In The Big Sleep, author Raymond Chandler features a straightforward, candid style to establish the quintessential detective story and effectively create the memorable and admirable protagonist of the novel, Philip Marlowe. .
Chandler's initial description of Marlowe immediately illustrates the author's style. "I was neat, clean, shaved, and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be" (3). These descriptions are direct and clearly answer any questions about the initial sketch of Marlowe. The sketch parallels one's idea of some traits of a detective: astute, honest, efficient, and confident. As there are no frills in his mannerisms, there are no frills in Chandler's style. The first description of Marlowe effectively establishes this parallelism.
The candid style continues as Marlowe arrives at the Sternwood Estate and meets the General. The description of the estate helps to construct the perfect detective story; there is something that is not quite right about it. Marlowe, upon entering into the foyer of the mansion, describes a stained-glassed panel.
"Showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree . . . he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn't seem to be really trying" (4). .
This passage has a twofold purpose: to convey a sense of the elusive mansion and to portray better the Marlowe's character; he is the knight who will save the damsel in distress later. Therefore, in a straightforward and direct manner, Chandler establishes the detective as the good guy of the novel, as is the case in many other detective novels. .
The author's direct style continues as Marlowe cleverly determines that Geiger is running a clandestine pornography business.