The Big Sleep: Point of View

Topics: Raymond Chandler, Crime fiction, Hardboiled Pages: 4 (1504 words) Published: June 10, 2013
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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Dine, S.S. Van. ""Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories"(1928)." Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories (1928) by S.S. Van Dine. N.p., Sept. 1928. Web. 12 May 2013. . Based off the practice of other writers, Van Dine, an art critic and detective novelist, lists a statement of beliefs that guide novelist to what a detective novel should consist of. Originally published in American Magazine in 1928, the online webpage challenges the conventions of the genre through a credo of rules that each detective novelist must consider. In order to suggest his criteria’s, Dine numerically lists each asset that novelist must contain in their works, from secret societies to a method of murders. His article can apply to many new detective novelist or fans of novels with an affinity for hard-boiled detective novels. Dine’s overall purpose is to set standards for new detective novels and educate new coming novelist.
Griggers, Cody. "Marlowe Is THE MAN." Criticism & Scholarship. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. .
Wiehardt, Ginny. "First Person Point of View." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. .
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