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How does Rankin present the character of Rebus in the short stories?

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How does Rankin present the character of Rebus in the short stories? Rebus is a genuinely intriguing and interesting character that Rankin uses throughout "Play back", "Being Frank" and "Auld Lang Syne". His role as Detective Inspector John provides all three stories with a thrilling experience, as each story is explored with a sense of suspense and menace. In "Playback" Rankin presents an intelligent, crafting and determined side to Rebus, who examines things very "closely" and tries to look "comfortable" to assert his superiority. In addition Rankin uses the technique of questioning to show how involved Rebus becomes in his work, always having a strong sense of curiosity. Rebus is always searching for answers and never rules out the impossibilities such as when 'no blood' was to 'be found on MacFarlane's clothing, but as Rebus himself knew, that didn't mean the man wasn't a killer'. In contrast in the second story, Rebus appears to be a person who is more judgmental of people like "Frank". ...read more.


Rankin uses the structure of the stories to parallel Rebus' character, such as in Playback where Rebus immediately becomes involved with the murder case. The story beings with a stark and suspenseful statement: 'It was the perfect murder', as Rankin builds the tension in the plot right from the beginning. Similarly Rebus is introduced to us in the very first paragraphs, who is 'worried' and determined to solve the murder case. As the plot progresses onwards Rankin makes more use of dialogue to enhance the way Rebus investigates and questions his suspects. It makes the story seem more involving and personal to the reader. In this way Rebus' character becomes more real and alive through dialogue. However in 'Being Frank', Rebus doesn't appear in the story until the middle, which removes the reader's focus from his character and instead makes us focus closer on Frank. Rankin does this to give the reader additional insight to Frank, but at the same time also uses Rebus' thoughts to reflect his opinion of Frank, which interestingly contradict each other. ...read more.


The moral that Rankin establishes here is that people are directed towards the wrong route by money just like the two robbers in the story. In "Auld Lang Syne" Rankin makes trust a key issue as Rebus believes in Crawford right from the beginning when in fact he has been deceiving him the whole time. Nevertheless in the end Rebus comes to understand Crawford "well enough" and overcomes his betrayal. This is signified through his actions as he just "shrugged and let his arm fall to the side" accepting his defeat. In conclusion, Rankin has put together three stories with the strong moral under pinning. In my opinion, Rebus' character is inconstant; he changes from a strong and cunning detective into a typical human being who is capable of trusting people. In this way Rankin contrasts Rebus' role as a detective and a human being to achieve a balance between the two and to show that no character has a fixed role. ...read more.

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