The Maltese Falcon Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What was a woman’s place in the society and when the action was set?

    The novel takes place at the beginning of the 20th century, a time when women were starting to have a voice. While they were not yet free to do whatever they wanted, women were free to have a job and avoid being a housewife. Despite this, they were still expected to act vulnerable and to pretend to be damsels in distress. The idea promoted was that men needed to feel powerful and the only way they could feel that way was to have beside them a woman who was weaker than them. Thus, we see various female characters acting to be more vulnerable than they actually were in reality just to please the men in their lives.

  2. 2

    What is the role of a private detective?

    The main character in the novel is a private detective who gets entangled in a messy situation. But who was a private detective and what was his or her role? A private detective was usually someone who had a background in either law enforcement or any other type of police related training. A private detective is usually employed by someone who is interested in finding new information about someone they know or investigate other private matters.

  3. 3

    How much was 200 dollars worth at the time when the novel was written in comparison with today?

    Wonderly offered the private investigators the sum of 200 dollars when she asked for their help in finding her sister. Archer accepted the money almost immediately and even agreed to investigate the situation himself. This points towards the idea that 200 dollars were worth a lot more than they are worth today. If we were to take into consideration the inflation rate, one would reach the conclusion that today the 200 dollars the investigators were paid would equal to more than 4,500 dollars today.

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