Friday, 15 April 2016

The coral snake analogy

At the moment, I am reading The Martini Shot by George Pelecanos, my favourite crime writer. It is a collection of short stories, mostly crime related, and so far he proved that he controls this form just as much as he controls crime novels. Among the many things I love about his writing, is that he has a way with using old archetypes and bringing them into a contemporary, realistic setting and making them fresh and relevant. In one of his short stories, When You're Hungry, the protagonist, a private investigator looking for a wealth man who faked his death to enjoy life in the tropics, makes this analogy about the mistress of his target: "When I was a child I spotted a coral snake and thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I started to follow it into the brush, when my mother slapped me very hard across the face." This is, in essence, what a femme fatale is. Someone beautiful, elegant, yet deadly and merciless, who exerts a fascination so intense than one overcomes the fear he or she may have towards the femme fatale. It is explained without even mentioning the term, by a simple analogy that works. I loved this analogy so much that I wanted to share it here. For more on femmes fatales, please read this entry on TV tropes. For more on coral snakes, please read Wikipedia. But truly, I think you have all you need to know with the analogy Pelecanos made.


jaz@octoberfarm said...

my german teacher in 8th grade told me i was the ultimate femme fatale.

Guillaume said...

I don't know what to say about that one...;-)