The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

by Dashiell Hammett

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:22 am

Today, it's Nora's turn! What did you think?
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Buster » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:53 am

Not to be too obvious, but I can see a lot of Lillian Hellman in her.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby shadowydog » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:30 pm

Buster wrote:Not to be too obvious, but I can see a lot of Lillian Hellman in her.


I see a lot of Gracie Allen in the character.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:33 pm

What I like about Nora is that she is self-possessed and pretty unflappable, she and Nick complement each other. You can never imagine Nora carrying on with same histrionics that you see in Mimi or Dorothy. Also while she may not be versed in the Nick's world of back alleys and speaks, she is very familiar with the world of high-tone society, that's very evident by how she manages Mimi and the other people that she and Nick hang out with. She's more virtuous than others in her crowd, but doesn't flaunt it; and I suspect that this aspect of her personality Nick finds attractive.


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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:15 pm

Buster, Lillian Hellman yes but witI see her with a little softer edge that Lillian.

shadowdydog, I can see Gracie in there sometimes as well but not quite as ditzy. :lol:

Boo, your point about Nora coming from the world of the upper class and so knowing how to deal with them is a good one. It also points out a difference between Nick and Nora which contributes to how their different strengths compliment each other. She has a self confidence about her but at the same time a bit of the little girl in her when she acts so exicted about being involved in a murder mystery, thus the Lillian Hellman/Gracie Allen comparison.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:37 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Buster, Lillian Hellman yes but witI see her with a little softer edge that Lillian.

shadowdydog, I can see Gracie in there sometimes as well but not quite as ditzy. :lol:

Boo, your point about Nora coming from the world of the upper class and so knowing how to deal with them is a good one. It also points out a difference between Nick and Nora which contributes to how their different strengths compliment each other. She has a self confidence about her but at the same time a bit of the little girl in her when she acts so exicted about being involved in a murder mystery, thus the Lillian Hellman/Gracie Allen comparison.



:lol: :ok:

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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby magpie » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:42 pm

She seems quite glamorous & sophisticated for age 26, is it? And also, somewhat jaded, but perhaps that is just how she interacts with Nick.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:56 pm

Thanks, magpie. I totally missed that her age had been given!
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Fairy » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:58 pm

:wave: I am a bit worried if I can keep up to your standards...
What a think of Nora; I guess she has two different sides in her. One wich can be very selfish and maybe even a little bit cruel and one that is kind and protective. I am not sure if she is really in love with Nick as she isn't jealous at all. Probably it is more the way of life she is living with Nick that she loves than actually Nick. I think she spoiled and selfish but in a charming way.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby FANtasticJD » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:12 pm

Nora, at 26, has been with Nick, 41, her entire adult life. They have been married for seven years. Her father died a year after N&N were married and Nick has been both lover and, in a way, father. Nora may be pampered but she is by no means naive. I love her self-confidence coupled with a youthful enthusiasm. It speaks well for Nick that she is like that.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:10 pm

Nora's an odd mix and maybe some of that comes from age. She's awfully young and to imagine her married to Nick at nineteen, that's even more stunning. She has a great deal of fun hanging at the edge of Nick's messes and watching it all, doesn't she? Letting strange men into their hotel room, chatting with guys Nick "sent up the river" and gleefully considering exactly what Nick might have been feeling during his tussle with Mimi. This is someone who is eager to push at walls just to see what happens. Not to break things down or change any equations but for the sheer joy of the experience. The word kittenish comes to mind, and I would guess this ripe playfulness is one of the reasons she's got Nick wrapped up and half dozen more guys panting in her wake. It's not the money, it's not the beauty -- it's her lightness which is such a pleasure to be around. I think her youth also shows in her very black and white sense of justice. She wants things to come out as they should in a world where order reigns. She is looking for spot on certainty when it comes to the guilt of Macaulay, pushing at Nick: "How did you find that out? Don't skip the details......Then you're not sure...." And my favorite, "But I thought everyone was supposed to be considered innocent until they were proved guilty....." Her naivete is charming, and ever so innocent, which again makes her delicious for Nick: very bright but needs someone to show her how it really is. Always the dance.

And while Hammett may have taken some elements of his relationship with Lillian and spliced them into Nick and Nora, I don't believe Lillian, even at twenty four (when she met him) was ever really innocent. Vulnerable, questioning, eager but Lillian had an edge, a bit of a razor she could wield when necessary. Perhaps then what we have here is a romanticized version of the writerly pair. Maybe it's what Hammett dreamed or perhaps simply what he knew would sell.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:57 pm

FANtasticJD wrote:Nora, at 26, has been with Nick, 41, her entire adult life. They have been married for seven years. Her father died a year after N&N were married and Nick has been both lover and, in a way, father. Nora may be pampered but she is by no means naive. I love her self-confidence coupled with a youthful enthusiasm. It speaks well for Nick that she is like that.

