Detective Fiction Analysis

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Undoubtedly, Poe shaped the genre of detective fiction - although he preferred to call them “tales of ratiocination” – with the introduction of Detective C. Auguste Dupin. Dupin was one of the first characters of his kind to use analytical and cognitive skills to solve unsolvable mysteries. The use of observation to make deductions necessary to crack the case became so influential, a new genre was born. However, I agree with Van Leer’s statement and find it noteworthy to mention that although Poe was the pioneer of this new genre, his own short stories involving Dupin do not entirely conform to our expectations of what is involved in the genre of detective fiction. To demonstrate how Poe’s short stories both comply with the general anticipations…show more content…
Usually, in detective fiction, all clues and evidence are presented as the detective uncovers them – this allows the reader to guess with the detective and attempt to solve the case themselves. However, as Dupin keeps information to himself, he prevents the reader from simultaneously attempting to solve the crime along. For example, in The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the hair of the Ourang-Outang found at the murder scene, was kept hidden from both the reader and the narrator. This makes it impossible for the reader to come to any conclusion near the truth. In my opinion, this, coupled with Poe’s unconventional endings, makes his detective fiction nonconformist to the…show more content…
Solutions are offered and mysteries are solved, yet the short stories lack any kind of law enforcement, in order to restore normality to the society. No punishment is enforced on those who committed the crimes, but rather they are explained and accepted. In the Introduction to Selected Tales, David Van Leer goes on to say “the tales’ solutions lack the moral dimension by which mysteries customarily celebrate the detective’s ability to right wrongs or restructure a disordered society.” I agree with this, as no moral closure is succumbed by the end of the investigations. For example, in the Purloined Letter, Dupin obtains the letter from Minister D, however no punishment is enforced on Minister D, despite the fact he stole the letter which was not his. Also, in the Murders in the Rue Morgue, although the sailor makes his confession and the murder is explained, there are no repercussions. This does not comply with the structure of traditional detective fiction, whereby justice is enforced and rectifies the chaos caused by the
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