Violence as a source of power

Violence is a recurring event throughout The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This is whether it has to do with Blomkivist being kidnapped or some type of sexual torture as retaliation. The first violent act shown sexually is the scene where Advokat Bjurman rapes Salander. In this scene she enters the room feeling like she knows something is bound to happen but she does not feel that it will enter these extremes. As she enters the room she feels as if she has the power but is strongly mistaken when she realizes the consequences of entering alone. Bjurman leaves Salandar with scars that she can never recover from both physically as well as emotionally. He feels a sense of power over her in this state, until she comes up with a plan. In this plan she uses a weapon, a tazer, to gain control of the situation, leaving marks on his body. Then Salander continues to carve into his body using a needle. Throughout this book, violence is used as a source of power. It gives each of these characters a sense of leadership and it is a constant battle of who is in charge.


Another situation where violence is used as a control of power is during the series of murders committed by Martin Vanger. During these murders, Martin tortures and kills his victims in order to gain a sense of pleasure. He picks his victims based off who he thinks will not be recognized as missing, the victims of society. He feels control of his victims and even says he “feels like god” by having their life in his hands. He gets to control if they live or die and he craves this power over society. Martin is the definition of a sadist. He is the head of a company yet continuously is in desperate need of power.


The Vanger family also shows a craving for control by the fact of selling distributions of the company and wanting to gain the biggest portion. When Henrick Vanger retires he no longer focuses on his company that gave him so much power but focuses on the disappearance of Harriet. This is the first time that anyone in the Vanger family is willing to give up power for someone else in the family. He then passes his share of the family wealth down to Martin to take over.


Cecilla’s husband abuses her, showing that in this book, men are considered superior to women. Also men are the main abusers and women are not treated with respect. Blomkvist throughout the book can choose his women at his call. When meeting Cecilla, she initiates the relationship and starts off in power, but soon falls for him letting down her wall that was up. This gives Blomkvist power over her, which she does not like because of her past abuses. This puts her at a sense of vulnerability and unstableness.


The role of violence and power in this book are interchangeable. While one person has all of the power, they can lose it at the blink of the eye. Not only has violence become a common trend in the book, but it shows an example of how there is no peace in their society. Everyone is against each other rather than trusting and working together. The idea of power consumes all of the characters.

The War of the Tug

The War of the Tug

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears to be the usual detective novel with several characters working towards the ultimate goal of justice, but is revealed to truly be a power struggle between the main characters for some other unrelated purpose. With the Vanger Corporation under control of a secretly evil man, a magazine under fire due to a journalist’s mistake, and a young delinquent hacker, there are plenty of opportunities to take charge and get something out of such a baffling situation, however, each character at some point becomes an obstacle to success.

For Martin Vanger, the new CEO of Vanger Corporations, power is not only key but a sick addiction (dun, dun, dunnn). Behind the scenes, Martin has followed in his father’s footsteps, kidnapping, raping, and murdering unsuspecting victims all while attempting to form the company in his vision as well as Blomkvist’s magazine, Millenium. With Mikael’s business connection with the Vanger Corp., Martin sees an opportunity to use this leverage to his advantage. As Mikael makes further progress into the case, Martin has no choice but to dissuade him to continue his search for the truth through the magazine and its need for Mikael.

Mikael Blomkvist had no desire to take Henrik Vanger’s offer of the Harriet case, all until proof of Wennerstrom’s corruption was on the table. As a guilty journalist of libel, Mikael had no choice but to hide, however he takes the initiative to gain information that could clear his name along with obtaining a nice chunk of change. During his investigation, Mikael is approached time after time from fellow employees and personal friends about dropping such a ridiculous job. Yet, Mikael persist and takes control of his own fate, which in turn could save his magazine.

As a young woman, deemed mentally unstable by the government, Lisbeth Salander relies on no one to get what she wants. After being hired by the unexpected Mikael Blomkvist, she embarks on a personal mission of curiosity and information. After being told that her original assignment was complete, Lisbeth was overwhelmed with the urge to continue the job, so much so that she would accept no pay. Along with this, she is able to stroll into Blomkvist’s room and casually inform him of the desire for sex. Using her skill and sexuality, Salander stays on the job on her own accord.

From different perspectives, comes different goals, but all come from the desire to control their own lives or others. On a small secluded island, there is more than enough personal interest to go around.

