Final Paper

Final Paper - There is Something to the Case After All...

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There is Something to the Case After All Melissa Harintho GE 13186- McChesney
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“The poor devil.” How did such a saying originate, given that the devil is commonly known as the root of all evil? The Christian Bible describes Lucifer, or Satan, as a fallen angel. Lucifer, driven by pride, leads a rebellion against God in The War of Heaven. Unfortunately for Lucifer, the revolution is unsuccessful, and he is cast out of Heaven for eternity. Then continuing in the Christian tradition is the falling out that occurs between God and his first human creations, Adam and Eve. From the moment Eve bites into the forbidden fruit, mankind is eternally tainted with sinfulness. As Satan was banished from Heaven, so man and woman are evicted from the Garden of Eden and condemned to live in a world of sin and struggle. Given this story, why would one regard the devil, the embodiment of evil and the reason for the fallen state of humanity, with sympathy? Evidently, the common experience of being removed from a world of perfection and peace is enough to create an understanding between the devil and man, two figures who have been pitted against each other since the first moment of man’s existence. Analogous to the classic relationship between Satan and man, is the relationship between the reader, the criminal, and the detective in the detective genre. In this widely-read genre, the reader gradually discovers a peculiar empathy for the criminal in herself and in the detective figure. In addition to the symbolic criminal/ detective relationship, a further analogy to the good/ evil dichotomy appears in the detective genre with the requisite sound resolution: a solved case. No matter how far into the bizarre or sensational the author may venture, a concrete solution to the initial mystery is absolutely essential in the detective story. This resolution results from the stringing together of evidence and it ultimately proves the existence of justice in the tale, and through the reader’s experience, proves the
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existence of justice as a whole in the world. Through the attributes of reader, criminal, and detective and resolving in the detective genre, the author personifies mankind’s universal guilt over original sin in the detective’s investigation in order to demonstrate that justice is a reality that can be achieved through human struggle. The illustration of how the unexplained darkness at the beginning of all detective stories mirrors the role of original sin in the world is first addressed in Ernst Bloch’s essay, “A Philosophical View of the Detective Novel.” As Bloch notes, in the history of the detective story, the uncanny beginning has proven to be one of the traits of the genre that is resistant to change. Bloch opens his notable essay by stating, “Something is uncanny, that is how [the detective story] begins” (Bloch 245). This mysterious quality is illustrated already, for example, when the 19 th century short story “The Marquise de Brinvilliers” starts with the scene depicting the strange lack of resistance during the arrest
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This note was uploaded on 05/18/2008 for the course GE 13186 taught by Professor Mcchesney during the Fall '08 term at Notre Dame.

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Final Paper - There is Something to the Case After All...

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