A Passage with No Door: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory

A Passage with No Door: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder In Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory

Length: 1282 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Flashbacks. Depression. Anger. Intense energy directed to one narrow goal. Significant impairment in certain social or occupational situations. These are the hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, a mental illness caused by the experience of a violent or disturbing event. One man struggles to cope with the stress and anxiety of reliving the past, and he only barely survives the world as an inferno of pain, guilt, blame, and violence. To survive this, he succumbs to revenge and discovers an outlet: the extermination of priests. In Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, the lieutenant is not an inherently evil character, but a man ruined by his traumatic past and inner turmoil.
Throughout the novel, the lieutenant remains an enigma, his motives unclear, his mind mysterious, his past engulfed in shadow. For the reader, it is difficult to understand this cipher of a character. However, the architecture of the lieutenant’s characterization has been cleverly mapped out by Greene; one must only search for clues to comprehend what motivates and drives this tortured man. What those clues reveal is the lieutenant’s horrifying, damaged past. From his first entrance in the novel, the lieutenant stands out from the rest of the police force: he personifies confidence, discipline, order, and austerity. He announces to the Chief of Police that he shall execute any villagers standing in his way of hunting down the fugitive “whiskey priest.” These villagers are the very people the lieutenant wants to protect from the exploitation of the Catholic Church, embodied by this final living, breathing, practicing priest. The lieutenant’s hatred of priests is so fierce that he violates his principles and will murder the innocent to achieve...


... middle of paper ...


...overing the past, the reader finds his or her own ability to almost forgive the horrific actions of this tortured, abandoned, broken man. The lieutenant’s brutal memories are like a Chinese finger-trap: the more he wrestles against them to achieve redemption, the more he bleeds and loses sight of his humanity. This is a man on the verge of a breakdown, though he may be changed for the better by his encounter with the priest. In several instances, he tries to be a good man---“I am not a barbarian” (190), he says to the priest. Yet he murders in cold blood. Leaving the lieutenant’s past up to interpretation for the reader, and suggesting possible motives for his actions, Graham Greene utilizes his formidable writing skills to create a disturbed, psychologically conflicted character the reader will not soon forget.

Works Cited
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Summary Of ' When One Door Closes, By Alexander Graham

- “When one door closes, another opens” by Alexander Graham is a common phrase and Mrs.Mallard experiences the phrase as the news of the death of her husband forced her upon this path. Mrs.Mallard knows that the death of her husband is saddening but looks forward to the life she will live for herself where she will need to only look out for herself and no one else. Mrs. Mallard opens the windows as a sign of the new door and the freedom she will experience living for herself. Mrs.Mallard for the first time experiences freedom and see the world in a new perspective that she did not see before her husband 's supposed death....   [tags: The Cask of Amontillado, Nemo me impune lacessit]

Strong Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

The Teacher Will At The Door Essay

- • The teacher will greet the students at the door. • The teacher will say, “Remember yesterday when you completed a pre-assessment where you had to read a story and then try to find the theme?” • The teacher will say, “Well today we are going to really unpack the meaning of theme, how it works in a story, what it is, and exactly why it is important.” • The teacher will say, “So, to start off today we are going to be listening to a rap about theme as well as other story elements to introduce what we will be doing today and for the rest of the week!” • The teacher will say, “What I want you to do is listen to this rap and then on a piece of paper write down at least 2 interesting things that...   [tags: Learning, Education, A Story, Theme]

Strong Essays
1569 words (4.5 pages)

Graham Greene's The Human Factor Essay

- Graham Greene's The Human Factor "Love was a total risk. Literature had always so proclaimed it. Tristan, Anna Karenina, even the lust of Lovelace - he had glanced at the last volume of Clarissa [13]." People are torn apart from one another simply because of a lack of understanding or a difference in each individual's definition of life. The highest hopes, dreams, and aspirations of one person may be trivial in the eyes of another. The way that one would define love, good, and evil could very well be the exact opposite of another's definition....   [tags: Graham Greene Human Factor]

