The Talented Mr. Ripley Social Concerns

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the "Preface" to his book, PatriciaInHighsmith, Russell Harrison curiously qualifies the genre of Highsmith's work.

Harrison writes, "For a long time, her work was, in the United States, viewed as crime or suspense fiction," but he is careful to explain that while her work is not representative of "literary realism," it does evince and "create in readers" "states of extreme psychological tension unlike anything produced by her contemporaries." Harrison's reading of Highsmith's works as psychological and social, reflecting the ways in which the "self" is created, informed, and altered by society, illustrates that her novels are, in a sense, subversive—challenging the norms of the societies that she unveils.

While her works cannot be reduced to the categories "crime" or "suspense" fiction, her treatment of the characters' quest for identification within (or rejection of) an often hostile environment leaves the reader with a whirlwind of questions regarding...

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This section contains 2,466 words
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