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Title: The Centre Cannot Hold: Identity and Language in the Postmodern Fiction of Chandler, Highsmith and Christie
Keywords: Crime fiction, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, Agatha Christie, Postmodernism, Decentred
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2012
Citation: PHAY CHOONG SIEW JOSEPHINE (2012-04-30). The Centre Cannot Hold: Identity and Language in the Postmodern Fiction of Chandler, Highsmith and Christie. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis argues that Raymond Chandler¿s Marlowe novels, Patricia Highsmith¿s Ripliad, and Agatha Christie¿s detective as well as spy novels are postmodern in their presentation of the world in general, and identity in particular, as a ¿kaleidoscope¿¿to use Christie¿s image¿of arbitrary signs. I show that the fiction of all three authors includes a variety of decentring elements which undercut any sense of stability that readers might derive from, e.g., the centring figure of the private eye/I, all-seeing detective, or subversive anti-hero. For instance, all three authors highlight the fluidity, and therefore instability, of identity, as well as the fragmentary nature of the world and the isolation of the individual. What further marks these authors as postmodern is that, although they present the world as a ¿waste land¿ that cannot be made whole again, they do not bemoan the fact that ¿the centre cannot hold.¿ On the contrary, they foreground the creativity and humour that can be found in such a situation.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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