Compare & Contrast: The Big Sleep

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Compare & Contrast (The Big Sleep) The Sternwood Sisters The story of the Sternwood sisters is like a trip down a hall of mirrors. What you see isn’t really what’s in front of you. They choose to show a twisted version of themselves to the outside world. Nobody is really who they seem to be in Old Los Angeles, a seedy city, corrupt and dirty. In one of the beginning chapters of the story we get a slight peek at the old mans daughters. During his first interview with Philip Marlow inside the greenhouse he describes both of his daughters as follows: Vivian is spoiled, exacting, smart and quite ruthless. Carmen is a child who likes to pull wings off flies. Neither of them has anymore moral sense than a cat. Neither have I. No Sternwood ever had... The green house contains misleadingly beautiful orchid flowers, which are an analogy for the Generals deceptively beautiful daughters. General Sternwood knows they are both: young, beautiful, and spoiled. However he doesn’t face the fact that, like the flowers, they too give off a nasty “rotten” perfume. In this sense the Sternwood daughters, especially young Miss Carmen, are much more wicked than they appear to be. Both sisters where fathered by a man that did not have morals, and a man already late in life. This means that all the General’s bad habits would be imprinted onto his two daughters. Without a father figure to guide them, they learned all they know from the “circle” of people they hang out with. They would both learn how to handle their own unique sexual appeal and how to use it to their own advantage. One uses her beautiful looks as if she where in a game of chess, getting men in power to bend to her will. And the other uses it like bait at the end of a fishing line, just
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