Gender And Sexuality : The Movie ' The Big Sleep '

1680 Words Jan 20th, 2016 7 Pages
Gender and sexuality in The Big Sleep During the dawn of the Second World War, a new era began for women across America. As men departed to fight the war, women were left to fill their void in the workplace. Familiar role models such as “Rosie the Riveter” radiated strength and know-how traits historically emphasized only in men. As woman’s role in society broadened, new visions of attractiveness developed to accommodate this unprecedented aspect of femininity. Raymond Chandler’s portrayal of women in The Big Sleep (1939) highlights these changes in social construction of female sexuality and appeal in the setting of a male dominated society. To analyze the impact of women in the picture, one must examine Philip Marlowe, the hero and epitome of masculinity. Throughout the novel, Marlowe displays the admirable qualities of a man: intelligence, strength and justice. Additionally, Marlowe’s role as the hero of the film creates an example to which all men should strive. He represents the goals and desires of men, and as such his behavior helps define the position of women. Women constantly throw themselves at Marlowe, allowing him to pick from a fairly wide selection. His choice of Vivian holds considerable weight in determining the traits that make a woman popular. Marlowe’s interactions with all women help reveal the complexities of 1940s feminine attraction. Vivian Sternwood Rutledge makes the biggest impact on the hero, and therefore represents the most appealing…
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