underworld bosses are controlling the entire town and indeed make all the decision s in the town. While the union boss for example is expected to make all decisions with regard to the unions, he is forced to make other forms of decisions because of the corruptions of senior business executives who are more concerned with making higher profits and reducing costs at any cost.

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