Writing Style in The Maltese Falcon

“Spade’s thick fingers made a cigarette with deliberate care, sifting a measured quantity of tan flakes down into curved paper, spreading the flakes so that they lay equal at the ends with a slight depression in the middle, thumbs rolling the paper’s inner edge down and up under the outer edge as forefingers pressed it over, thumbs and fingers sliding to the paper cylinder’s ends to hold it even while tongue licked the flap, left forefinger and thumb pinching their end while right forefinger and thumb smoothed the damp seam, right forefinger and thumb twisting their end and lifting the other to Spade’s mouth.”

Hammet, Dashiel. The Maltese Falcon. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1930.

Hammet uses such an interesting style of writing to show Spade’s reaction upon hearing who’s body was just discovered. Instead of showing that through facial expressions he chooses to describe Spade very delicately rolling his cigarette. Is Spade’s reaction shown through the way he rolls? Is there some difference with how he usually does it?


Inequality in As I Lay Dying

“‘…I’d advise you to buy that and go back home and tell your pa, if you have one, and let him make somebody buy you a wedding license. Was that all you wanted?’ But she just stood there, not looking at me.” (Faulkner 196)

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Chatto and Windus, 1915

Dewey essentially has no control over her current life situation, as Moseley is now being refused of purchasing abortion medication, facing her with limited choices such as going home to her dad and getting married. The way Moseley refuses further emphasizes this theme of women facing inequality in the novel, as Dell is forced to continue facing consequences for actions out of her control.

“The Past” in Mrs. Dalloway

“‘Yes,’ said Peter;. ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ he said, as if she drew up to the surface something which positively hurt him as it rose. Stop! Stop! he wanted to cry. For he was not old; his life was not over; not by any means.” (Woolf 64)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, 2002

Peter’s past is something that we have seen time and time again become an issue for him, as Clarissa’s rejection still burns a hole in his chest, even though it was mostly his own fault why he even got rejected in the first place. Regardless, both Peter and Clarissa continue to wonder what life would’ve been like if they had been together, with different reactions from each of them. Ultimately showing that even though two characters may share a past with each other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they share the same feelings about it.

“The Middle Years” Commonplace

“That identity was ineffaceable now, and all the more that he was disappointed, disgusted. He had been rash, been stupid, had gone out too soon, stayed out too long.”

Henry James, “The Middle Years.” Henry James: Complete Stories 1892-1898, ed. John Hollander and David Bromwich (New York: The Library of America, 1996), pg 345

Why is the “identity” something that he’s so worried about being memorized/not forgotten? What caused this to happen? Why is it a problem that he stayed out too long?