The Dean Curse Analysis

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“The Dean Curse” and “Under Suspicion”: Whom Do We Trust? The genre of detective stories has changed dramatically over the past century. In early detective stories, such as Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Series, readers have a clear understanding of who is good and who is bad. Characters were defined on a more black and white level. But as literature has entered into the world of postmodernism, the motivations of both the characters and authors have become more ambiguous. Because postmodernism questions the idea of truth, characters become isolated in their search for reality and justice. There are contradictions within the characters, and the defining line between “victim” and “suspect” is no longer clear. In Ian Rankin’s “The Dean Curse” and Clark…show more content…
These stories show how society’s sense of justice has been undermined by the pessimistic attitude of postmodernism. These stories force readers to question the people we trust in society. Both are written with a sense of moral ambiguity and leave no resolution for us. They force us to ask ourselves what we are capable of, since we can no longer tell what the characters are capable of. In Ian Rankin’s short story, “The Dean Curse,” Brigadier General Dean comes across as a very wealthy, respected man. He drives “a Jaguar XJS convertible, its bodywork a startling red. Nobody in Barnton could mistake it for anyone else’s car” (561). But at the same time, there is something mysterious about him. People in the town have a lot of questions about him. When General Dean’s Jaguar explodes with his daughter’s boyfriend inside, John Rebus begins to investigate the case and we find out more about Dean’s character. The circumstances of the case become very suspicious. Rebus eventually implies that general Dean, himself, set up the explosion in order to “rescue”…show more content…
It is a constant struggle to know whether or not we can trust Frank Dell. The competing images of good and bad leave readers unable to make a sure judgment based on instinct. Dell is a police officer and one of his colleagues describes him as “the straightest cop in Chicago” (439). This comment makes it seem like Dell is a good citizen and a respectable person. The fact that he is a detective makes him come across as trustworthy. When his partner’s daughter, Edie Malone is found dead, Dell is asked to be involved in the case. As suspects are interviewed, it becomes clear that Dell was more involved with Edie than we first realized. He is very emotionally involved in Edie’s case, which leads us to believe that he had a personal, possibly romantic relationship with the woman. Through Dell, we can see the complexities of human behavior because he does not always act how we would expect him to act. There are several similarities between Dell and General Dean. While both are respected people of authority, they also have dark sides that indicate levels of dishonesty. With Dell, we see that he has very violent capabilities. In contrast with the image of a police officer, we also see Dell in an ominous way. He is described as “wearing dark trousers and a black windbreaker, and black Nikes on his feet. Both hands were gloved, and he ware a wool navy watch cap on his forehead, and a dark scarf around his neck”

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