More than Ink

One may never understand the reason Stieg Larsson, decided to include the tattoo part to the title of the book. Whats the significance of a tattoo? Whats so important about it? Ink embedded in someones skin normally wouldn’t come to any questioning to a person unless it was a strange and a not normal tattoo of course. The ones who usually get tattoos usually get them because 1. they have been waiting years to get them and now are finally legal too ( young teenagers) 2. they want to be cool, or think its a cool idea or another reason which is more common, 3. a purpose or a certain reason to get one. Tattoos through the book are not brought up very much and this is where a reader could miss the importance of a simple tattoo in this book.

Although a tattoo can come in different sizes, the importance of tattoos in this book cant be adjusted because it is just so big. If one were to focus on Lisbeth and her journey throughout the book, they would focus on the more important things rather than a tattoo initially. A tattoo is just a personal statement so another person wouldn’t really care about it because its not on them or it doesn’t have to do with them. Lisbeth and her tattoos are probably the most over looked in the book, even though the title has the word tattoo in it. In the book, what people may not recognize is that the tattoos indicate both non conformity and a persons assertion of power over the body. Tattoos indicate both nonconformity and the individual’s assertion of power over the body

Lisbeth is important to close read because here tattoos mark her immediately as an unorthodox figure and always draw the attention of others. While in contrast they mark her as a nonconformist as well. They addition to drawing the attention of others, they indicate her control over her own body and her fierce self-possession. A part of the book which shows the importance of the tattoo is after she gets raped by Bjurman. After she is raped she immediately goes and gets a slim band around her ankle. This act functions as an assertion of her control over her own body. In another scene, Bjurman gets a tattoo from Lisbeth. The tattoo that she gives Bjurman indicated her control over this time, his body. It signifies her newfound power over him this time, “ If you ever touch me again I will kill you. And that’s a promise…“ You’re going to get a present from me so you’ll always remember our agreement”.(Page 209)  This is an important quote because it is right before she starts to embed “ I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST” above his gentiles. Consequently, Bjurman too becomes marked as a social outsider, since the tattoo and the nature of the words essentially cut him off from social interactions and reminds him consistently of Lisbeth’s power over him.

A small but yet extremely important detail to the book and to Lisbeth’s role throughout the story, it symbolizes both corruption and self empowerment. Due to events that Lisbeth goes through, she decides to get tattoos to signify the pain and the newly self empowerment she gains from them.

Who’s in Control?

Control is one of the most essential and obvious elements of the plot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Although it appears that the characters are working together to solve the mystery of Harriet Vanger’s disappearance, each person involved is looking for something centered around the case that will benefit them as an individual.

Henrik Vanger, after retiring from being the head of the Vanger Corporation, put his remaining efforts into the mystery of his niece’s disappearance. By first being in charge of the family corporation and then heading the search for Harriet, Henrik Vanger has always been in control of his own life and decisions. When he hires Blomkvist, it is because Vanger recognizes that he needs assistance with the case due to the fact that a new lead had not been uncovered in a few years. Even though he makes the decision to enlist in help, Vanger is still in charge because he is the one who makes the final decision on who is hired and who he trusts. But, when Henrik gets sick and ends up in the hospital, he does lose his control of the situation. He cannot work on the case, cannot speak to Blomkvist, cannot supervise the work that was his for years. Vanger’s interest in the case is the purest and he is merely looking for the answer to his question so he can finally have the peace of mind he lost so many years ago.

Mikael Blomkvist has also always been in control: his job, his affairs, his daily routine, etc. After he is sued for libel, Blomkvist loses one section of aspects he can control because he feels he cannot continue working for Millennium. When Vanger offers him the position to write up the family history and attempt to solve a murder while doing so, Blomkvist takes the position. Yet, Blomkvist did not take the position to be helpful or because he believed he could honestly uncover the murderer, but rather because he wanted to leave town temporarily to avoid bad press along with everything else related to the lawsuit and the job provided him with another place to reside. Additionally, the job involved being paid a large sum of money, which he would not be making while refusing to write for Millennium.

