I used this method of blogging once before, and I was really pleased at how simple it made describing some of the key points we had talked about in class. So I’m doing it again.
- This is a representation of the news article that was run after the death of Ellroy’s mother, who was murdered when he was ten. We talked in class about how that shaped his obsession with the Black Dahlia murder, and how this turning point in his life affected his future in writing. The fact that his life was shaped by a murder explains a lot about his life choices and the type of person Ellroy was.
- This bullet is dedicated to a theme that has been seen in almost every single one of the books that we’ve read so far; Moral Ambiguity. We talked about the Zoot Suit riots during class, and how it was the “good guys” who were the ones attacking the underdogs. We saw this in Red Harvest, with the Continental Op, who is presented as the ‘good guy’ but then ends up killing quite a few people. Ellroy addresses this theme right up front, in one of my favorite lines of the book; “I was terrified because the good guys were really the bad guys,” (page 5).
- This was a small side comment that Jim Groom made during class, but I thought it was kind of a cool point. These four books make up what is called the “LA Quartet”. In case you’re curious (I was), The Big Nowhere takes place in in the early 50s, amidst the Red Scare, which was essentially a big communist freak out. “La Confidential” spans about eight years, and involves heroin, Bloody Christmas, the Nite Owl massacre, and prisoners. Finally, “White Jazz” tells the story of corrupt LAPD officer Dave Klein. They all seem pretty hardboiled, and if you enjoyed the Black Dahlia, I’d suggest checking the other three out.