Corruption In Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep

849 Words4 Pages
Introduction
The Big Sleep describes a time in America’s past where the social order was decaying into a corrupted mob, ruled by gangsters like those of the 1920s and 30s. Out of this dark rubble, mystery writers at the time imagined their detective knight, a private eye who would uncover the corruption and set order right in the world. Raymond Chandler did just this in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. His knight in not so shining armor was Philip Marlowe, a champion of whoever would hire him. This private dick was careful not to past judgments on anyone, knowing that he also had a shady past to answer for. Through the first person narration of the novel, the reader is given a glimpse of Marlowe’s life through his own eyes and thoughts. His subtle turn-of phrase shines light on what he was really thinking at the time, and through these illuminations, the reader is given his priorities and values. Marlowe, for reasons I will discuss further, serves as a proxy for Chandler’s thoughts and feelings. This means that the values and priorities the reader sees in the novel could represent the author’s feelings as well.
One of Marlowe’s disturbing preoccupations in the novel is with the opposite sex. Though consummation is never realized with any of the characters, Marlowe is
…show more content…
The ‘New Woman’ was an ideal that sought a woman’s individual control over the outcome of her life, whether that was in personal, social, or economic realms. This is contrasted greatly with the Victorian ideal of a woman. Before the turn of the twentieth century, women were viewed as a man’s property and were expected to be angelic, weak, and subservient beings. Though America did not follow all of Britain’s social movements, many in the higher classes tried to achieve the ideal of being a Victorian ‘lady.’ The ‘New Woman’ movement went hand in hand with the suffragists’
Open Document