The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The big room features East Asian decorations, similar to Geiger’s store, and Marlowe takes in every detail. Inside, Carmen is sitting on a throne-like chair, naked. She is awake but seems to not be mentally present. Geiger is dead, on his back, with three gunshot wounds. He has fallen right in front of a totem-pole-shaped camera. Marlowe realizes the flash of light must have come from the camera.
A recently murdered man lies on the floor and an intoxicated and undressed woman sits before the body, posing for an unorthodox camera. Chandler depicts this scandalous scene as not belonging in a morally upstanding American house, as represented in the foreign aesthetic. The totem pole camera equates such forms of sexuality with so-called primitive cultures, suggesting Carmen’s behavior debases her.
Themes
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Marlowe sees a jug filled with some sort of cocktail that has been left on the side with two glasses. Smelling ether and laudanum as he lifts the stopper out of the jug, Marlowe thinks the exotic drink matches Geiger’s usual tastes. The detective finds Carmen’s clothes and, in an attempt to bring her back to consciousness, he slaps her, dresses her, and makes her walk around the room. Still, she is vacant. She sees Geiger’s body and “giggle[s].”
In contrast with Geiger, Marlowe acts the perfect gentlemen, attempting to dress Carmen and bring her back to her senses. Geiger’s unconventional tastes disgust Marlowe, who draws a parallel between the abnormality of the exotic cocktail and Geiger’s immorality.
Themes
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Seeing that Carmen cannot be roused, Marlowe lays her on the divan and gathers her things. Marlowe checks the camera, but the plate holder is missing, which worries him. He searches the rest of the house, finding and taking Geiger’s keys as well as a notebook written in code. Marlowe carries the now unconscious Carmen out to her car and drives toward her home.
Doing his duty to a damsel in distress, who is also his client’s daughter, Marlowe again acts the perfect gentleman and sees Carmen home safely. Meanwhile, Geiger has many secrets, as his coded notebook emphasizes he has further misdeeds to hide from view.
Themes
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon