Hercule Poirot Confession

1660 Words7 Pages
CONFESSION AND SURVEILLANCE IN GOLDEN AGE "And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows.” The ubiquitous nature of ‘confession’ in today’s world is not merely restricted to the religious church practices, but also serves a significant part in literature. This includes various autobiographies, journals, confessional poetry, online blogs, television reality shows etc, in their popular use of the first person narrative. My paper intends to investigate the Golden Age Detective Fiction through the lens of confession by arguing that confessional practices are of paramount significance to the genre of crime fiction, and that detectives like Hercule Poirot are akin to pastor/priest figures,…show more content…
In Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault, one of the most influential ideological critic of crime fiction, observed that with the dissemination of the investigative process that ended punishments in the form of public spectacle involving torture and execution, led to the creation of a judicial ideology characterised by constant surveillance. Foucault’s pioneering study of the shift in 18th and 19th century law enforcement methods, from public executions to targeted surveillance, provided a specific historical logic for applying concepts like hegemony and interpellation, with clear implications of covert cultural control over human behavior and thought, to the materials of detective fiction. The point of view very commonly adopted by nineteenth century novelists, that is, objective, all knowing and third person, embodies Michel Foucault’s belief that middle class society is obsessed with exercising social control through modes of…show more content…
This gives him an air of divine ordinance, which, however is undermined somewhat given that it is he himself who contends that he knows. The detective’s invincible ability to extract the truth, uncover the past, secret motives, actions etc, is quite significant in the detective works of Agatha Christie, arguably the most popular in the sub-genre belonging to the “Golden Age” of detective fiction, that is, the detective fiction during the interwar years, mostly in England. A concern with revealing the hidden “truth”is undoubtedly the quintessential preoccupation of the detective fiction. However, Christie’s novels pose a bigger challenge to its detectives by presenting a large cast of suspects, almost everyone of whom turns out to be guilty of concealing something, if not murder. So, the detective’s ability to arrive at the truth becomes much more complicated than it was before. According to Arundhati Ghosh, a duality exists in almost all the Christie stories, where, on one hand the narrative serves to provide a sense of faith/reassurance in the power of order and rationality, embodied in the detective figure, but on the other it also communicates a certain kind of anxiety regarding the nature of the truthfulness of confessing voices and their authenticity. Moreover, the detective during the interwar period had the task to tackle with a pervasive sense of pessimism and a lack
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