What is the major difference between Anne Riordan and Helen Grayle/Velma Valento? This is more of a character analysis type of question.

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Farewell, My Lovely was first published in 1940. It is a noir novel and is the second in Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series.

Anne Riordan is the antithesis of Velma Valento. Anne works as a freelance feature writer and is the daughter of the former Bay City chief of...

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Farewell, My Lovely was first published in 1940. It is a noir novel and is the second in Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series.

Anne Riordan is the antithesis of Velma Valento. Anne works as a freelance feature writer and is the daughter of the former Bay City chief of police. She is pretty, quiet, honest, intelligent, and brave—but inexperienced when it comes to romantic attachments. As Marlowe describes her:

She was about twenty-eight years old. She had a rather narrow forehead of more height than is considered elegant. Her nose was small and inquisitive, her upper lip a shade too long and her mouth more than a shade too wide . . . It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.

Velma/Mrs. Grayle is a complex character, given her double identity. Velma is the former girlfriend of the ex-convict Moose Molloy but has married a millionaire and reinvented herself as Mrs. Grayle. She is loud, brash, beautiful, and openly seductive toward Marlowe. But, not only a criminal, she is also a heartless murderer. When she kills Marriott she doesn’t just shoot him but beats him with such ferocity that he is unidentifiable. Although Marlowe sees the positives in a relationship with somebody like Anne, he is naturally attracted to more dangerous women like Velma:

Her hair was the gold of old paintings and had been fussed with just enough but not too much. She had a full set of curves which nobody had been able to improve on . . . She was giving me one of her smiles. She looked as if she smiled easily, but her eyes had a still look, as if they thought slowly and carefully. And her mouth was sensual.

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Anne Riordan is simple, honest, modest, conventional, whereas Velma is ruthless, unconventional, ambitious, materialistic and flamboyant. Anne is an introvert; Velma is an extrovert. Both are smart, independent, resourceful. Moose Malloy would naturally be attractive to a fllashy, sexy, dangerous woman like Velma, but he would never be attracted to a plain, domestic woman like Anne. Philip Marlowe, on the other hand, sees the much greater worth in Anne, who would make a lucky man a faithful and helpful lifelong companion, while Velma is nothing but trouble for every man she gets involved with. Anne would be faithful, but Velma could never be faithful because she is selfish and ambitious. The trouble for Marlowe is that he is a loner and doesn't know whether he could adjust to the kind of conventional, routine sort of existence that Anne seems to be offering him. She doesn't approve of his drinking, for one thing. She would want to change him. She could never change herself. He would have to become a different person, more like her, if he wanted to have a permanent relationship with her. But maybe, like Velma, he has had too much life experience and has developed too far in a certain direction to be able to turn around and go back to the sort of life Anne represents and offers.

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