When Salander joins the team of men working on the case, it is her decision to do so. She  initially lost control when Mikael burst into her apartment to discuss her methods of gathering information, but regained control when she decided to work for Mikael and Vanger. When she had finished the piece of research she had been hired to do, she made the choice to continue working on the case because it intrigued her. Simultaneously, it is revealed that Blomkvist intrigues her when she barges into his bedroom and offers to sleep with him. Salander’s character does not like to be taken control of and will, whenever possible, only place herself in positions where she is the one in control. Salander’s reason for taking the case was firstly because it intrigued her and she would be paid for it, but secondly because she took an interest in Blomkvist when she studied him for Frode.

Martin Vanger, although not immediately involved in the case, displays his need for dominance multiple times throughout the book. Along with being the CEO of Vanger Corporation, Martin takes on a position on the Millennium board, affording him power in both businesses, and even through physical violence. Martin rifled through Blomkvist’s cabin, chased him with a rifle, left a destroyed cat on the doorstep, and chained Blomkvist inside the torture chamber he frequently uses to torture women he deems uncared about by society. Even when he is being pursued by Salander in his car, Martin controls the way he dies by driving headfirst into an oncoming car. Martin Vanger’s entire life was centered around being the man in control and exerting that control over as many subjects as possible.

Within The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, each character is constantly pursuing dominance, turning the initial belief in working together in search of an answer into a competition to see who can secure the most control.

Isolated Teen or Idiosyncratic Detective?

Throughout the pilot episode of the Veronica Mars series, Veronica is portrayed as an extremely unique and strong person. Despite all of her obstacles and what she has over come, her major talent, and passion, is detective work. Due to her love for detective work, the ability to see new and interesting actions is vital. Veronica Mars’ isolation amongst her peers forces her to have a third-party view, much like the viewer, on the formulaic system of the social ranking within her school. This isolated perspective sheds light on the subtle details regarding the importance of socio-economic standings and race.
This idea of the third party perspective connects Veronica’s isolated perspective, her previous perspective and the viewer’s position. Since the segment is shown from Veronica’s viewpoint, the observer is expected to make similar inferences and try and see things as she sees them.
Veronica’s first and second perspective on her high school’s system is very interesting due to the fact that she herself was once a part of the system. Her father’s high position in the police station gave her that “in” with the popular crowd allowing her to have the privilege to breeze by socially in high school. Once her father was stripped of his position, she lost her socio-economic status and lost her privilege to be a part of the “in-group.” This loss of social respect forces Veronica to acquire a new outlook on her school. She begins to see how divided, exclusive, and tormenting her classmates truly were. Veronica describes her peer as a “jackass” despite the fact that they used to be friends. She sees the amount of corruptions that occurs when a new student comes to school or when a group doesn’t live up to their social or economic standings.
The third section of the third party view comes into play when discussing the racial tension within the Veronica Mars series. There are distinct differences between the acceptance of social groups: the popular students, the tough students, and the outlier. The popular students are all Caucasian and extremely wealthy, whereas the tough students and the outlier are of minority ethnicities. Veronica Mars is the only Caucasian who comes from a socially acceptable family, that we see, who is an outlier.
Mars’ different interpretations of the social standings within her school allows for a larger outlook on the amount of corruption and significance placed on status. These three separate perspectives allow for the viewer to not only see what is shown on the screen, but what Veronica would be thinking about while making her deductions. It allows for us to tap into Veronica’s emotional actions along with her professional actions.







Spade’s Identity Crisis

“Spade stood up, thrust his hands into the pockets of his jacket, and scowled at her. “This is hopeless,” he said savagely, “I can’t do anything for  you. I don’t know what you want done. I don’t even know if you know what you want.” She hung her head and wept. He made a growling animal noise in his throat and went to the table for his hat…..Spade made the growling animal noise in his throat again and sat down on the setee.”(Hammett, 39)

Sam Spade struggles with being in control of his masculinity and how his masculinity controls his identity. Hammett shows Spade’s struggle of masculinity and identity through changing the description of Sam’s “body like a bear”(12) to “grinned wolfishly”(48). A large bear is more powerful and forceful compared to a much smaller vocal canine animal such as a wolf. Hammett continues to describe Spade making a “growling animal noise”(39) or “grin[ing] wolfishly”(70). Sam’s animalistic persona makes an appearance when there is a question of control such as helping Brigid or fighting Cairo. While Sam Spade attempts to be composed, the imagery of a savage animal suggests that Sam Spade is losing with the power over his own identity. A wild animal cannot make thoughtful decisions and instead bases its actions on instinct, just as Sam seems to be doing.

