Honor and Morality, or Just another Facade?

“‘When a man’s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it. It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it. Then it happens we were in the detective business. Well, when one of your organization gets killed it’s bad business to get the killer get away with it.'” (Hammett 213-214)

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1992.

I am very confused. Spade attempts to explain his motive to Brigid for turning her in. There have been many instances prior that support that Spade took on this case for his own entertainment, but if this was purely the motive, why does he try to rationalize his actions to Brigid? Also, his rationale circles back to Miles. Despite his prior nonchalance, it seems like Spade is using Miles’ death to support his honor as a man. It’s “moral” to avenge one’s partner. Also through his word choice, “supposed”, it shows how he doesn’t completely buy into this idea of honor/morality, yet he still does it. Also in the next part he talks about the detective business and he brings up this idea of morality/expected actions to help other people, but he never says how he truly feels about these expectations. I feel like attempting to read Spade is like playing mind games; you just never clearly know.

“The Middle Years” Common Place

Doctor Hugh was an ardent physiologist, saturated with the spirit of the age–in other words he had just taken his degree; but he was independent and various, he talked like a man who would have preferred to love literature best.

Henry James, “The Middle Years.” Henry James: Complete Stories 1892-1898, ed. John Hollander and David Bromwich (New York: The Library of America, 1996), 342.

Interesting word choice “saturated with the spirit of age”, age is not usually associated with spirit/liveliness. Clarification in next part of sentence conveys he is young, “just taken his degree”. Long sentence, with dash and semicolon, all explaining Doctor Hugh’s character. “Preferred to love literature best” interesting and confusing characterization– enthusiasm and wistfulness? He likes the idea of literature more than he actually likes literature?