Throughout the book The Big Sleep the character Marlowe is a detective working in Criminal Justice. This job seems to bring about a lot of stress to Marlowe, and in order to cope; he turns to drinking which relaxes him. Although he is an alcoholic he still is able to function and get his investigations done. He is a functional alcoholic who abuses alcohol constantly and has a great desire for it for various reasons. Some of the reasons that may be directly linked to Marlowe s abuse of alcohol boredom, psychological and or physical dependence and sometimes he drinks casually and socially.
But job- related stress is the main reason Marlowe turns to alcohol because there are times he is able to drink on the job, drinking helps him relax and cope with his job-related stress, and alcohol is the agent that helps him deal with those problems. One of the reasons that may cause Marlowe to turn to alcohol is his job. His job as an investigator sometimes turns stressful and alcohol helps him relax and get his mind off the job. Dealing with people and criminals constantly through out the day on the job can be stressful. Besides the fact that he must deal with Carmen s craziness, as the author describes her to be.
Marlowe at one moment states I went to bed full of whiskey and frustration. This shows us that he drinks to help deal with the frustration he goes through and whiskey helps him. Often times Marlowe drinks while working. Usually when socializing with someone. In a conversation with Eddie Mars Marlowe says I made myself a drink and was drinking it when the phone rang. In another situation while talking to Carmen he mentioned that he is going to go mix himself a drink and offers her one as well. After saying yes, Carmen and Marlowe drink together.
This is all taking place while Marlowe is on the job, again drinking to get his mind off of other things and relax. This shows that Marlowe is not just a social or casual drinker, he is an alcoholic and has some form of dependency to alcohol, not to mention a great tolerance as well. Marlowe recognizes this and drinks in front of people, with people while along, and he mentioned he doesn t care if anyone knows. When people are vulnerable Marlowe offers drinks and in most situations finds himself a drinking partner. Besides drinking at home, Marlowe drinking in his car. Even at a crime scene.
I went back to my car again and sat and sat. The top dripped on my knees and my stomach burned from the whiskey. In this case Marlowe drank out of boredom while on the job, waiting for someone. Moreover Marlowe s job in reality is stressful, as an investigator, Marlowes drinking problem does not interfere, and he makes it seem as if drinking is really a part of his job. When he was bored he turned to alcohol, when stress was present he turned to alcohol, when socializing he had alcohol, no matter where Marlowe was, or what he was doing, alcohol was a part of his life as well as a part of his job.
As he explains, I tried to go to sleep, but sleep didn t come. I got up and took a drink. This seems to be a necessity for him and his body requires the alcohol just to be able to go to sleep. Alcohol is part of his life. While on the job alcohol plays a major role for Marlowe. He drinks before work, he drinks while at work and he drinks after work to help him cope with stress and to help him relax and finally sleep. To help show this, an example of how important alcohol is to Marlowe, is that Marlowe even drinks while he is driving.
Putting him self as well as many other innocent people in danger. Alcohol makes Marlowe a careless person, with no worries of what he is doing to himself. All in all Marlowe is dependent on alcohol to get through his days. If he is working he will find a way or excuse to drink alcohol. For various reasons ranging from boredom to helping him cope with job related stress, Marlowe turns to alcohol. He showed some form of both physical and psychological dependence of alcohol. In one situation he needed alcohol to help him get the rest he needed, cause he could not go to sleep (Physical Dependence).
Alcohol helps him relax, even while at work, where he drinks socially or simply for the reason that he is bored. Marlowe s life functions around and off of alcohol, and sometimes turns violent towards weaker people usually women after drinking. He does not care what people think about him, and he does not care about other people. Which is expressed by his drinking, and driving, and abuse of women. Or if he continues to live life around alcohol he will end up in The Big Sleep.