Sam’s identity crisis is due to his addiction to women. The more Sam interacts with Brigid O’ Shaughnessy and other women, the greater Sam’s internal struggle becomes. Sam downfall begins when he has sex with a miscellaneous woman: following their intimate encounter, Spade’s body  “was like a shaved bear’s”(12). His loss of identity continues with Brigid.  Because Brigid is a woman, Sam views her as inferior. When he cannot help he feels “hopeless [and] he said savagely. ‘I can’t do anything for you”(39). Sam fumbles with the idea that a woman is in control. Brigid causes Sam to question his own identity by being mysterious, vague and upholding a masculine costume of “incredibly wicked, and an iron-molder by trade”(55). An iron-molder is intended to be a labor-intensive job for men. This imagery also implies Brigid has the ability to mold to the type of personality needed to obtain her needs, almost like magic of a “wicked” witch. The true mystery Hammet creates is Spade addiction to women that lead him to his demise.

Suck It And See – A Maltese Falcon Reaction Paper

“Spade’s thick fingers made a cigarette with deliberate care, sifting a measured quantity of tan flakes down into curved paper, spreading the flakes so that they lay equal at the ends with a slight depression in the middle, thumbs rolling the paper’s inner edge down and up under the outer edge as forefingers pressed it over, thumbs and fingers sliding to the paper cylinder’s ends to hold it even while tongue licked the flap, left forefinger and thumb pinching their end while right forefinger and thumb smoothed the damp seam, right forefinger and thumb twisting their end and lifting the other to Spade’s mouth. He picked up the pigskin and nickel lighter that had fallen to the floor, manipulated it and with the cigarette burning in a corner of his mouth stood up.” – The Maltese Falcon, pages 11 – 12

“Spade’s thick fingers made a cigarette with deliberate care…” is the first line of a paragraph that elevates Sam Spade’s simple task of rolling his cigarette into something that’s descriptive enough to almost be sexual in nature. Removing elements of the sentence show how Hammett’s details create an erotic image of Spade’s cigarette. The sentences, “Spade’s thick fingers… with deliberate care” and “thumbs rolling the… inner edge down and up under the outer edge as forefingers pressed it over” can be created simply by removing references to the cigarette.

This point is important though because it shows Sam in a position of power. Sam Spade is in control, he is the one rolling the cigarette, he is the one “spreading the flakes so that they lay equal at the ends”. It pushes the idea of masculinity that Hammett pins on Spade and seemingly continues with Hammett’s earlier description of Spade being almost the stereotypical image of masculinity. He’s described as long and bony and v shaped in a number of capacities in the first paragraph of the novel and in the cigarette paragraph, that image is shown in a different way.

As he goes through the motions of rolling his cigarette, he does it with practiced ease, with precision, most likely through experience of rolling them rather often. In the first chapter, we’re shown that he smokes a great deal, “On Spade’s desk a limp cigarette smoldered in a brass tray filled with the remains of limp cigarettes.” We can see bits of his personality come into play in this routine, bits of said masculinity that Hammett carefully characterizes him with. He is calculating and precise, he likes things equal, but only if it benefits him.

We can see his calculating, precise nature in how closely he pays attention to the flakes laying equal at the ends. How he carefully measures said flakes. But Sam’s selfish nature is also illustrated at the end of the passage, as the entire process of creating the cigarette, all his effort and time and patience, was all for his own benefit and enjoyment.

Spade’s lighter even has parallels to his character. Made of nickel and pigskin, the nickel would make it hard and cold. The leather, is a warmer feeling to hold suggesting that Spade isn’t completely without feeling, but it isn’t a soft material either. The leather is tough, strong and still with the capacity to be cold (as anyone with leather seats in a car can attest too). Spade picking the lighter off the floor that represents himself is also another aspect of this, suggesting that Spade is a man who will pull himself out of trouble. He doesn’t want help and will pick himself up and light the cigarette he rolled himself, by himself. All these aspects add to Hammett’s image of Spade being the image of masculinity, even if some aspects of this image are rather harsh.

