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The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep

  

by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep Sexuality and Sexual Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

[S]he lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theater curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.

"Are you a prize fighter?" she asked, when I didn't. (1.14-15)

Carmen's attempt to flirt with Marlowe doesn't seem to be having much of an effect. Despite the fact that Carmen is extremely beautiful, Marlowe doesn't allow himself to be seduced. Smart move, Phil.

Quote #2

She tilted towards me on her toes. She fell straight back into my arms. I had to catch her or let her crack her head on the tessellated floor. (1.22)

Ah, the classic damsel in distress routine. Pretty damsel starts to feel lightheaded. Pretty damsel faints. Knight in shining armor catches her right before she falls to the ground. Except this is all turned on its head when we learn that Carmen's no chaste damsel. And Marlowe, though he may catch her here, is not exactly a perfect knight, either.

Quote #3

She approached me with enough sex appeal to stampede a businessman's lunch and tilted her head to finger a stray, but not very stray, tendril of softly glowing hair. (4.3)

The blonde bombshell in this passage is Agnes (before we realize it's Agnes—she's just the unnamed cashier girl at Geiger's bookstore at this point). Women in this novel are portrayed as sexually alluring and dangerous. But Marlowe's reactions are always the same. He doesn't fall for their feminine charms. Notice also Marlowe's use of sarcastic witticisms to describe (and subtly mock) Agnes' "sex appeal."

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