The Girl with The Silver Eyes Essay

The Girl with The Silver Eyes Essay

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Hard-boiled detective fiction sets the scene for a cold and harsh reality. Dashiell Hammett’s, “The Girl with The Silver Eyes” is no exception to this rule. In this short story Hammett paints a picture of a brutally realistic urban center filled with characters that not many people would want to call friends. The realistic qualities of Hammett’s story are drawn from his own life’s experience working as a Pinkerton detective. The detective in “The Girl With The Silver Eyes” works for the Continental Detective Agency and is, therefore, known simply as the Continental Op. In the beginning of the story the Op professes, “a detective, if he is wise, takes pains to make and keep as many friends as possible among transfer company, express company and railroad employees” (27). This paper will examine this philosophy of the Continental Op, how he employs this approach to detective work and uncover if this approach is beneficial or disadvantageous.
The Continental Op is an unsympathetic character with a stickler attitude to his work. The Op believes that the case he is about to take is legitimate but states that, “I am only a hired man and have to go by the rules” (23). At the core of this statement is a man that is unwilling to bend the rules outlined by his company. People who always follow the rules are often seen as trust worthy and at the same time difficult to get along with. When you know a person is always going to go by the book, like the Op, it makes their actions predictably frustrating. Things could go a lot faster if a person were to cut a corner or two and help out. By doing this the detective might have made himself more likable to his new client. The Op shows no desire to perform this way to have friends on his side. T...

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... even if this means that he has to pay a few people to be his friends. Without the help of the girl at the Marquis Hotel the Op would not have been given that lead. If it were not for the help of Porky Grout over the past three years that the detective had employed him, who knows how many cases would have gone unsolved. Even though in the end things do not workout between Porky and the Continental Op and Porky meets his fate. It is clear that the Op’s philosophy about what it means to make and keep friends is different then what other people would describe. It is the strong moral code that the P.I. is constantly reinforcing that allows the case to come to a resolution. People may not like the Op and fortunately for the general public most people to not have the personality of the Continental Op. Fact is the detective solves the case and gets his women in the end.

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