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FEATURES of AFRICAN AMERICAN DECTECTIVE FICTION Black protagonists and settings - Harlem and South Central Los Angeles Focus on the complexity and...
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Mystery in Literature & FilmDevil in a Blue Dress 

Analyze as African American Detective Fiction

Select three different points that David Schmid makes in "African American Mysteries" excerpts. Have a paragraph on each point in which you:


  • Find places in Devil In a Blue Dress where you can see each point functioning and in action.
  • For each point, use direct quotations from the novel that illuminate each point.
  • Write one substantial paragraph per point explaining why that place in the novel illuminates the point 



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FEATURES of AFRICAN AMERICAN DECTECTIVE FICTION
Black protagonists and settings - Harlem and South Central Los Angeles
Focus on the complexity and richness of Harlem and Los Angeles. A three dimensional
picture of black urban life in the mid 20th century.
Explores racialized nature of justice system - examined from perspective of black
characters.
Addition of an African American perspective transforms the hardboiled genre's
understanding of it's foundational terms. JUSTICE, INNOCENCE and GUILT
o The black detective novel raises questions such as what do justice, innocence, and
guilt mean in a society that is in some ways fundamentally unjust?
Novels explore how the Judicial system treats African American people
Guilt, innocence and justice can look very different when seen from an African
American perspective.
.
Day to day difficulties faced by African Americans is explored --- daily racism that is
inherent in their lives is shown.
Texts by black writers illuminate the "whiteness" of the genre
Allows writers to provide social critique through the detective, setting, situations, etc.
WALTER MOSELY and DETECTIVE EASY RAWLINS
Mosley born in 1952 - worked in variety of jobs before becoming a writer in his 30s
.
First novel is Devil In Blue Dress - 1990 - Detective Easy Rawlins
. Detective Easy Rawlins
o Not a cop as protagonist but an amateur detective
o Motivation for detecting is being unemployed and wanting to pay mortgage
Hired by white man Dewit Albright because Easy knows community of Watts -
Albright doesn't have access to this community
Easy is not a loner in a way that Marlowe is
o Easy has a family that dictates what cases he takes on and how he investigates
them
Easy is connected to his community of Watts as a whole
Being a detective does not mean being isolated and cynical
Instead he is a community resource -helps people in need in the community
around him.
.
Historical Mysteries provide Alternative History of L.A.
Use of setting: African American neighborhoods of L.A. 1948 - 1960s.
Blacks at the center of American history and life; black perspective
Mosely's Los Angeles - meant to be a stark contrast to the Los Angeles found in
the work of the hardboiled writer like Chandler.
Shows police indifference to black crime murder

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