Walter Mosley American Literature Analysis
Mosley’s mystery novels fall into the category of hard-boiled detective stories. This genre is associated most often with Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross Macdonald, pioneers who transformed a popular form of entertainment into world-recognized literature. By the time Mosley started writing, there were dozens of successful authors working within the genre. In addition, the once exclusively white male enclave of the private eye had included several woman and African American detectives.
Easy Rawlins is not a licensed private investigator, but the unlicensed operative has a long lineage. The detective in Hammett’s The Glass Key (1930), for example, is a friend of the primary suspect, and John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee and Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder are unlicensed agents who, like Easy Rawlins, do “favors” for people. There is also a related genre of hard-boiled novels that are stylistically similar to hard-boiled detective stories, only without a detective as protagonist. Prominent writers within this genre have included James Cain, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and Harry Whittingham. Easy’s first-person narrative and continual struggles with his inner self are reminiscent of many works in this latter genre, though Mosley’s novels are definitely “whodunits” as well.
In both of its forms, the hard-boiled genre features a lean, hard style of language, suspense, fast-paced action, and psychological as...
(The entire section is 4041 words.)
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