How does Allen create a parody of the old-fashioned detective story?

Expert Answers
appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Woody Allen employs a parodic use of language in this story to poke fun at hard-boiled detective stories, and also to reinvent the genre with his take on the title character. Calling the woman a "whore" is ironic since there is no explicit exchange of sex; she is chosen not for her looks but because she has a high intellect and is a member of Mensa. Allen uses descriptive language that resembles but ultimately ridicules the language of Raymond Chandleresque detective stories. This is evident when he says "She was packed into her slacks like two scoops of ice cream" which not only uses a ridiculous and incongruous image, but implies the woman is overweight, and also that the narrator finds her attractive as she is; all three of these things invert the usual expectation of a similar description in a more traditional detective story, where women are usually both romanticized and objectified.

 

Read the study guide:
The Whore of Mensa

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question