The Writing Style of Ian Fleming
The character James Bond has been a part of Western popular culture for the last 60 years. From the cinema to the bookstore, works featuring James Bond have been a revered part of our collective consciousness. To discover the reason why the James Bond franchise has been so successful, one should look no further than the series creator. As the author of 12 novels and nine short stories, Ian Fleming combines his personal experiences with current events, a sensuous writing style, and deadly themes to create a rewarding experience for the reader.
Ian Fleming is one example of an author that wrote what he knew about. As a British Naval Intelligence Officer during World War II, Fleming was responsible for Operation Golden Eye, a name that appears as a recurring phrase throughout his works. His experiences overseeing Golden Eye, as well as planning other missions, gave Fleming the ability to write a convincing, plausible spy novel.
The release of Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was well-timed. The rise of spy activity during the Cold War meant that a novel about a British agent collecting intelligence against Soviet forces would be well-received in the English-speaking world. The relevancy of the subject matter, especially in an era where paranoia against nuclear warfare reigned supreme, meant that Fleming's audience was strongly aligned with the work's protagonista heroic figure that could thwart even the most sinister of plans.
The heroism of James Bond was not the only thing that attracted readers to Fleming's creation. The author's sensuous writing style, which helped make the mundane seem extraordinary in Bond's world, made Fleming's character enviable. Fleming uses several devices to make his world seem more interesting. Rich descriptions of simple things, such as Bond's coffee at breakfast or the way his eggs are presented, introduce the idea that Bond's experience is beyond ordinary. Readers also encounter situations that are sensuous in a literal sense; the amorous nature of James Bond is an infamous aspect of the character.
Fleming's writing style is also notable because his novels were among the first to utilize product brand names in scene descriptions. It is arguable that this is indicative of the time period the works were written in. However, the ultimate goal of using such names is to enable the readers to imagine that the events depicted actually did happen. As the audience becomes convinced that James Bond exists, it becomes more open to Fleming's difficult to fathom plots.
The unfolding of Fleming's fantastical plots introduces many recurring themes, as illustrated by the antagonists. Usually the antagonist is guilty of one, or many, of the Seven Deadly Sins. Relying on his audience to understand the social and historical implications of acting out of greed, vengeance, or pride, Fleming develops despicable antagonists to counter his heroic antagonist. These antagonists demonstrate fatal flaws, antisocial characteristics, or possess physical disfigurements. This form of black and white character development is not new, but Fleming employs it effectively.
Readers and moviegoers turn to Ian Fleming's stories in order to escape the mundane. Entering this world where good and evil are clearly defined, and simple things are extraordinary, the reader is invited to experience things that they would not otherwise. By transporting the reader, Fleming became one of the world's most popular authors.
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