Q1. What are the strengths and limitations of contemporary crime fiction as a vehicle for radical social and political critique?

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Crime Fiction is a genre that is never stagnate, rather it is always adapting and regenerating itself. By remoulding the structures of its stories and crimes to reflect the cultural and social values in society to appropriately fit the political or moral message it is trying to send. The genre can be used to raise questions about identity and morality. The social and political critique I will focus on in this essay is the questions Crime Fiction raises about this 'War on Drugs' and whether we can wage a War against a thing? Or is it merely just American propaganda used by politicians to group people together and pretend like they care. I will use HBO's television series The Wire and Stephen Soderbergh's film Traffic to portray how crime fiction can be used as a vehicle to critique for radical social and political critique. Such as America's capitalist society, the aspiration of the 'American Dream', issues of class and racial divisions, corruption in the state, the incompetence of police and authority, the loss of communication, lack of opportunities, the lack of protection or welfare from the state, loopholes in the justice system, to name but a few. Crime Fiction has developed and now reflects real issues of the lives of the vast amount of people caught up in this War. However, I do not feel that The Wire and Traffic suggest any kind of resolution to these issues and critiques. There are hints and suggestions but again, the failures of the political and social issues seem to be on a continual loop with no real answer of how to end or win this War. Yet, it could be argued that the American Government surrendered to this War a long time ago. Traffic has three intersecting plot lines that reveal the scope of this illegal Mexica... ... middle of paper ... ...s is there, there will always be a supply for them, reading to step in and take over, just like this never ending cycle of being arrested and let out. If someone is killed they are just seen as collateral damage in this War on drugs. “You deal, and you die, but if you don’t deal you die anyway because that's where the money and power are” (Winslow 22) Avon states “the games the game. That stays the same” and he along with Stringer and Prop Joe relish in the game to create their own opportunities for themselves as they see no other option available to them. “They were all driven by a desire to improve themselves, having come from so little.” (Busfield 205) The divisions in class and abuse of power is depicted through the critique of Peter Angelo’s, the rich lawyer, taking over down town and seeking to push the homeless and the soup kitchens that attract them aside.

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