The Big Sleep – Term Paper Example

The Big Sleep The Image of a woman, coined as “Female Fatale” in the hard-boiled detective stories in the post World War I era was almost a fashion. The Female Fatale is basically an irresistibly attractive woman leading the detective or the protagonist of the story to danger. In the plots of Hard-boiled fictions, she is generally the romantic interest of the protagonist. The involvement of the protagonist with such character might range from mere flirtation to passionate sex. But in the climax of the plot, the detective or the protagonists leaves her or rejects her. Through this rejection, the suspense of the plot is revealed and shows that the character herself is criminal. The Big sleep of 1939 is the first and the best novel of Chandler. It is a landmark publication in the history of America’s hard-boiled detective novels.
Raymond Chandler is champion in character sketches. His characters are blend of fact and fiction and his female fatale in The Big Sleep is iconic. She is a vivid image of sumptuous trouble in the form of an attractive woman. In the novel, Chandler attributes a kind of archetypal physical feature to his female fatale, Carmen Sternwood. She is attractive as well as tempting and Marlowe falls prey in her clutches of temptation. She is wild and her wildness relates to a kind of exorcism and gives an erotic shade to her character. She, like an archetypal female fatale, is addicted with drugs and at the climax it is revealed that her wild appetite for sex has led her to trouble and she is the sole weaver for all the events in the novel. Chandler describes Carmen as ‘She was trouble. She was tall and rangy and strong looking. Her hair was black and wiry and parted in the middle .She had a good mouth and a good chin. There was a sulky droop to her lips and the lower lip was full’.
Through Carmen Stern wood, Chandler successfully draws the image of the female fatale of his age as she stands for the iconic sumptuous attractive women, desperate in the pursuit of sex and obsessed to the extent that she commits crime even for the refusal or rejection.
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep. Vintage Books. 1992.