Carmen Sternwood – The Big Sleep

This essay centers on Carmen Sternwood from Raymond Chandlers novel, The Big Sleep. Carmen is best known as the spoilt notorious daughter of a sick wealthy retired General. In this book Carmen is simply a confused girl. One minute she’s acting innocent, sucking her thumb and the next she’s pulling a trigger and killing someone. Carmen has an elder sister named Vivian who’s very smart, sexy and fanciful.

One can attribute Carmen’s instability to the fact that she has to measure up to her sister and she is not perfect in her father’s eyes. She tries to lure Marlowe, a detective hired by her father, to bed and when he turns her down she shoots at him. She also kills her sister’s husband, Rusty Regan because he rejected her sexual advances. Although Carmen seems like a spoiled murderess that kills her own sisters’ husband, she is just an innocent young girl looking to move from under her sisters’ shadow and be loved. Carmen seems to be lacking love and affection. On Marlowes first visit to their house she flirted with him, ‘ “Handsome too,” she said. “And I bet you know it.

” ’ (Chandler 6). She didn’t mean any harm; she was just being flirtatious. The Sternwood women are known for the flirtatiousness after all; ‘ “Neither of them has any more moral sense than a cat. Neither do I. No Sternwood ever had. Proceed.

” ’(Chandler 13). One might interpret it differently.Her loneliness was quite obvious, even Marlowe noticed. “You ought to wean her. She looks old enough.” He told the butler (Chandler 7). That was Marlowe’s first time of meeting Carmen. Carmen suffers rejection from Marlowe and tries to kill him the way she killed Rusty Regan.

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Marlowe and Carmen flirted a couple of times in this novel.Marlowe tells her to wait for him at her home and mentions his dancing girl tattoo on his thigh. That’s the reason why Carmen misunderstands him. ‘ “Go on home and wait for me,” I said soothingly…