Study Guide

The Big Sleep Chapter 24

By Raymond Chandler

Chapter 24

  • Marlowe returns to his apartment and smells a woman's perfume in the air. Lying in his bed is none other than Carmen Sternwood. Naked. Again. 
  • It's not a bad night for Mr. Marlowe, or as he sarcastically puts it, "The Sternwood girls were giving me both barrels that night" (24.15). Um, ew?
  • The manager had let Carmen in because she claimed that Marlowe wanted her to wait for him in his apartment.
  • Marlowe walks over to his chessboard and moves his knight. The sound of Carmen's giggling grates on his nerves (and ours).
  • In a repeat of his behavior toward Vivian, Marlowe also refuses Carmen's flirtations and tells her to get dressed. He looks down again at the chessboard and realizes that he had made the wrong move with his knight. 
  • Carmen begins to make the strange hissing noise again as Marlowe continues to insist that she put her clothes on. She doesn't begin dressing herself until Marlowe threatens to throw her out in the hall naked.
  • When Carmen finally leaves in a huff, Marlowe looks in disgust at the imprint of her body on his bed and tears the sheets off angrily.