The novels of Graham Greene: a study of the essential I.

Ottenheimer, Gerald R. (1960) The novels of Graham Greene: a study of the essential I. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The eight novels of Graham Greene offer the reader a penetrating and provocative analysis of certain themes particularly significant for the present age. Still their significance does not stop there. The recurring themes of Greene’s novels are not only contemporary but span the questions and problems inherent in human existence. -- The Man Within, It’s a Battlefield, and England Made Me deal, to a large extent, with the question of identity. Most of Greene’s characters are utterly introspective. In their search for the nature and meaning of the self, they achieve the painful but necessary goal of self knowledge. -- The publication of Brighton Rock marks a broadening and deepening of Greene’s talent. Relentless self-analysis is still present but, more and more, Greene’s characters are viewed sub specie aeternitatis. This does not mean that the natural man is overlooked. The flesh with all its needs and pains is glaringly present in all of Greene’s work. For Greene, however, human acts have both a temporal and an eternal value. -- The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair mark Green’s most creative period. These three novels offer variations on the theme of love. Love as manifested in religion, marriage, adultery, and parenthood is skillfully examined. Love is a redeeming force in Greene’s novels but it offers no universal solution to unravelling the knot of life. Although love has God as its source, it may become contaminated in the slush of the world and the flesh. -- In The Quiet American Greene makes explicit ideas which were previously implied in his novels. The theme of personal involvement in and personal responsibility for the human condition forms a backdrop for much of his writing. In The Quiet American the theme is explicitly examined. Perhaps for this reason the novel is less convincing that its immediate predecessors. -- Considered as a whole Greene’s work is an examination of the relationship between the two realities of God and man. Greene is an observer of life. His observations constitute a sensitive testimony to the worth of human effort.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11185
Item ID: 11185
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 107-109.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1960
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Greene, Graham, 1904-1991

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