While reading The Corner, I have been considering the differences between it and Homicide. Obviously, as both are written by David Simon, the writing styles are quite similar. Simon includes his signature long, detailed descriptions and his general world setting paragraphs that begin each section. Yet the tone of the book seems very different. Where Homicide centered on the professional lives of a group of homicide detectives, The Corner discusses the total lives of those involved in the Baltimore drug trade. Homicide is about detectives and The Corner is about a neighborhood. For example, The Corner describes in detail the love life of DeAndre, his relationship with Tyreeka, her pregnancy, and his interest in other women. Homicide described personal issues and relationships, but mostly in passing. The Corner delves into the drama in the young drug dealer’s life.
This difference relates to key thematic differences in the two novels. Both deal with a profession, but the focus of the books is different. The Corner seems to be constantly trying to explain why these people are in the drug trade. In some ways, Simon and Burns assume that there must be some huge force pushing these people into the drug trade. Where Homicide would only briefly explain the detective’s motivations, The Corner is wholly centered on motivation. There are obvious reasons for this focus. Many of the “professionals” in The Corner are young adults, and the Average Joe is not typically drawn into the drug trade. Yet I find the personal style of The Corner interesting compared to the professional atmosphere of Homicide. While both deal with high stress jobs, the law, and justice, The Corner is far more centered on personal lives perhaps as a way to try to make sense of the world of poverty and drugs.