Payton HowellDr. Christopher BundrickEnglish 101-4L19/28/2017A Motive from the HeartThe Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler, is about a private detective who is working a blackmail case that leads to several murder investigations. However, there is a deeper message within this novel. Chandler subtly conveys this theme: people can, and will, go to extreme measures for what they love whether it be people or possessions. However, some cases may end more tragic than others. Philip Marlowe, Harry Jones, and Vivian Regan are just a few examples of characters from this novel who show that love is a powerful thing that can alter people’s judgement.The protagonist in this novel, Philip Marlowe, shows a great deal of affection towards hisjob as a private detective. He loves his work and his bosses. Marlowe was hired by General Sternwood to investigate a possible blackmail case that the General believed was sent by Arthur Gwynn Geiger, a pornographer who runs his smut business under the cover of a bookstore. Marlowe takes the case and stakes out at Geiger’s house to watch for anything that could be considered suspicious. While Marlowe is parked outside of his house, a gun goes off and breaks the eerie nighttime silence. Chandler writes “At seven-twenty a single flash of hard white light shot out of Geiger’s house like a wave of summer lightning… I was out of the car and on my way before the echoed died” (Chandler 33). When Marlowe enters the house, he finds Geiger lying on the floor dead. He also discovers that Carmen Sternwood, General Sternwood’s youngest daughter, has been drugged, unclothed, and made to pose “like an Egyptian goddess” facing a camera (Chandler, 35). When Marlowe finds out Geiger has been murdered, he knows
his job is done. The police officers investigate the house and come to the conclusion on the causeof death and the possible murder suspect. After their investigation, the media announces the findings to the public. At this point, Marlowe’s job is over with because his job didn’t consist of a murder investigation. Therefore, he now has every opportunity to walk out with his money and never look back, but he decides against abandoning the case. Marlowe goes further with the case to find the answer to every question the General asked. He gives his all for General Sternwood.