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The Big Sleep: Strategic Ambiguity In Judges 4-5 And In Classic Film Noir

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Chapter Summary

Ambiguity is a driving force of the narrative world of film noir. It is expressed through unconventional characterization as well as innovative and excessive visual and narrative techniques. The book of Judges makes similar demands of its readers and shares a number of the concerns found in film noir, such as: anxiety over constructs of masculinity and normality, interest in ritualized violence, fetishization of women, existential deliberation over character, resignation to the fate of the individual, withering acknowledgment of the façade of material progress all expressed with indeterminate narrative modes that frustrate attempts at making meaning. The author's arguments in particular is that film noir and the Jael episode share a remarkably similar rhetoric of ambiguity, and that examination of their correspondences, by an evidence-based comparison, can lead to fruitful hypothesis regarding the social context from which the Judges stories emerged.

Keywords: film noir; Jael episode; Judges stories; rhetoric of ambiguity; ritualized violence; social problem



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