The Shattering of the Illusion Discussion Question
Discussion Post I: Joshua Harris
The Shattering of the Illusion
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A common theme of Noir type stories is a gritty, hopeless worldview. There are not always right answers at the end, and the good guys can be fooled. So, what does that say about the world, where Noir stories can be non-fiction? The rise of Noir non-fiction in this time past the 1920s may have helped break the illusions of the great grand parties and lights the roaring twenties had convinced everyone of. After all, what better to smack people back down to earth from the hope and light than evil gone unchecked in one’s own home?
A good example of this reality check is the Pied Piper of Tucson. The people of that town were, after all, not as scared by Charles Howard Schmid Jr. and his murders, but “the revelations about Tucson itself that have followed on the killings” and how they now have to “view their city in a new and unpleasant light” (Moser 611). The idea that such horrible killings could happen in this quaint and peaceful little town, and that so many people could have possibly been aware and done nothing to stop it, is frightening to everyone who lived there. After all, who knew the rot of apathy was so deep? This was only one town too; for the Noir genre to be a genre, crimes and cases of this magnitude had to have happened many more times in many more places. Maybe this heightened awareness of the darkness in society, both on the high stratums and low stratums, and the failures to combat them perfectly helped assist the fall of the dream of American superiority, and the hopelessness that pervaded until the beginning of the second world war.
Moser, Don. True Crime. Edited by Harold Schechter, 14 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022, The Library of America, 2008.