The passage ends with the image of who Hammett wants us to imagine Spade to be. The iconic image of a man, perhaps a bit of a badass, with the cigarette he rolled himself “burning in a corner of his mouth”.

The Maltese Falcon: Reaction Post

Page 68: “Exactly what,” Cairo asked in a low voice, “happened to Floyd?” The tip of Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s right forefinger traced a swift G in the air . . . “It might make a world of difference,” he said, and rearranged his hands in his lap so that, intentionally or not, a blunt forefinger point at Spade.


This passage takes place in Spade’s office between Cairo, Brigid, and Spade. They are all communicating and speculating over Miles Archer’s death when the comments above are made. While reading, the first thing I noticed was the repetition of the use of the forefinger and pointing. Each character points and suggests blame for Thursby’s death. Curiously, one character is understood as “good” and one as “bad” and one of the suspects is known and one is not. The contrast that is implied is interesting because it forces the reader to reconsider his or her present views and opinions on Spade and Brigid. Some would agree that Sam Spade is perfectly capable of murder and others might question Bridgid and her alliances. She has already lied about her identity and concealed her involvement with the Maltese Falcon. Perhaps she has gained knowledge of “G” through a past relationship or business partnership.

Naturally, the next thing to wonder is who is “G”? This section of the passage leads me to believe that Brigid may be trying to swindle Sam Spade. Brigid first met Sam as Wonderly, who was trying desperately to find Floyd Thursby. She made him sound dangerous. Now, in this passage, Brigid is showing that she had a relationship with Thursby, and may know of his enemies or other close relationships by insinuating that she knows valuable information about his murder.

Cairo also plays a fascinating role throughout the conversation because not only does he understand Brigid’s reference, he also questions Sam’s innocence in the murder of Thursby. After reading the passage, I think that Brigid and Cairo might be allies; both of them want to find the bird and both have connections to Thursby. However, I think Sam Spade is oblivious to the relationship at this point and all communication between Brigid and Cairo is discrete like the finger pointing at Spade.

The body language in the text is extremely important. Not only is it discrete, it also forces the reader to form an opinion. The text refers to Cairo’s pointing as “intentional or not”. At this point, the reader has to agree or disagree with these assumptions. It also makes you wonder if “G” is an ally or business partner to Spade; someone that Brigid and Cairo don’t want to reveal their alliance to and therefore communicate with body language. Furthermore, I think that although the reader seems to have a detailed description of Sam Spade’s character, Cairo saying, “It might make a world of difference,” seems to reveal that there is more to learn about Spade as the plot continues.

As the novel progresses I predict we will see Cairo and Brigid continue to get information from Sam and continue to play him in order to get what they want. Because Cairo was introduced as a gun-wielding criminal and Brigid has already portrayed several characters or acts, I think Cairo may take on more dangerous situations and do the “dirty work” while Brigid works on Spade and uses him for information and connections in the city.

Quote Analysis

“ (…) Cairo’s face jerked back not far enough: Spade’s right heel on the patent-leathered toes anchored the smaller man in the elbow’s path. The elbow struck him beneath the cheek-bone, staggering him so that he must have fallen had he not been held by Spade’s foot on his foot. Spade’s elbow went on past the astonished dark face and straightened when Spade’s hand struck down at the pistol. Cairo let the pistol go the instant that Spade’s fingers touched it. The pistol was small in Spade’s hand.” (Page 46, First Paragraph)


In this paragraph, “Spade” is repeated five times, “Cairo” is repeated twice, “elbow” is repeated three times, and “pistol” is repeated three times. The emphasis is put on Spade primarily because he is the protagonist in the story, but also because the reader is supposed to focus on the actions he is performing. “Cairo” is repeated twice, both occurring in a sentence describing the physical harm being done to him. The word “elbow” is repeated three times. The repetition accentuates that Spade is the character in control. It also speaks to Spade’s masculinity because to “defeat” the other man, he only had to use his elbow. He was not in need of a variety of techniques to knock Cairo out, but instead only needed the basic move of elbowing him. In addition, it only took Spade a few minutes. Finally, the word “pistol” is repeated three times because it is the object Spade is attempting to gain possession of through physical violence.