Strong Essays
1209 words (3.5 pages)

The Evolution of Door Handles Essay

- When it comes to opening a door there are many ways you can do it. You pull a handle, turn a knob, push it forwards, press a button or simply stand in front of it. It’s strange to think that the door, an object we are all familiar with hasn’t existed forever. The door opening mechanism has been around for amount of time, as the door knob was invented much later than the door itself. Before the door, there were simply openings. These openings let in everything from one space to another: people, light, sound, air, bugs, etc....   [tags: Doors, Openings, Knobs, Door Handles]

Strong Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Stress : Stress And Stress Essay

- Everyone has felt the weight of the world coming down on them at some point in their life. Whether they knew it or not this is a symptom of suffering from stress. Throughout this paper I will be discussing stress factors, types of stress, stress disorders and ultimately how to cope with stress. Stress can result in psychological, physiological, and sociological effects. By definition, stress is any uncomfortable "emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes.”(Baum 1990) There are three levels of stress; acute, episodic, and chronic....   [tags: Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress]

Strong Essays
902 words (2.6 pages)

William Franklin Graham Jr. Essay

- An influential leader, William Franklin Graham Jr. was born November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is known to be called Billy Graham. His parents are William and Morrow Graham. Graham is the oldest of four children and was raised on a farm. Graham’s parents were Calvinist so from the beginning, Graham was guided on a spiritual path. When Graham was 16 years old he sat in a meeting that evangelist Mordecai Ham speaking. In the meeting, Ham’s preaching of sin got through to Graham. After high school, Graham headed to Tennessee to be in a Christian school, named Bob Jones College....   [tags: Influential Leader, Biography, Billy Graham]

Strong Essays
1136 words (3.2 pages)

Rite of Passage Essay

- "…He posited ‘things’ as possessing being…No wonder he later always discovered in things only that which he had put into them!" – Nietzsche The Rites of passage are classically viewed as the method by which age-superior members of the society transmit new and powerful knowledge to the young as part of the initiation into a new state of being. Some initiations involve a tangible progression, from one occupation or status group to another. Other initiations are passages of an intangible nature, involving the acquisition of metaphysical knowledge and abilities....   [tags: Rites-of-passage]

Strong Essays
3905 words (11.2 pages)

Graham's Law Essay

- In chemistry and in physics, the movement of particles becomes very important. One way in which particles move is through effusion. The formula for the rate of effusion of gas molecules was developed by a chemist by the name of Thomas Graham in the 19th century. December 21, 1805�September 16, 1869. Thomas Graham was born in December of 1805 in Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a workman who desired that his son enter the Church of Scotland. However, Graham became a student at the University of Glasgow in 1819, where he became interested in the field of chemistry....   [tags: physics chemistry graham grahams law]

Free Essays
619 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Graham Swift's Waterland

- Graham Swift's Waterland In Graham Swift’s Waterland, Tom Crick says, “Children, it was one of your number, a curly-haired boy called Price… who once… asserted roundly that history was ‘a fairy-tale’… ‘What matters… is the here and now. Not the past… The only important thing about history, I think, sir, is that it’s got to the point where it’s probably about to end’”(6,7). It is very likely that we all have come to a point in our education, at one time or another, where we have encountered sentiments similar to those of Price....   [tags: Waterland Graham Swift Essays]

Strong Essays
1160 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Workplace Stress

- Three out of every four American workers describe their work as stressful. According to the Holmes-Rahe Life Events Scale, which rates levels of stress, many of the most stressful events in life are related to the workplace. Some examples are firings, business readjustments and changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, a switch to a different line of work, trouble with the boss, changes in work hours or conditions, retirement and vacations. Workplace stress costs American employers an estimated $200 billion per year in lower productivity, absenteeism, staff turnover, workers' compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses....   [tags: Job Stress]

Strong Essays
1873 words (5.4 pages)