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Dashiell Hammett was born on May 27, 1894. He lived on his grandfather's farm near Baltimore, with his parents Richard and Annie Bond Hammett. He had a very limited education because after being enrolled in high school for less than a semester in the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, he decided to quit. His family struggled financially and he provided help by working several jobs such as freight clerk, stevedore, timekeeper, yardman, and railroad worker, " Dashiell Hammett worked as a private detective with Pinkerton National Detective Agency, c. 1914-18 and 1919-21; worked sporadically as a screenwriter from various motion picture studios from 1930 until World War II"(Brower, 2002). When he was working for the detective agency, he traveled throughout the western parts of the United States for two years, which provided him a lot of the material for his career as an author.
Before pursuing further with his writing career, Hammett served during World War I. He served for the U.S. Army Motor Ambulance Corps at Camp Mead, Maryland, but he got to be discharged from it the following year due to tuberculosis. Hammett was admitted to Cushman Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. During his hospitalized days, he got in a relationship with one of the nurses at the hospital, namedasssssssara Josephine Dolan. In July 1921 they got married, while Josephine was six months pregnant with their first child. The Hammetts eventually had two daughters, Mary and Josephine.
Hammett worked as a Pinkerton operative, for as long as his health condition allowed him to. He participated two of the most famous criminal investigations of the day, "Dashiell Hammett is widely considered the father of hard-boiled detective fiction" (Bower 2002). One of the cases involved with the movie comedian Fatty Arbuckle, who was charged with murder and the second case was the theft of gold specie from the freighter Sonoma, which was worth about $125,000. In the year of 1922, with the goal of becoming a journalist, he went to Manson's Business College. He provided support for his family with a stipend for people with disabilities that were given to him from the military.
Due to his illness, he was unable to work as a detective; he started to write detective stories for pulp magazines. His take on the detective story was original and its realism forced his writings to drift to the crime publications, including Black Mask. He wrote quite a lot of novels based on actual detective's experience; one of his most popular is The Maltese Falcon. The novel brought Hammett instant fame and prosperity. The protagonist, Sam Spade, has a standard characterization. Competent and operating in the name of justice, he is a perfect example of how detectives work without expecting a reward. Spade illustrates the insensitivity of Hammett's detectives, as he was hardly distinguishable from the criminals he chased and that proves the point that good men cannot deal with bad men. The good people follow a different sequence of rules and Sam Spade handles the enemy in his own ways.
Critiques closely studied The Maltese Falcon and it is basically a set of brilliant conversations that are set in motion. "The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel." (Bower 2002). This novel is also considered the normal way by which mysteries in America are judged. Hammett tries to represent his own image by using Spade, which is kind of close to his first name, Samuel. You'd be surprised by how many masks do Sam Spade actually hides throughout the novel, for example when one of the female characters in the novel killed a guy named Archer. Spade pretends to go along with it although he knows that she's the culprit in the situation. Hammett was displaying an anti-hero that becomes the individual lawmaker, or "a danger to society"(Nolan 2005), and his detective is indeed a dangerous man, capable to do anything.
When The Maltese Falcon was released, the magazines consisted of strong use of censorship, especially the more popular ones. When it arrived, the publishers looked through it. They changed a few lines from supposedly "sexual" scenes but permitted swear words such as "hell" and "damn".
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