The African American femme fatale : how Black hard- boiled fiction encourages misogynoir

Title: The African American femme fatale : how Black hard- boiled fiction encourages misogynoir
Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2021, vol. 10, iss. 2, pp. 23-33
  • ISSN
    1805-0859 (online)
Type: Article
The article provides distinction between romantic and decadent depictions of women, and follows the origins of the femme fatale trope and its influence of and incorporation into the genre of hard-boiled fiction. The article examines two femme fatale figures in two African American hard-boiled novels, Chester Himes' A Rage in Harlem (1957) and Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress (1990). The objective is to consider how the misogynistic nature of the femme fatale trope related to Black women characters is harmful and supports androcentric bias as represented in African American hard-boiled fiction. The article inspects how both Himes and Mosley's works reflect traditional male-oriented hard-boiled tropes while both authors depicted the environment of the novels to highlight racial and social inequity in the United States. Under intersectional theory, the article reframes the conventional hard-boiled characteristics to reveal instances of gendered racism in the novels.
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