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Critical Rresponse Essay - The Maltese Falcon

            Hardboiled fiction, as one of the genre from detective story, shows the individualism that the main character, mostly a detective, needs to be strong and working under his own will. This genre convention doesn't appear without a reason. It actually works as a response to another convention: the corrupted cops. When cops are corrupted, cooperation with cops just mean more corruption. That's why writers of hardboiled fiction portray the main character as a loner so he won't fall for corruption and the environment of the story will be brighter. the term "corrupted" in such genre of story doesn't necessary mean the cops are taking bribe from others, but mean that cops work against their officers' principles and even the society. In The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, such cops can be seen in the details of the conversation among Dundy, Tom and the main character, Sam Spade, in Spade's apartment. Other than creating the main character's individualism, the genre convention of corrupted cops can also reflect the historical background around the time when the hardboiled fiction was first known to people. According to The End of the Trail by Joseph Porter, before hardboiled fiction was known to people, there was an expansion toward American west. This expansion turned out to be profit-making and good for business. However, it also led to corruption and the loss of humanity. Such corruption in reality then inspire the hardboiled pioneers to come up with the genre convention of corrupted cops.
             There are few passages in The Maltese Falcon reflect genre convention of corrupted cops. According to Hammett, after Spade's partner Archer is killed, Dundy and Tom burst in on Sam, suspicious that he has murdered Archer's murderer, Thursby. Then, Dundy demands to know who Sam's client is, but Sam answers with his placidity, "you know I can't tell you that until I've talked it over with the client" (19).

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