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Title: "Corruption In The Big Sleep" This Essay Explores The Corruption Of Society Found In "The Big Sleep" By Raymond Chandler.

1106 words - 4 pages

"The Big Sleep" is about a private detective that is trying to solve a blackmailing case for a dying millionaire. The detective, Philip Marlowe, finds that the case not only involves blackmail, but also murder. This book was Raymond Chandler's first novel and it explores the oppressive and corrupt society of 1930's America. Chandler uses Philip Marlowe as the immoral yet heroic protagonist.The corruption of 1930's society is present in the government of Los Angeles. Throughout the novel Chandler brings to question the credibility of the police. Vivian Sternwood is the daughter of General Sternwood, the man Marlowe is working for. She says this about the police system: "He didn't know the right people. That's all a police record means in this rotten crime-ridden country." She obviously implies that one could ignore the law if he or she was influential, powerful, or rich. When Vivian says this statement, she shows the reader how corrupt the police are. Another example of how the police are corrupt in the novel is how they allowed Geiger, an illegal pornography vendor, to continue his immoral and illegal business for their own personal gain. This crooked action shows the unethical and unprincipled manner of the police. In this instance the misconduct the police show proves the corruption of the society as a whole in the 1930's.The newspapers in the city of Los Angeles show how the people of the city are corrupt. A person uses a newspaper to understand, but in The Big Sleep the newspapers lie about the truth. One example of the dishonesty of the newspapers is seen when they lie about the murders of two men. Geiger had been killed by the Sternwood's chauffeur, Owen Taylor, but the newspapers claimed that a man named Joe Brody, who was a small time blackmailer that was trying to take over Geiger's porn racket, was the one that killed him. This kind of lying is one of the things that corrupts the society of Los Angeles. Marlowe says this about the newspapers: "Their accounts of the affair came as close to the truth as newspaper stories usually come-as close as Mars is to Saturn" (118). This quote implies that the newspapers lie on a regular basis. The fact that the newspapers lie proves that Los Angeles at this time is full of dishonesty and corruption.The last example of how the society of 1930's is corrupt is how the individuals of Los Angeles are deceitful and evil. Carmen Sternwood is another daughter of the General and is a corrupt individual, if not simply a maniac. Her own father described her in this way: "Carmen is a child who likes to pull the wings off flies" (13). If her own father describes her in such a grotesque way than one can only imagine how wicked she actually is. Later in the story the reader finds how she killed a man because he didn't have sex with her. Although one can be deceived because she is seductive and beautiful Carmen is obviously one of the corrupt individuals of this society. Another example is Eddie Mars. Mars is a man...

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