Looking Through the Promise of Company

As human beings we seek out company and being accepted into a crowd, but by continuing with the same mob mentality nothing would ever get done. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a prime example of how individuality is liberating and eye opening, showing that by taking a step outside of what’s understood so that you can understand why it is. Lisbeth Salander is a character who, considered by the masses, does not fit in. By viewing her through the lens of societal norms, she by no means is a person who “fits in”. In addition, Blomkvist also is another character in the novel who is tossed out of the “in” and now is out on his own, investigating a strange case. Blomkvist was a character who stood with the crowd, someone who used his skills to elevate himself to a high economical and work reputation. After his libel case however he is shamed and dropped to be with the outcasts of society. At a first glance, these two characters stand completely against the notion of humanity seeking company.

Blomkvist and Salander interestingly enough do not meet up with one another until roughly halfway through the novel, meeting with an awkward situation for her. Funny enough, while these two characters are individuals, they meet and create a micro-society, called a relationship. Even with all their ostracizing characteristics (tattoos, strange romantic relationship habits, tarnished reputation) they find one another and actually pair up nicely to make a good team.

These societies though are not necessarily the answer. While Mankind greatly looks to one another for comfort and aid, these bonds can quickly become terrible influences on one another. The Vanger family is a perfect example of this. Isolated on their own little island, the Vanger family has fermented into a corrupt and gross shackle that bears down on all the members of the family as well as those around it. It is by viewing Salander and Blomkvist against the Vanger family that truly draws the conclusion of this book in regard to relationships. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows that while relationships are what we as people seek: comfort, understanding, sharing of ideals; but these things can go sour if people as the individual does not match up.


On the Outside looking In

In the pilot episode of Veronica Mars first season we are introduced to a character who is on the outside of the social hierarchy in high school. Due to her lack of mother, disgraced father, and her rape case that was not investigated, Veronica is set apart from everyone else and therefore cannot relate to them. It is this characteristic that makes her a good detective. In order to be a good observer you must be able to view situations just at face value, without any inhibitions of potential suspects or evidence. In “Rear Window” James Stewart’s character Jefferies is physically removed from all the events that occurred throughout the movie. He is given a vantage point, literally, and therefore is allowed to be able to make unbiased, clear observations. Another example of this is Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon”. Spade is a man removed emotionally from the women and people in his life. By being emotionally an outcast from the group of people involved in the case. It is this advantage that he has over people, making him a good detective. Finally the last example is Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler in both the television adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia”, named “A Scandal in Belgravia”. Sherlock Holmes is an outcast intellectually, always being a step above everyone else, even if it seems unreasonable to his partners at that time, but it is Irene Adler who is in the best place of speculation. Her sexual dominance over Sherlock, displayed by her ability to distract him, makes her able to have no distractions from what shes doing; a place of high power. While Sherlock is the detective, he is conned by his own job’s best technique. Using all of these examples as proof of other fictional detectives, Veronica Mars is a detective, and is a good one, because of the fact that she is a social and emotional outcast who is able to create any conclusions about the situations at hand due to the benefit of observing at face value. Looking on the outside in on a situation is far more analytic than the alternative. Veronica Mars is a good detective because, like the other detectives, cannot, and should not, be involved in society.


Women’s Power Over Men

I think that one different and interesting revision of Conan Doyle’s story is the one scene in which Irene Adler appears to Sherlock naked. In the original this does not happen, but in the BBC modernized version she first meets with Sherlock not wearing a single article of clothing except heels.  Irene’s appearance shocks Sherlock so much that he is thrown off his normal mental balance and cannot get a read on her, much unlike his experiences with mostly everyone else. Her nude appearance to Sherlock is her one “ace in the hole” that she has over him and essentially any other man. Irene bests Sherlock’s genius without some elaborate plan, but by simply exposing herself, naked of any intricate maneuvers, only showing herself. She firmly knows that as an attractive woman she can out do any of his best laid plans simply by playing into his natural and primal desires that all men share. This is what leads me to my claim, Conan Doyle’s original story was about how a woman is Sherlock’s equal, the TV adaptation is a story of how a woman is in control of a man. Just like at the end of “The Rear Window”, Grace Kelly’s character puts down the book that Jame’s Stewart’s character thinks she’s reading, and substitutes it for the one that she actually wants. In general women tend to take the less aggressive approach towards situations and confide in their generally more passive place in relationships; the misunderstood role of women’s gender. This however does not mean that they are less in charge, in fact it means quite the opposite. By sitting back and allowing the more aggressive and more outward going men to run about solving things (Sherlock), women are able to approach with a more laissez-faire angle and view the situations until they can draw rational conclusions about accomplishing their goals. In the case of the “Sherlock” episode, Irene uses her sexuality to shock  Sherlock on his heels, play into his less intellectual side and more into his primal one, causing the disruption of his thinking process. Irene accepts her “gender-role” and uses objectification of herself as a distraction for Sherlock, and it works. The BBC version of Sherlock Holmes displays in this episode that women will always be able to manipulate men due to their more passive and thought-before-action approach, and in this case, with their sexual appeal.

“I’ll be damned.” Then he laughed in his throat and said: “Alright. God ahead. I won’t stop you.”

On page 51 in The Maltese Falcon Sam Spades character is thrown a curve ball. Cairo’s pointing the gun at him changes the perspective completely in the book. Earlier, in my other essay, I focused on the “devilish” character that Sam portrays, but at this point in the book everything has been turned around on him. The control is no longer his to command, which is a big deal to him. Cairo points the gun at him and he responds, “I’ll be damned”. This is the main quote I am going to focus on. Samuel Spade is a private investigator, he is alwasy used to being in control of situations. When Joel Cairo pulls a gun on him the whole situation becomes out of Sam’s hands. Why I’m focusing on this is because throughout the novel Sam has been made out to be a very controlling character, always on top of each situation. With this extreme case going on, Sam has become part of a world he isn’t necessarily used to. The significance of this quote is that Sam is confronted with the possibility of extreme danger. In the bigger picture Sam has never faced a situation where he is not in control. Sam is a person of searching, he is used to the ability to look at things in his own way. With this however, already in a case out of his hands, he is faced with the challenge of letting someone else be in control of what’s happening. Sam has been working on a case that has exposed his personal side, whether it be having an affair, or whatever, Sam is thrust into a situation where his professionalism can no longer help him. In cases of extreme danger the true personality of someone comes out. Scary, spontaneous action cannot be planned for, so Sam’s true side really does come out. Sam is a character who tries to hide his physical, and human, desires underneath his facade of calm professionalism, but having affairs says otherwise. I think that his internal struggle is actually the main issue throughout the novel, making the question does the job make the man, or does the man really make the job.