Three Layers of Metaphors in Ross Macdonald’s "Black Money"


  • Lech Zdunkiewicz University of Wrocław



Ross Macdonald, Lew Archer, metaphor, blending, hardboiled fiction


 In his early career, Kenneth Millar, better known as Ross Macdonald, emulated the style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. By the 1960s he had established himself as a distinct voice in the hardboiled genre. In his Lew Archer series, he conveys the complexity of his characters and settings primarily by the use of metaphors. In his 1966 novel Black Money the device performs three functions. In the case of minor characters, the author uses metaphors to comment on Californian society. Concurrently, metaphors describing major characters allow him to develop their dramatic arcs, whereas the recurring elements of the leitmotif serve to demonstrate the narrating detective’s growing concerns with the ongoing investigation. Arguably, it was Macdonald’s use of metaphors that helped define his unique voice.


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Author Biography

Lech Zdunkiewicz, University of Wrocław

Lech Zdunkiewicz, currently enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Wrocław, specializes in modern American literature. His MA thesis for the University of Wrocław was a finalist of the MA Thesis Award of the Polish Association of American Studies for 2017. His current research concerns the antihero in Patricia Highsmith’s Ripliad. Since 2008 he has been involved in various independent and studio film productions.


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How to Cite

Zdunkiewicz, L. (2019). Three Layers of Metaphors in Ross Macdonald’s "Black Money". Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (9), 259-270.