The Big Sleep, By Raymond Chandler

1981 Words8 Pages
In Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, detective Philip Marlowe is hired by the Sternwood family to deal with a blackmailer. Later, Marlowe’s case twists into a more complex assignment involving murders, pornography, missing persons and unknown culprits. Throughout the story, Marlowe encounters several characters that play a role in the case. Two sisters, named Vivian and Carmen, and their father, the General, make up the last of the wealthy Sternwood family. The general explains to Marlowe, that Rusty Regan, his son-in-law and someone he was quite fond of, has been missing. The Sternwood girls are full of trouble and are always finding themselves involved in some type of mischief that Marlowe ends up investigating. Using direct and indirect characterization, it can be determined if Marlowe, Vivian, Carmen, and the General are round, flat, static, or dynamic characters and how each character is depicted with regards to the theme of the story.
Philip Marlowe, the detective, sees a stained-glass panel in the main hallways of the Sternwood house. “The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots in the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere” (3). Marlowe associates himself with the knight and feels it is his duty to protect and rescue the damsel in distress. This description of the stained-glass is an example of direct characterization of Marlowe. Rather than stating the Marlowe’s, the descriptive
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