Talented Mr Ripley Analysis

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Patricia Highsmith’s novel Talented Mr. Ripley illustrates an interesting protagonist, Tom Ripley, who is good at committing crimes and imitating others. Tom Ripley is hired to bring Dickie Greenleaf back from Italy. However, during the time spent in Italy, Tom is fascinated with Dickie’s wealthy and splendid lifestyle so he plans to kill Dickie and take over his identity. Crime fiction consists of different elements, usually crime, mystery and suspense acts the most important role. From past till now, crime fiction has changed that it is no longer necessary to follow the genre conventions of crime fiction. Someone argues that Talented Mr. Ripley is a typical crime story that adopts the genre conventions of crime fiction but several scenes…show more content…
Classic crime fiction usually writes from detective’s perspective and detective is described as clever, strong hero. However, Highsmith writes Talented Mr. Ripley in a different way by following murderer’s mind and the detective didn’t show up until near the end of the story. "The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man” (Chandler 4). Chandler believes in common detective story the protagonist should be an intelligent male hero who is the spotlight of the story. Nevertheless, Tom is an antihero who has to kill people to look for his personalities and an identity to inhabit. According to the film version of Talented Mr. Ripley, Tom said that he prefers being a fake somebody than a real body. This indicates that Tom is low in self-esteem and confidence leads him to become an antihero which conflicts Chandler’s idea. “With his rule that the reader should not be allowed to follow the murderer’s thought” (James 59). Monsignor Knox explains that in crime story readers are not supposed to know what does the murderer thinks. Thus, Highsmith inverts Knox’s propose and allows the readers full access to the mind of Tom Ripley. By reading the murderer’s mind, it builds our sympathies in Tom Ripley and wants him to success. Highsmith also arranges the detective to show up at the last part of the story,
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