The Big Sleep


Raymond Chandler

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General Sternwood’s eldest daughter, Vivian Regan’s current husband, Rusty Regan, has been missing for some time at the start of the novel. When the General hires Philip Marlowe to investigate why Arthur Gwynn Geiger is blackmailing his younger daughter, Carmen, Mrs. Regan believes her father is trying to locate Rusty. She worries Marlowe will uncover the truth: that she hid Rusty’s body after Carmen shot him in a rage. Mrs. Regan had asked the disreputable Eddie Mars to help the sisters hide the body, and then kept Rusty’s death a secret from her father. Vivian is rich, beautiful, and “trouble,” according to Marlowe. Like the detective, she drinks heavily; she also regularly gambles at Mars’s casino. She tells Marlowe that she covered up Rusty’s murder to protect her father, so he would not know his blood is “rotten.” This image of decay symbolizes that of wider society, as even the elites are without morals or scruples.

Vivian Regan Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Vivian Regan or refer to Vivian Regan. 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
Chapter 11 Quotes

He didn’t know the right people. That’s all a police record means in this rotten crime-ridden country.

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Owen Taylor
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

I’ve done all my office permits—and maybe a good deal more—to save the old man from grief. But in the long run it can’t be done. Those girls of his are bound certain to hook up with something that can't be hushed, especially that little blonde brat. They ought not to be running around loose. I blame the old man for that.

Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

I wish old Sternwood would hire himself a soldier like you on a straight salary, to keep those girls of his home at least a few nights a week.

Related Symbols: Knights, Money
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“We’re his blood. That’s the hell of it.” She stared at me in the mirror with deep, distant eyes. “I don’t want him to die despising his own blood. It was always wild blood, but it wasn’t always rotten blood.”

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe, General Sternwood
Page Number: Book Page 148
Explanation and Analysis:

That makes you just a killer at heart, like all cops.

Related Characters: Vivian Regan (speaker), Philip Marlowe
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women. Women made me sick.

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Vivian Regan, Carmen Sternwood
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
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Vivian Regan Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Vivian Regan appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon that the General is a widower, with two “wild” daughters, the eldest of whom, Vivian, is currently married to an “ex-bootlegger” called Rusty Regan. The General admits to being friendly... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...describes as a gambler. Marlowe next asks whether the General’s daughters have their own money. Vivian has a little from her mother, while her younger sister Carmen is not yet old... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Mr. Norris informs Marlowe that Mrs. Vivian Regan wishes to meet him. Marlowe dislikes that the butler has interfered, but Norris responds... (full context)
Chapter 16
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...that night, and saw a Buick parked there. He checked and it was registered to Mrs. Regan. (full context)
Chapter 21
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...responds noncommittally, adding that General Sternwood would like to know where Rusty is, rather than Mrs. Regan. (full context)