I’m embarrassed to say, but I totally missed this. I did do some searching in the book for the info today and did find out that Nora was 26 (pg. 15, last page of Chapter 4), but couldn’t find the rest….Nick’s age or that they had been married 7 years.

Where was it in the book? It’s driving me crazy that I can’t find it.

I liked Nora. To me, she appeared to be more like 30 or 35. I found her to be rather mature, quick, witty, adventurous, curious, with a zest for life. I liked how she was protective of Dorothy, and obviously not jealous of her or anyone else. I liked that about her. It told me that she was a confident woman.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby FANtasticJD » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:08 pm

Liz wrote:
FANtasticJD wrote:Nora, at 26, has been with Nick, 41, her entire adult life. They have been married for seven years. Her father died a year after N&N were married and Nick has been both lover and, in a way, father. Nora may be pampered but she is by no means naive. I love her self-confidence coupled with a youthful enthusiasm. It speaks well for Nick that she is like that.

I’m embarrassed to say, but I totally missed this. I did do some searching in the book for the info today and did find out that Nora was 26 (pg. 15, last page of Chapter 4), but couldn’t find the rest….Nick’s age or that they had been married 7 years.

Where was it in the book? It’s driving me crazy that I can’t find it.

I liked Nora. To me, she appeared to be more like 30 or 35. I found her to be rather mature, quick, witty, adventurous, curious, with a zest for life. I liked how she was protective of Dorothy, and obviously not jealous of her or anyone else. I liked that about her. It told me that she was a confident woman.

I have it as an e-book so can't give page numbers. However, near the beginning of Chapter 2 when Nick is describing Macaulay, he mentions:
"He was a big curly-haired, rosy-cheeked chap of about my age - forty-one - though he looked younger."

Same chapter, as Nick is talking to Macaulay, he mentions he hasn't been a detective for six years, since 1927. He goes on to say:
" 'On the level,' I assured him, 'a year after I got married, my wife's father died and left her a lumber mill and a narrow-gauge railroad and some other things and I quit the Agency to look after them.' "

Sooooo, six years since he quit being a detective and he was married one year prior to that means he's been married for seven years. It puts a somewhat different spin on Nora, doesn't it!
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:38 pm

I am learning a lot I missed in the book. Thanks ladies. While I missed the ages, it seemed Nick was older because Nora thought of him as worldly. I did think that Nora took Nicks shenanigans with the Wynant mother and daughter in her stride which seems unusual for her age. She did seem more sure of herself and that usually comes with age. Not to mention Nick seems to have a past with many women and Nora seems aware of it. I guess her young age explains that she considers that before her time and therefore maintains a good relationship with him. Very interesting discussion so far.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #3 ~ Nora Charles

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:51 pm

FANtasticJD wrote:
Liz wrote:
FANtasticJD wrote:Nora, at 26, has been with Nick, 41, her entire adult life. They have been married for seven years. Her father died a year after N&N were married and Nick has been both lover and, in a way, father. Nora may be pampered but she is by no means naive. I love her self-confidence coupled with a youthful enthusiasm. It speaks well for Nick that she is like that.

I’m embarrassed to say, but I totally missed this. I did do some searching in the book for the info today and did find out that Nora was 26 (pg. 15, last page of Chapter 4), but couldn’t find the rest….Nick’s age or that they had been married 7 years.

Where was it in the book? It’s driving me crazy that I can’t find it.

I liked Nora. To me, she appeared to be more like 30 or 35. I found her to be rather mature, quick, witty, adventurous, curious, with a zest for life. I liked how she was protective of Dorothy, and obviously not jealous of her or anyone else. I liked that about her. It told me that she was a confident woman.

I have it as an e-book so can't give page numbers. However, near the beginning of Chapter 2 when Nick is describing Macaulay, he mentions:
"He was a big curly-haired, rosy-cheeked chap of about my age - forty-one - though he looked younger."

Same chapter, as Nick is talking to Macaulay, he mentions he hasn't been a detective for six years, since 1927. He goes on to say:
" 'On the level,' I assured him, 'a year after I got married, my wife's father died and left her a lumber mill and a narrow-gauge railroad and some other things and I quit the Agency to look after them.' "

Sooooo, six years since he quit being a detective and he was married one year prior to that means he's been married for seven years. It puts a somewhat different spin on Nora, doesn't it!

It does.

And you, my dear, have a keen eye for detail, and a good memory. :notworthy:

Thanks for pointing me to the passages.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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