The Big Sleep

Mona Mars Character Analysis

The wife of racketeer Eddie Mars, Mona tells herself that her criminal husband doesn’t have blood on his hands. Mona hides after the disappearance of Rusty Regan to support Eddie’s lie that she and Rusty ran off together. In reality, Eddie helped Mrs. Regan hide Rusty’s body after her younger sister, Carmen Sternwood, killed him. When private detective Philip Marlowe finds Mona’s hiding place, she helps him escape Eddie’s hired thug Lash Canino. Marlowe calls her “Silver-Wig,” after the wig she wears to hide her cropped hair, which she cut off to prove her loyalty to Eddie.

Mona Mars Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Mona Mars or refer to Mona Mars. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Big Sleep published in 1939.
Chapter 20 Quotes

He’s got friends in town, or he wouldn’t be what he is.

Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 21 Quotes

Eddie Mars would have been very unlikely to involve himself in a double murder just because another man had gone to town with the blonde he was not even living with … If there had been a lot of money involved, that would be different. But fifteen grand wouldn't be a lot of money to Eddie Mars. He was no two-bit chiseler like Brody.

Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 28 Quotes

Once outside the law you’re all the way outside. You think he’s just a gambler. I think he’s a pornographer, a blackmailer, a hot car broker, a killer by remote control, and a suborner of crooked cops. He’s whatever looks good to him, whatever has the cabbage pinned to it. Don’t try to sell me on any high-souled racketeers. They don’t come in that pattern.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Eddie Mars, Mona Mars
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 30 Quotes

Being a copper I like to see the law win. I'd like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, alongside of the poor little slum-bred hard guys that got knocked over on their first caper and never had a break since. That’s what I’d like. You and me both lived too long to think I’m likely to see it happen. Not in this town, not in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U.S.A. We just don’t run our country that way.

Related Characters: Captain Al Gregory (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Eddie Mars, Mona Mars
Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mona Mars Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Mona Mars appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Smiling, Mrs. Regan says Eddie ought to help her out as Mars’s wife ran away with her husband Rusty. Marlowe is uninterested, saying he doesn’t think Rusty is... (full context)
Chapter 13
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe asks Mars how Mars’s missing wife is. Annoyed, Mars tells Marlowe to leave, and not to mention his name in any... (full context)
Chapter 20
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...but no one saw him leave. The car was later found in a private garage, Eddie Mars’s wife ’s garage. It seems they disappeared around the same time. (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Marlowe asks for a photo of Eddie Mars’s wife , but the police don’t have one. Gregory offers Marlowe a picture of Rusty instead.... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Gregory’s theory is Mars’s wife and Regan ran off together, as they never found her car. As such, he says... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...little more, and asks if he really thinks Eddie Mars killed both his own wife (Mona) and Rusty. Marlowe agrees with Gregory that the two missing people likely ran away together. (full context)
Chapter 21
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...Gregory that Mars is probably too smart to kill both Rusty and his own wife (Mona) out of jealousy. (full context)
Chapter 25
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
...Marlowe doesn’t believe him. Jones says Regan was a good man and in love with Mona Mars, Eddie’s wife. The way Jones talks tells Marlowe the grifter has brains and the... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
For the $200, Jones tells Marlowe he can tell him where Mona Mars is now. That gets Marlowe’s attention. Jones says Mona never ran off with Rusty,... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
...Marlowe then sits in his office thinking it through, wondering why Captain Gregory hadn’t found Mona yet. Maybe he hadn’t tried, he wonders, as the rain falls. (full context)
Chapter 27
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Agnes recounts seeing Mona Mars driving with Canino in the car a couple weeks ago. Agnes was with Joe... (full context)
Chapter 28
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Mona Mars doesn’t like it when Marlowe tells her he knows who she is. She says... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Marlowe takes in the room as he tells Mona that Eddie killed Rusty. She asserts that Eddie isn’t like that. Marlowe accuses her of... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Mona becomes angry, repeating that Eddie is not a killer. Marlowe says Eddie orders Canino to... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Mona leaves the room and returns with a knife. She cuts the ropes holding Marlowe down,... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe can stand but still has his hands cuffed behind his back. He tells Mona to leave with him, but she tells him not to waste time. He calls her... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe tries to convince “Silver-Wig” to go with him, but she won’t. The detective warns Mona that Canino might kill her, but she says she’s still his boss’s wife. Marlowe says... (full context)
Chapter 29
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...Art as he goes back to his car in the pouring rain. He thinks about Mona, who hid to protect Eddie, whom she loves. He also thinks through how Canino likely... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
The front door opens, and Mona steps out, with Canino holding a gun to her back. Mona screams and says she... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...him. Marlowe shoots him four times and Canino falls to the ground, dead. Standing near Mona now, Marlowe begins to laugh maniacally. Mona asks if he had to kill Canino, stopping... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...has heard all about Marlowe’s encounter with Canino. The Captain asks who told Marlowe where Mona was hiding, and Marlowe tells him about Jones. Gregory says maybe he ought to have... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Gregory says maybe he left Eddie and Mona to “play a little game like that.” Marlowe says he hadn’t thought about that, even... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...that Regan will likely appear sometime soon. The Captain explains that Eddie confessed to hiding Mona to the police the previous night, but Eddie had said he hadn’t realized that Canino... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...smart” by telling the police everything about his encounter with Canino. Marlowe explains he and Mona had filed statements and the police let Mona go.  (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...back to the previous night, when he had driven to District Attorney Wilde’s place with Mona and told the police the whole story. He had taken them to Jones’s office to... (full context)
Chapter 32
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...Rusty was and didn’t want the police to find out, which is why he hid Mona to create a useful diversion. Mrs. Regan says she’s bored. (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...his bed. Once back in town, Marlowe hits a bar and drinks Scotch, thinking about Mona(full context)