I was having issues with my brother’s laptop (especially Microsoft which froze on me) while I was trying to upload my paper so I had to edit the rough draft post :/
U.S. Hardboiled detective
Research paper draft
December 14, 2012
For this paper, my topic will be on the characters of “Indemnity Only” by Sara Paretsky since I contributed mostly to that section. As I read the book and met new characters along the way I’ve come to meet characters like V. I. Warshawski, Ralph, Lotty, and other characters as the story went further in. I’ve noticed that not all the characters are the same and all have their own personality and provide diversity to the story and how feminism was invloved.
It was hard doing research on the characters since I could only rely on the book and only a few websites only mentioned Warshawski and some were opinion based. Though I had to go back in the book to recall a few characters for the article and reread a few chapters to get information on them, such as some of the supporting characters. Also, as I read the book to see if new characters had popped up, though I only paid attention to those who stood out and interacted with the main character more than once to be worth mentioning in the article. I also added a bit more information to the character’s description and role in the article, which meant having to go back in the book and rereading a few things. I think that it’s important to consider the importance of the characters and how they add to the story and how they make it more interesting.
A few other characters appeared in the book really diversify the story since during that time period, the U.S., not just Chicago were really starting to become a melting pot of people from all over the world. One character as such is Lotty Herschel, Warshawski’s doctor and friend, who is a 50 year old Viennese woman who helps Warshawski when she needs assistance with her wounds she receives by Earl Smeissen and his goons,watches over Jill for a while when Warshawski is out, and also give her opinion on most things though she doesn’t pressure Warshawski into giving up. These are just the few characters that I’ve come across throughout the story and I think it’s important to know that these characters add to the melting pot of Chicago in the book and really make it stand out.
When I first met V.I. Warshawski, she came off as a strong and tough character until one of the characters made a remark and it turned out she was a woman. She was one of the well-developed characters because of her attitude, background, and she’s the main character in the story. Being the main character really brought out the best out of Warshawki and it really showed that men aren’t the only ones that can be tough and cunning. She was also one of the few female protagonists during that time period so it really made her stood out. She really shows that beginning era of women in professional careers that were seen as something that only men could do.
Paretsky has made Warshawski the one of a kind female detective and shows that a woman really can do a man;s job. In other female detective stories, the woman is mostly shown as someone who happens to stumble upon the case unlike Warshawski who makes it her living to solve cases. Paretsky really shows her side of feminism in Warshawski and also the side of those who don’t think a woman should be doing this line of work (which is mostly everybody in the story). She really shows that Warshawski is someone who can hold her own and is swift when it comes to quick thinking decisions in dangerous situations.
Another one of the characters that showed up a lot in the story was Ralph Delacruex, who works for Yardley Masters and is a relationship with Warshawski. He first appears when Warshawski is going through Peter Thayer’s office and in the end, decides to help her with her case. He seems to be somewhat a sidekick who goes and looks up things for Warshawski in the story but is more than that.He also seems to be the type that is on the sidelines and he also shows that he cares dearly for Warshawski’s safety because she is a woman who is doing a man’s job and prefer the cops to do the investigation.
Jill Thayer, the young daughter of John Thayer, is a character who you didn’t think will appear so much in the story but when she does, she becomes an important one and she helps Warshawski along the case. She seems to be a typical teenager who cares deeply for her now deceased brother, Peter but is willing to help bring down whoever killed him. She becomes one of the supporting characters but her role is more important than those in that same category, such she becomes Warshawski’s client after the death of her father.
These characters really add more spice to the plot and Warshawski really shows that women can be equal to men in the detective business. The fact that Paretsky made her main character seem more like a man but also shows that she still is a woman really breaks the stereotypical boundaries that were common in that era. It really shows the difference between Mildred Pierce and V.I. Warshawski and the big difference of working women during their time.