Quote: 1 “The wind was making enough noise to make the hard quick rap of 22 ammunition sound like a slammed door, even if one heard it. I went back into the cocktail bar” (Chandler 3). The quote reflects the darker side of the society whose miseries made Coepernik immoral and alienated from society. His story portrays morally complicated paths. Red Wind used an anti- hero that does not present a murder in a small urban bar that took the reader to the period of `940s to 50s. Anti- the Hero, navigates the corrupt landscapes of depression era in Los- Angeles. Anti- hero concept reflects the darkest sites of human nature and through Raymond Chandler’s “Red Wind.” Red wind uses the concept of anti- hero to create the scariest character that best explains human psyche.
Quote: 2 “The war is a turning point to produce antiheroic protagonists in literature, and it has encouraged critical studies examining previous works regarding “anti-heroism” (Miller). The historical assessment of the literature depicts that authors used the genres of anti- heroes between mid- 1940s to 1970s. The history indicates that World War II played a significant role in the creation of anti- heroes. The American soldiers that survived in war faced metal complications later and influenced their personalities. The film industry finds traditional heroes unrelated to capture reality, so they created anti- heroes. The main factor that differentiates between the hero and anti- hero is morality.
The narrator highlights self- oriented traits promoted the culture of anti- hero. “However, a modern anti- heroism in the earlier twentieth century is a response to the uncertainties of people about traditional values; it is a response to the insignificance of human beings on modernity and their drab existence; it’s a feature of modernism and its zeitgeist” (Neimneh). The creation of anti- hero helped the authors and storytellers to capture the aspect of self- interest. People after depression developed self- oriented traits that resulted in their disengagement from societal wellness. Anti- heroes experienced the injustices that influenced them to take revenge. Imperfections and flaws of people after great depression made the iconic heroes less realistic. Anti- heroes replaced heroes to represent the imperfections, ambiguities, and faults of the human society.
Chandler develops corrupt cop to manipulate the wrong doings of anti- hero. The story possesses all qualities of anti- heroism and is bit dark. The anti- hero is a flawed hero that lacks qualities of a good hero. The concept of anti- hero emerged from the Greek theater that survived in the form of character archetype. The antagonistic was present in history and is not a modern character. Anti- Hero is opposite to hero and lacks moral values. A hero is a person who possesses all good qualities such as morality, fairness and is steadfast. However, the anti- hero lacks moral values and often becomes a reason for unpleasant happenings. The main difference between hero and anti- hero is the ability to choose right over wrong. He never inflicts pain on others and can choose actions that do not lead to the destruction of humanity. Anti- hero does not care about the consequences’ of his actions and choose any action without the difference between right and wrong. The moral flaws of the anti- hero include attributes that make him less right. The common flaws include alcoholism, violent temper, uncontrollable emotions, and infidelity.
The narrator uses dishonesty and alcoholism to reflect anti- heroism through Coepernik. “The cop yanked Waldo’s wallet out, went through it rapidly and whistled. “Plenty jack and no driver’s license.” He put the wallet away. “O.K., we didn’t touch him, see? Just a chance we could find did he have a car and put it on the air.” (Chandler 2). The quote reflects alcoholism explains it is one of the attributes of anti- heroism. The society that suffered the consequences’ of depression lacked the strength to control their emotions and relied on alcohol. The scene presents the character of a cop who appears as an anti- hero. Copernik is the corrupt cop that portrays the injustice and moral illness of the American culture. Copernik symbolizes the corruption, dirt, and destruction of the American culture.
Chandler conveys dark side of the sub- urban culture through creation of anti- hero. The reason to construct the anti- hero to perform certain tasks is the fact that good people cannot always end injustice. Actions have some consequences’ that can make a person look wrong. Abstract principles of justice do not operate in the real world and actions causes repercussions. The concept of anti- hero indicates that people have to choose sometimes violence that deviates them from the moral values (Chandler).
The narrator speaks about great Depression in America and Los Angeles influenced anti- heroism. Great depression gave birth to morally weak characters such as Travis Brickle, Jay Gatsby, and Michael Clore, Marlowe and through John Dalmas. The characters broke laws to take revenge. Through anti- heroes remains morally flawed but they also possess qualities and performed certain actions that reflect rightness of their character. Anti- heroes, emerged during the nineteenth century and flourished throughout the era.
The American authors of the nineteenth century created suspense genre and brought more anti- heroes to display the grizzled, hard drinking who walked the streets of mean urban America. The red wind portrays the degeneration of the urban American culture. The war and depression changed the lives of majority Americans. Urban America reflects selfishness and disturbed society. Heroes in urban America were unfit to represent the societal ills. The authors find the need to construct a character that represents the issues and complexities of the society. The changes in the society and depression changed the characters of people. In a complex and mean world the survival of a hero that only displays good qualities and include no moral illness was difficult. The perfect hero in selfish American world was not able to illustrate the reality. World War II resulted in a depression that made more people alcoholic. The heroes were morally perfect that lacked immoral practices such as drinking. Alcoholism was one of the essential traits of anti- heroes that represent the essence of realism.
