The ‘big sleep’ is one of the most famous books of the twentieth century. This is because of the relevance of its content to society during the early twentieth century. Raymond Chandler is the author of this book. The ‘big sleep’ was published in 1939 though Chandler started writing it in 1938. Chandler wrote this book when Americans were disillusioned and had lost hope of a better future due to the effects of the great depression.
In his book ‘sleep big’ Chandler brings out various themes. One of the major themes brought out is corruption. We know that laws are intended to guarantee justice and safeguard citizens. But Chandler displays, through his characters, a society where law has been disregarded. People are bribing and killing one another for money. This fact is echoed by Harry Jones when he tells Marlowe that they are all grifters and that they sell one another for a nickel. The dirty oil fields portrayed in the book is symbolic of the oil business which has been made dirty.
Many characters are pessimistic about life in this book. Sternwood`s sisters have lost the test for life. They engage in promiscuous sex, gambling and alcohol drinking. Sternwood has to depend on other people like Regan for survival. Many other people find themselves in difficulty like Jones and Lozelle. The killings that take place like Regan`s only shows pessimism in this society.
A femme fatale is a situation where a character uses her sexuality to manipulate another character. In the book “sleep big” Vivian Ruttledge uses her stunning looks too attract Marlow. Vivian therefore uses this opportunity to manipulate Marlow to get information concerning her husband`s death. Phyllis on the other hand ensnares Neff by her eye-catching looks. Phyllis unlike Ruttledge uses this opportunity to convince Neff to conspire with him to kill her husband to get $50,000.