“‘Will you stop it?’ he demanded in a low impatient voice. ‘This isn’t the spot for the school-girl act. Listen to me. The pair of us are sitting under the gallows.’ He took hold of her wrists and made her stand up straight in front of him. ‘Talk!'”
Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, page 209
At the end of the day, being good or bad doesn’t matter- you just have to talk and try to get out as clean as possible. Spade’s choice in the end wasn’t a good one, but it was done in cunning because he knew it was the only way for him to get out. Also, at a certain point, pretending to be good and innocent does not work- your actions come up to get you (except if you’re Spade).
“She’s so young and his bringing her here from New York is such a serious- Mightn’t he – mightn’t he do – something to her” (8)
-Hammett, The Maltese Falcon pg 8
Hammett’s use of dashes creates a pause in the scene to make the dialogue feel more real. Compared to commas, dashes create a harsher break in the sentence to emphasize Ms. Wonderly’s fear and uncertainty.
“Spade’s thick fingers made a cigarette with deliberate care, sifting a measured quantity of tan flakes down into curved paper, spreading the flakes so that they lay equal at the ends with a slight depression in the middle, thumbs rolling the paper’s inner edge down and up under the outer edge as forefingers pressed it over, thumbs and fingers sliding to the paper cylinder’s ends to hold it even while tongue licked the flap, left forefinger and thumb smoothed the damp seam, right forefinger and thumb twisting their end and lifting the other to Spade’s mouth.”
-Hammett, The Maltese Falcon pgs 11-12