Ambiguity of a Woman Trickster in Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress



Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Crime Fiction, Femininities and Masculinities : Proceedings of the Eighth Captivating Criminality Conference
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web University of Bamberg
Keywords interpretation; hard-boiled fiction; Walter Mosley; Devil in a Blue Dress; trickster; feminist literary discourse
Description Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress (1990) revises the traditional hard-boiled genre according to a societal system based on racial inequity in the United States. African American hard-boiled authors present African American communities amid a continuous sociocultural and political divide underscored by systemic racism perpetuated by institutional powers. Resulting in Du Boisian double consciousness and internalization, the narrative comments on these internal and external behavioral factors as it follows Daphne Monet, a passing femme fatale. This chapter casts Daphne in the role of a woman trickster, a rare sight in patriarchal mythologies, and comments on the African American hard-boiled decision of writing back to African folklore and African American ancestral heritage dating back to times of enslavement of African peoples in the Americas. The essay implements Umberto Eco’s theory of interpretation to emphasize various roles of and the relationship between the sender and receiver of a literary text and discusses the woman trickster’s adapted qualities to fit the twentieth-century hard-boiled narrative.
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