It’s time for genre writing to come in from the cold; to fly off their airport bookshelves and claim their rightful place in the English cannon. ” Writing has so many purposes. Subjects, styles, and different experiences to give us. We, as readers, want the story; we want to go through the experiences the author is giving us. All authors (whether they are genre oriented or not) are able to deliver the experiences we want.
So why are the works of genre writers considered less worthy than those hailed as literary masterpieces (e. . Jane Ere)?
Why is one more worthy than another? It’s time for genre writing to come In from the cold; to fly off their airport bookshelves and claim their rightful place In the English cannon. Genre writing provides structure for the author to work within, whilst the readers have a set of expectations to work with. With these structural expectations, writers are able to adhere to or subvert conventions of genre to make note and comment on prevalent societal and cultural values at the time of writing.
When the text adheres to the conventions of the genre It Is recognizable to Its audience. Subverting or challenging these conventions and/or expectations Is what makes a text memorable ND noteworthy. Genre writing should be accepted as greatly as general fiction because genre authors are Just as able to reflect societal and cultural values by adhering to or manipulating genre conventions as general fiction authors. Crime fiction writing is a response to specific social and cultural conditions within Its writer’s context.
The lasting popularity and relevance of Crime writing can be credited to the flexibility of the genre as It Is able to change and explore aspects of crime and individuals therefore can communicate the messages of the contexts and values of many societies and cultures to readers. Through the analysis of P. D. James’ The Skull Beneath the Skin (1984) and Tom Stoppard 1968 production The Real Inspector Hound, readers are able to identify how Crime fiction is able to adapt and evolve In response to different social and cultural conditions. P. D.
James’ The Skull Beneath the Skin (TESTS) depicts a corrupt, materialistic and money-oriented world, characteristic of her sass British context. Through the introduction of her female private detective, Cornelia Gray, James’ reflects the significance of women and their growing role in society. Despite the fact she is still undermined by men: “l may have underestimated you, Cornelia”; and she has never had a ‘real’ case to solve because the Agency had a reputation “only for finding lost nature), she maintains her traditionally male role as a detective.
Regarded by many as Crime fiction’s first female detective, Cornelia reflects the growing influence of feminism and the ‘independent woman’ of the sass. James explores the values of class, privilege, and elitism throughout the text, in particular on or when referring to Court Island. The amount of people on the Island was only ever small, “[Gorging] only allows parties once a week during the season ND he restricts the numbers to twelve at a time” this highlights the elitism and privilege of the higher classes, “I’d love to see the Victorian theatre on Court Island.
It’s very small – only a hundred seats… ” And the opportunities they receive (seeing the Victorian theatre). This also adheres to the Crime convention of a closed group of suspects, each with their motives for murder. However these motives are not personal, rather, they are financial, which highlights the greediness of James’ sass societal context. James breaks down this social class through the partnership of Classics and Cornelia. Cornelia becomes the dominant member of the duo and instructs Classics when she, in fact, is technically of a lower social status.
This showcase of the importance of status is a major social and cultural value typical of the sass in which the breakdown changes value norms significantly. James’ detailed imagery of the violence of death throughout the novel subverts the conventions of the genre, bringing a sense of horror to the text, “this pulp was Calamari’s face, clotting and oozing serum… Spiked with the little fragments of smashed bones. ” The graphic imagery of Calamari’s death can be seen as James’ affliction upon the violence of mankind and the corruption within her sass context of society.
Her disapproval of the hostile, corrupted society as a result of the greediness of Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power is brought to light in TESTS. Through Ambrosia’s tax evasion, Aroma’s financial problems and Calamari’s selfishness, James showcases a highly materialistic and self-centered society and points out her distaste of capitalism and Thatcher’s revival of Victorian values. Along with the other values and conventions above P. D.
James demonstrates how Crime is able to subvert and change inventions in order to reflect specific social and cultural conditions as she creates a novel that critically reflects her sass British context. The Real Inspector Hound (TRIM), a play written by Tom Stoppard and performed in the sass, was written at a time when society was healing from war and financial difficulties and people began to realize that crimes were not as formulaic as Ghats Christie would make them seem, which is why writers like Stoppard would create parodies of her works.
Stoppard mocks the Crime fiction genre by using hyperbole to exaggerate classic conventions and values of the genre and society. He did this with red herrings. The phrase “I’ll kill you… ” Is stated by almost every member of the cast at some point in keeping audiences guessing when the murder happens. Again, all the characters have their motives to kill someone; however they are more personal than in TESTS, this murder is fuelled by anger, revenge, and Jealousy, which British society was riddled with in the sass.
Stoppard points out all of the ‘stupid’ aspects of Christie works and mocks the Crime fiction genre and society through TRIM with his sass context. Trig’s play-within-play form was reflective of the growth of the Absurdist Theatre movement at the time which raised the questions “What is reality? ” and “What is performance? ” This is established in TRIM in the insertion of Moon and Birdbath into the play, therefore breaking down theatre’s fourth wall’, and becoming the characters that they were previously critiquing (and ultimately getting killed).
This parodies how perfectly Christie crimes worked (as well as crimes in society), showing that no matter how much you (communities) changed, crime would carry on as if nothing was changing. Stoppard makes comment on how in Christie novels, everything was perfectly set up. The characters all knew each other “I’m a friend of Lady Mullion… Tall friend, Felicity Cunningham… ” And the settings are pleasant “charming but somewhat isolated Mullion Manor.
Stoppard created TRIM to mock and parody the conventional values of Crime fiction texts and of his sass society through hyperbole and ironic humor to make everything about Crime fiction seem ridiculous and imperfect. By analyzing specific genre texts, it is clear that when a crime fiction is written, it takes on the specific social and cultural conditions of its author’s context. Both texts use genre to Juxtapose, exemplify and explore how cultural and societal values have plopped and changed over time through the effective use of form, language and Crime conventions.
Whether it is class, privilege and elitism or pure nonsense, the relevance depends on how it is that the writer represents common societal beliefs – without these we would not have the crime texts that we know today. That is why, Just like general fiction, genre texts should be hailed as literary masterpieces. It is time for genre writing to come in from the cold; to fly off their airport bookshelves and claim their rightful place in the English cannon, and we should be waiting with a blanket and a warm cup of tea.