The Big Sleep Essay

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Semansky is an instructor of English literature and composition and writes on literature and culture for several publications. In this essay, Semansky considers the appeal of Marlowe in Chandler's novel.

At the heart of Chandler's first novel and at the heart of all of his novels is Phillip Marlowe, a man of contradictions, who has served as a kind of prototype for private investigators in films and novels over the last sixty years. Rather than alienating readers with his homophobia, his machismo, and his seeming disdain for women, Marlowe has helped Chandler attract a large readership, as he also embodies professional and personal integrity, speaking his mind without worrying about being politically correct or offending the powers that be.

Marlowe, however, is also a cynic, who distrusts others and their motivations, and in general experiences the world of appearances as masking a darker, corrupt reality. This is readily...

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This section contains 1,320 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Big Sleep Study Guide
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