Authors display depression and reality through anti- heroes. “After the atomic bomb exploded to end World War II, there was an upsurge of anti- heroes as main characters, as if to give voice to cynicism and angst of the post- nuclear war.” World War II spread fear and terror that resulted in cynicism and mental instability of many people. Anti- hero possessed traits of restlessness, short temper, and violence that best fulfills the condition of human beings after World War II. The existence of perfect role model in American society after World War II was not possible. The creation of an anti- heroes, helped Chandler and other authors to present the societal damages and transformations.
The anti- hero depicts many shades of dark and light that reflect more realism than the old depictions of heroism. “Instead of treating the dark side of human nature as inherently maladaptive, we provide an alternative view that, despite their costs, traits like these can confer reproductive and survival benefits for the individual” (Jonason, Webster and Schmitt). The world became so complex for the people that displayed morality and human values. The creation of anti- hero distinguishes between good and evil. Great depression followed World War II that resulted in the complexities of the world. The reality could not ignore the darker side of depression at Log Angeles, and Americans suffered the repercussions of depression. Depression spread evil and made good less important for the society.
People ignored the importance of good, and they find their survival was more important. Miseries and repercussions of great depression include loss of jobs and shelter. People encountered difficulties to adjust to new lives that resulted in their mental instability. The great depression resulted in moral corruptness of the society as people gave up on their moral values and did not believe on optimism. Depression at Log Angeles caused psychological influences on the people and resulted in changing behaviors. The lives of people before Great depression was simple and societal values were more effective. The choices and decisions of people linked to the differences between right and wrong.
Anti- heroism illustrates the weaknesses and imperfections that the males sympathize to survive in their urban wildness. “It’s the apartment of some horrible man who swears anything for a few dollars. Now you’re trying to scare me” (Chandler 8). The quote reflects the low morality of Marlowe. One of the most striking features that separate anti- the hero from traditional her was self- interest. The traditional hero engaged himself in actions that resulted in the best interest of humanity and the society. The period after depression made people more selfish, and their lust for power and money was one of the common elements.
Males that failed to take the role as effective heroes turned to anti- heroes. Anti- heroism reflects the failure of the American males to live according to the expectations of the society. The male that lacks qualities of a true hero and thinks they are incapable to live up to society’s expectations they become anti- heroes. They show a lack of tolerance and think they are powerful than females and possess all qualities that make them masculine. The weaknesses and imperfections of anti- heroes emerge from their interpretation of masculinity. Wrong happenings and societal illnesses encouraged them to take revenge for their miseries.
Anti- the hero, delivers delusion, bewilderment, and post- conventional beliefs about evil. The characteristics and roles played by heroes encourage male audiences towards moral values and societal correctness. Anti- heroes, on the other hand, delivers the negative aspects such as violence, moral corruptness, and cynicism. Anti- heroes, promote intolerance, anger, and short temperament. The anti- heroes’ display disturbed past and family issues that make male audiences sympathetic towards them. Anti- heroes caused notable damages to the society through the representation of the darker side of human beings. Anti- heroes, leads to a dystopian society that eliminates the moral correctness. The culture of anti- heroes displays societal ills and destructions that include murder, rage, fear and deeper misanthropy of a corrupt society. Hyper masculinity appeals the male audience, and they think more anger and intolerance makes them different. Anti- heroes’ plays destructive role in the society as they present criminals and killers as heroes that influence the young generation towards societal ills. The anti- hero character “Coepernik” represents the theme that he has his own rules and he can kill anyone who he thinks is wrong.
The anti- hero represents the complexity of modern life and has close relevance with the great depression. Moral ambiguity became one of the essential traits of the anti- heroes after the great depression and urbanization. The story lacks morality for the readers and persuades them towards restless. The past stories of anti- heroes depicts that they have a miserable past and justifies their immoral behaviors. The anti- heroes in many ways conveys inhumane voices and creates lucid reflections. Hyper masculinity appeals male audiences more. The characters display that they are mentally weak and transmits insecurities. Not all males can assess the defeats in the anti- heroes and they get inspiration. Though anti- Heroes are different from heroes, they possess some similar traits such as bravery and courage. The wind in the story reflects evilness and corruptness through the character of Coepernik.
Chandler, Raymond. Red Wind. Aerius, 2004.
Jonason, Peter K, et al. “The Antihero in Popular Culture: Life History Theory and the Dark Triad Personality Traits.” American Psychological Association, Vol 6, No 2 (2012).
Miller, D A. The Epic Hero. Baltimore: The J. Hopkins University Press, 2000.
Neimneh, Shadi. “The Anti-Hero in Modernist Fiction: From Irony to Cultural Renewal.” Mosaic, Vol. 46, No. 4 (2013).