Exposing Masculinities : Reframing the Hardboiled Detective in Lehane’s Shutter Island

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för konst, kultur och kommunikation (K3)

Abstract: This literary study examines the relationship between the hardboiled detective and the 2003 detective novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Known for his thought provoking stories as a crime novelist, Lehane exemplifies the desire of a current literary shift from stoic patriarchal constructs of detective archetypes towards a more feminist perspective. This thesis focuses on how Shutter Island reflects on the restrictive attributes of the hardboiled detective whilst illuminating a realist depiction of male vulnerability.              The theoretical background of this research is derived from existing feminist literary theories that observe patterns of the hardboiled detective in relation to crime literature from the 20th century to the modern day. This paper applies feminist literary theory to illustrate how traditional themes within this type of literature have shifted in favor of the emerging contemporary detective depicted in feminist crime fiction. 

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