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Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon: The Novel and the Film

Each year I teach an upper-level undergraduate course on U.S. Cultural History. One my favorite parts of the course is discussing Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. The novel allows me to make any number of observations that develop the larger themes of the course. It enables me to push the students on their formal analysis because I get to introduce a new genre: the hard-boiled detective novel. The process of formal analysis also allows me to point out that the novel offers a striking example of a MacGuffin–a plot device that catches the reader’s and the characters’ attention but is Read more