The first strand consists of “elbow,” “face,” “heel,” “toes,” “cheek-bone,” “foot,” “fingers,” and “hand.” The series of anatomical parts serves to make the fight more descriptive and allow the reader to clearly see which man is in charge. The second strand further emphasizes the dominance Spade possesses in the situation and compares the masculinity of the two men by employing words and phrases such as, “patent-leathered,” “the smaller man,” “must have fallen had he not been held,” “let the pistol go the instant Spade’s fingers touched it,” and “the pistol was small in Spade’s hands.” The combination of Cairo’s physical build, “smaller,” and his shoes, “patent-leathered,” both lead the reader to believe that Cairo is a feminine character. In general, men are larger and stronger and do not put much effort into their choice of footwear. Additionally, the phrase “must have fallen had he not been held” suggests that Joel Cairo cannot even keep himself upright while in a fight, turning the question of where the dominance lies again to Sam Spade. The second last sentence in the excerpt demonstrates that Cairo is unwilling to fight back, which jests at his masculinity. The final sentence describes the pistol as small in Spade’s hands, highlighting Cairo’s femininity once again because “normal” men do not have small hands.

This passage is not as much about the physical incident as it is the gender and sexual stereotypes that occurred when this book was written. Men were supposed to be manly, strong, and able to fight back when needed. Spade displays this stereotype by attacking Cairo to get the pistol. Cairo, on the other hand, is small and womanly, weak, and he proves that he is unable to defend himself, let alone fight back. The evidence in the text is found in the aforementioned second strand. The adjectives utilized to describe Spade were masculine whereas the adjectives applied to Cairo were feminine.

The passage has related to the novel so far by extracting specific information pertaining to stereotypes. It has accentuated the difference between Spade’s and Cairo’s characters and attempts to prove to the reader that Cairo is to be disapproved of, shown by his inability to “act like a man.” This is important because in “Film Noir,” much of the plot is based on gender stereotypes. By showing the audience that Spade is manly, the audience sees that he is able to solve the mystery and complete the case. His character can be trusted because by physically abusing the other man to obtain what he wants, it exhibits that he is capable.

FYS Further Investigations

Hey everyone, thought I would throw my Analysis in here today (I left it unedited to show how my original thought process went). Hope to see everyone else’s soon! Enjoy 🙂




Second Analysis: Further Investigations


“Cairo coughed a little apologetic cough and smiled nervously with lips that had lost some of their redness. His dark eyes were humid and bashful and very earnest. “I intend to search your offices. Mr. Spade. I warn you that if you attempt to prevent me I shall certainly shoot you.”


–Mr. Cairo, Pg. 45 2nd Paragraph


Within the noir genre, and more specifically The Maltese Falcon, there are heavy hints at what society (at the time) thinks of gender, sexuality, and masculinity. This passage is able to get the point across that the new character, Joel Cairo, is mainly feminine and fragile. Characteristics that represent a character as a man or a women are suddenly blurred together in a way that makes it hard to tell if Mr. Cairo were a man or women if the terms “his” or “him” were omitted entirely.


His persona is distinctly less firm or even confident when it comes to every action as compared to Mr. Spade. As a “man” that is holding another person at gunpoint he coughs apologetically and even smiles in an unsure manner. A man can’t be unsure in a time of pressure or potential combat or reveal some form of weakness like a smile. What kind of tough guy (more like punk) is this? Clearly Hammet doesn’t think he is at all, adding to it that he has bashful and earnest eyes that just bash their eyelashes at the detective. Whereas Spade’s yellow and firm gaze would likely punch the guy out cold then come up with a snarky remark about how he wants to blow the man’s brains out.


The underlying message behind these distinctions within this character is that (at the time) being homosexual, or potentially homosexual, was the exact opposite of being a man and possibly even worse than a women. Someone who doesn’t belong and is a disgrace to what they are trying to do in life, or in this case threaten a man at gunpoint (using a gun he likely hasn’t the foggiest how to use) and get what he wants. The entirety of the situation both in and out of the passage comes and hits Cairo harder than he can possibly comprehend, both physically and mentally, due to his frail and feminine demeanor.


What does this mean for the story overall? Well, if Spade wishes to succeed he must be a strong and confident man (which he more or less already is). This pattern of masculinity plays alongside the gender divide, now placing the separation of characters in a three way split, revealing that this story and other Noir stories like it rely on a man, a “real” man, a character that has to face attacks and deal with the obstacles of silly women and pathetic men.