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McElhaney 1Cassie McElhaneyDr. Susan BeckwithEnglish 11125 January 2016The Big SleepRaymond Chandler, the author of the novel “The Big Sleep” edition 39, uses the story to tell how far downhill things went after the Great Depression and into the 1930’s. Throughout the story the reader learns about four main characters Phillip Marlowe, General Sternwood, and the General’s two daughters Vivian and Carmen. Each character varies from each other but as the story develops the reader comes to realize that the reoccurring themes between them are corruptionand money and social status.To begin with the main character, Phillip Marlowe was a young detective hired by General Sternwood to help take care of some blackmail. The reader learns early on that Marlowe knows why he is there and what his job is to do, so he does not stray from his principles. This quality makes Marlowe a static character. Throughout the book, the daughters Vivian and Carmen both try to flirt with Marlowe, but it never phases him. In Chapter 24, Marlowe comes home to Carmen naked in his bed, which he is very unpleased about. Marlowe states “It’s a question of professional pride. You know – professional pride. I’m working for your father. He’s a sick man, very frail, very helpless. He sort of trusts me not to pull any stunts. Won’t you please get dressed, Carmen?” (156). Right there Chandler is using direct characterizationto show the reader that Marlowe isn’t about the women. He’s there for a job and that isall. When it comes to the idea of money and social status, within the first paragraph of the book, Marlowe is going to meet General Sternwood for the first time. “I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, andI didn’t care who knew it….. I was calling on four million dollars” (3). Chandler uses that opportunity to
McElhaney 2indirectly characterize the reader that Marlowe is of the lower class. He usually is not clean shaven or sober. In later chapters you tend to see Marlowe have a few stiff drinks during the day. Also, in later chapters, after strong motions against it, Marlowe begins to look for Rusty Regan, Vivian Sternwood’s husband who had “run off” with another lady. Phillip Marlowe had no desire to look for the man until hisoriginal job for the General was over and he had been overpaid. Marlowe, unlike many people following