The Big Sleep: Point of View
“I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it” (Chandler 3). In The Big Sleep, a hardboiled crime novel published in 1939 by Raymond Chandler, the protagonist, Philip Marlowe, effectively relates to his audience through first person point of view. Although there are several benefits of third person point of view, in first person readers are able to engage in the story and feel apart of the investigation. Chandler does this by providing Marlowe’s thoughts and opinions about his encounters and experiences throughout the story. Through his narration, he appeals to ethos, pathos, utilizes description and dialogue to allow his readers to engage in the story more. Chandler’s method of crafting his novel through first person point of view and expressive characters allows his novel to connect with his readers in the late 1930s until today. In Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, his first person point of view allows readers to have an emotional connection to Marlowe, the protagonist. His thoughts allow us to understand his character and personality easier. For example, his opinions in the opening chapter about the stain-glassed panel over the Sternwood's door states, "...if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him"(Chandler 4). We are given access to Marlowe’s thoughts of the glass panel above the Sternwood’s door. Knowing his inner thoughts gives us readers a sense of credibility and relationship to the story. We know his likes and dislikes, and most importantly we know when he’s bluffing or being honest. Additionally, readers have access to Marlowe's insights and feelings toward each character he encounters. Since each character may have a vital role in the investigation, Marlowe's opinions on them are fundamental information to readers. In one instance, Marlowe enters the Sternwood's house and meets Carmen for the first time, "She was twenty or so, small and delicately put...
Cited: Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep. N.p.: Vintage, 1976. Print.
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