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Title: Dysfunctionality and detection : some reflections on the figure of the male detective in detective fiction
Authors: Mizzi, Yana
Keywords: Detective and mystery stories -- Criticism and interpretation
Men in literature
Detectives in literature
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This dissertation aims to explore the figure of the male detective as portrayed in detective fiction. The male detective will be discussed as a figure whose neurosis and obsessive nature seem to render him dysfunctional at times. His priority is his working life and he is not interested in anything other than solving the case at hand. The detective’s monomania leads him to act in a manner that may seem improper and unlawful. When there is a case to be solved, the fictional detective will not stop to think about his actions as long as they can be justified. If whatever he is doing helps solve a murder, then it simply must be done. These points will be further developed when taking a look at works by Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and G. K. Chesterton among others. This attitude creates problems for the detective as his personal life is often seen flailing and falling apart. The detective appears to be a misfit of society. Cast out for not adhering to the accepted norms of the community, he is often uninterested in forming or maintaining any healthy relationships with others. Whereas most look for peace of mind away from the work place, the detective is lost and confused the minute he steps outside the office. His real home is his work environment and some of the texts explored here include works by Alan Hunter, Thomas Pynchon and Stieg Larsson among others. His inability to bond with others and to create meaningful relationships with the people who care for him most, renders the detective a solitary figure. His main interest lies in his cases and he will not rest until the matter at hand has been solved. The argument explored in this dissertation, however, then shifts its gaze. It turns to look at the other side of the coin and to explore the detective in a way that might lead it down a different path to its previous concerns. Presumably dysfunctional, the detective still manages to prove himself to be the most suited man for the task at hand. He excels at what he does and where his compulsive nature and incontrollable mind set him apart as an outcast, at the work place these are his most celebrated qualities. His dysfunctionality is just the thing that makes him the bestfunctioning man for the job. This dissertation aims to explore this twist and examines the new possibilities that arise when faced with this idea. The detective’s dysfunctionality is only dysfunctional outside of the workplace. The development and evolution of the figure of the male detective will be the main topics discussed throughout this dissertation.
Description: M.A.ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2014
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2014

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