The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Marlowe rushes home for a drink. As he steps into his apartment, he can sense that something is not right. He turns on the light, and sees Carmen in his bed.
The detective’s night is not over, even at home his defenses are instantly raised, as he notes things are not as they should be. Carmen is launching her own personal brand of attack on Marlowe.
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Marlowe turns on more lights and moves a knight on his chessboard. Meanwhile, Carmen is giggling from the bed. She tells him she is naked. She sweeps away the covers to reveal herself. He asks her how she got in, and she explains the manager let her in.
Carmen’s shameless attempt at seduction appears childish and naïve, especially as her efforts fall flat. Her giggly debauchery disgusts Marlowe, whose only concern is how his apartment’s security was breached.
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Exasperated, Marlowe tells Carmen to get dressed. He explains he has a professional duty to General Sternwood. Marlowe looks at his chessboard and moves the knight back.
Marlowe’s exasperation with Carmen reveals his wider exhaustion with the constant battle that is life amid the city’s moral decay. He sees that he, as a knight, cannot change the tide of this battle—his influence and power are too minor.
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Related Quotes
Walking into the kitchen to make a drink, Marlowe promises Carmen she can have a drink if she dresses herself. When he returns she is still not dressed. Marlowe pushes the point, and Carmen begins to hiss. She calls Marlowe a “filthy name.” 
Marlowe treats Carmen like a child, bribing her to behave properly. His attempt to guide her toward propriety contrasts with the lack of parenting in her life, as evident in her ridiculous, offensive behavior.
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Standing in his own house, surrounded by his few possessions, which nevertheless carry emotional meaning, Marlowe becomes angry. He threatens Carmen to dress and leave or he’ll throw her out naked. She storms out, and Marlowe sips his drink in peace. As she drives away, he rips apart his bed in fury.
Marlowe’s fury is slightly ridiculous in this scene, but reveals the strength of his reaction to Carmen’s perceived attack. Chandler includes this moment to portray Marlowe as staunchly opposed to immorality. 
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