The Big Sleep

“Grifter” is a slang term for a petty thief or low-ranking criminal. Joe Brody and Harry Jones are both examples of grifters. They both aspire to run their own racket. However, both Brody and Jones end up murdered in their respective attempts to step up in the criminal world. They are unwittingly caught up in a much more complex web than they imagined, and their limited intel and resources mean they cannot keep up with the leaders of L.A.’s criminal underworld.

Grifter Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Grifter or refer to Grifter. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 14 Quotes

“What?” the blonde yelped. “You sit there and try to tell us Mr. Geiger ran that kind of business right down on the main drag? You’re nuts!” I leered at her politely. “Sure I do. Everybody knows the racket exists. Hollywood's made to order for it. If a thing like that has to exist, then right out on the street is where all practical coppers want it to exist. For the same reason they favor red light districts. They know where to flush the game when they want to.”

Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Big Sleep quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 25 Quotes

She’s a grifter, shamus. I’m a grifter. We’re all grifters. So we sell each other out for a nickel.

Related Symbols: Money
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Big Sleep LitChart as a printable PDF.
The big sleep.pdf.medium

Grifter Term Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the term Grifter appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Harry Jones introduces his history as a grifter, at which Marlowe scoffs. Marlowe tells Jones to get to the point, saying he must... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
...and in love with Mona Mars, Eddie’s wife. The way Jones talks tells Marlowe the grifter has brains and the vocabulary to match. (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...herself, and will tell Marlowe where when she has the money, after all she’s a grifter too. Marlowe likes Jones’ manner, and agrees to the deal, but he needs to get... (full context)