The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

by Dashiell Hammett

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:52 am

How about the supporting female characters, Dorthy, Julia, Mrs. Wynant, others?
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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby Buster » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:32 am

Ditzes, one and all. (Sorry it just slipped out. I didn't really mean it...)

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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:37 pm

Buster wrote:Ditzes, one and all. (Sorry it just slipped out. I didn't really mean it...)

:biglaugh:

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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:54 pm

Good one, Buster! :lol: Although I didn't expect Julia to be such a schemer! Thining about it they were actually all quite devious and manipulative.
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 #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:53 pm

I didn't much care for the Wynants as a family, and ditz does them well as a descriptor -- the old apple doesn't fall far from the tree rule certainly applies here. Some of the other female characters were more interesting. Hammett does this vignette thing, like a quick sketch of a person and not all the women were overtly dumb. Take for instance big red-haired Miriam, the flying fry pan lady and straight talking sassy broad. I loved her "balls!" Then there's Leda who's called Tip by her husband: "she was very small and her hair, eyes, and skin, though naturally of different shades, were all muddy. She seldom sat -- she perched on things -- and liked to c**k her head a little to one side." Both very unique women, sharp portraits, but they only linger a second and seem to vanish back into the fabric of the story. I also liked the description of Julia Wolfe (aka Nancy Kane and Rhoda Stewart) that Hammett has Morelli lay out in Chapter 22. You can't help but see Morelli teaching his Nancy how to empty out pay phones. Spirited pair at the bottom of society bound for nothing but trouble. I felt for her. She finally found her guy, even if he was still in jail, and then she gets rubbed out by Macaulay.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby Liz » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:06 pm

I have to agree with the ditsy label for most. They were either that or manipulative. As Firefly pointed out, Nunheim's girlfriend was probably the best of the bunch. She had spunk. Who really knows about Julia? But none of them were all that impressive to me. Maybe the purpose was to be a sharp contrast with Nora. Nora was great IMHO. I despised Mimi. I felt sorry for Dorothy.
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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:37 pm

Well said all! :ok:
I think it was deliberate, Liz. I think Hammett wanted to show the shallowness of the wealthy and societal types. Always thinking of themselves, but not the more important matters.

I think that he made a deliberate decision to make Nora stand out as a brilliant, self-sufficient, yet wealthy woman. She was able to follow the suspects, the crimes, the situation and saw everyone as they really were. Perhaps that's he saw Lillian Hellman....privileged, yet different from the rest. Someone he could respect and admire.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby ladylinn » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:12 am

Wow! Well said Buster - couldn't agree more. Nora was so much above all of the rest of the women in story. But of course - she was our hero's wife. As for trying to show how shallow and spoiled high society women were - we must remember that Nora was wealthy and a society figure too. Must have been the crowd they were hanging with. :biggrin:

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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:26 am

Hi. I agree both of you Liz and Snoopy I do think Hammett wanted the reader to see how Nora stood out from the other women and how women from low and high society differed from each other.

In the case, of Big Red (Miriam) and Julia, you can see that both of them developed their character probably due to their circumstances. We know more that Julia came from a rough background and with Morelli's tutelage learned to fend for herself. Miriam on the other hand, I imagine had gotten a few hard knocks too and she learned not to be a chump especially were men are concerned; but she also knew how to take care of herself and I get the feeling she was loyal.

The high society ladies, with exception of Nora and Dorothy (who didn't know how to take care of herself), took care of themselves by manipulating men. I have to say though that Harrison Quinn's wife, while also manipulative, I believe she still loved her husband even if she didn't want to admit it.

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Re: The Thin Man Question #7 ~ The Women

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:05 pm

Miriam gets my favorite line in the book: "I don't like crooks, and even if I did, I wouldn't like crooks that are stool pigeons, and if I liked crooks that are stool pigeons, I still wouldn't like you." :harhar:


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