Lisa A. Cook

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This study examines how the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction has been and continues to be a unique medium for social commentary and an exploration of human nature. The study focuses on two novelist, Raymond Chandler, considered by critics to be the godfather of the genre, and Sue Grafton, a contemporary novelist. I have chosen to research two very different authors of this genre to explain that despite the diversity of the novelist and the age in which they wrote, they both use the techniques of the hard-boiled detective novel to mirror their perception of society. Both authors show that through the unique traits of the hard-boiled detective, they have created reliable narrators of the human condition, exploring the nature of everything from alcoholism and domestic violence, to crime, corruption, and the justice system, to sex, love, family, and friendship.


A Thesis-Equivalent Project Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1997 Lisa A. Cook