The Big Sleep
Study Questions and Essay Topics
What are the implications of the fact that we never meet Rusty Regan during the novel?
How does Chandler create such a dark tone? What elements and devices does he use to do so?
How similar are Vivian Sternwood and Marlowe's intentions of secrecy?
Suggested Essay Topics
How does The Big Sleep relate to the time in which it was written? What does it say about the America of the 1930s?
Do you think the tone of the narrator is the same as the tone of the author? Why or why not?
To what extent is this novel a political critique? A social one? A moral one?
Consider the role women play in the novel. Do women have any power? If so, what kind of power do they have and what is significant about it? How does Chandler see women? How does Marlowe?
Are there any victims in this story? To what extent is Marlow a victim or a hero? Is he both, or perhaps neither?
Discuss the issues of homosexuality and male fraternity in The Big Sleep.
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