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ERIC Number: ED380810
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Headshrinker, Gay Cop, Culture Thief: New Male Roles in Tony Hillerman and Jonathan Kellerman.
Gibson, Dick
In the area of male sex roles, the mystery novel is far ahead of society in general and thus presents the academic with a wealth of new male role models that demand inclusion in the postmodern canon. For a class at Jacksonville University ("Contemporary Detective Fiction") the classical male detective of "The Big Sleep" or "The Maltese Falcon" is first presented to students. The classical American detective character is rough, uncultured, even violent; he chain smokes, and contemporary social workers would call him an alcoholic. His sexual contacts are brief liaisons. Throughout he remains shrewd, calculating, objective and terminally cynical about the subject of women, and indeed, about everything. In extreme contrast, the postmodern male detective presented later in the course is an untrained amateur, who is often sensitive, caring, insightful, and socially aware. Two obvious examples of these trends may be found in the work of Tony Hillerman and Jonathan Kellerman. Their detectives are a caring, introspective child psychiatrist, a gay cop, and a Navajo police officer who is studying to be a shaman. Kellerman's Alex Delaware, for instance, is sensitive, socially involved, loving and passionate about his patients and family members and cynical only about the "bad guys." In fact, he has an enormous depth of sympathy for humanity and its problems. Similarly, at least part of the popularity of Hillerman's novels resides in their interesting, multidimensional portrayal of Hopi and the Navajo culture and characters as they conflict and complement each other. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A