Possible Essay Questions
Discuss the ending of The Maltese Falcon and whether or not you think it is artistically and emotionally satisfying.
Consider the Flitcraft story that Spade tells O'Shaughnessy at the beginning of Chapter Seven in The Maltese Falcon. Do you find this story relevant to the rest of the book? If so, in what way? If not, why not?
Identify three of your favorite Philip Marlowe metaphors from The Big Sleep. (Include the page on which the metaphor occurs.) Explain why the metaphor is effective. Does it help reveal something about the plot context? Does it help reveal something about Marlowe--about one of the other characters?
The Maltese Falcon is written in the third person point of view. The Big Sleep is written in the first person point of view. Which point of view do you think is most effective? Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
Discuss how your ideas of detective fiction have changed from your reading this semester and/or how your views of reading have changed. You may discuss either positive or negative changes—or both. Be as specific as possible in developing your response.
Write a brief essay in which you summarize the career, style and achievements of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.