Raymond  Chandler
Symposium 2001
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Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, MA
Tracy Byrne
"The Views of Raymond Chandler Through the Eyes of Philip Marlowe"
"Writers in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s"


During the 1930s and 1940s many writers traveled west to become a part of the rapidly growing film industry. Among these people were three men, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane. They were hard-boiled detective writers. During this time period the world was in complete distress during the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. The film industry was encouraged to produce films that made Americans feel jovial and patriotic. The industry wanted to take people away from the reality they were living. Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillane wrote an alternative to the bright films of this time period. Their screenplays started a new genre of film that today is known as film noir. Film noir did not allow viewers to escape from reality; it presented reality.

Raymond Chandler set the standard for detective fiction during the 1930s and 1940s. Throughout his works, Chandler, utilizes the same private detective hero, Philip Marlowe. All stories are told in the first person, so Chandler is able to depict his outlook of the world through the eyes of Marlowe. Chandler focuses on his view of society, his view of women, and his view of himself. His view of society is pessimistic and he is disgusted with the corrupt world he is living in. His view of women is of two extremes. They are either gorgeous and helpless or gorgeous and vindictive. His view of himself is shown through his private eye hero, Philip Marlowe. Marlowe is the man Chandler desired to be. He was tough, educated, and followed a set of moral codes. Through the eyes of Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler reveals his view of the world.

Photo credit: http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/c29-ps.htm