Brighton Rock

2188 Words9 Pages
How far would you say that the novel is not so much about Brighton as about Heaven and Hell? The choice of Brighton as a setting in the novel 'Brighton Rock' proves to be a well-drawn pitch for the action; for its atmosphere of constant bustle and goings on; for its close alignment with Pinkie and also as a metaphorical device for depicting the eternal realities of heaven and hell. Although the writer goes into detail about place names in the town (he mentions the Palace Pier, Montpellier road, the West Pier and the racetrack) the specific setting of Brighton appears to have little significance, as it could be any seaside town - "yesterday Southend, today Brighton, tomorrow" Greene's opening description of Brighton appears to be quite vulgar and this is represented through Hale's eyes, distancing himself from the bank holiday crowd he likens it to a "twisted piece of wire," uncoiling "endlessly past him." Hale removes all identity from the crowd, which appears only to exist as a collective to which individuals are surrendered. "With immense labour and immense patience they extricated from the long day the grain of pleasure" Greene indicates here how the crowd almost force themselves into a sense of enjoyment, as if this is the only diversion they know, Greene focuses on the extensive promenades and piers with amusements, sideshows and kiosks. The amusements are a series of clichs: ghost - trains and shooting galleries, paper hats and sticks of rock. A supposedly festive location, often by way of contrast (as here), proves highly effective for a story about evil and crime. On the day of the Whitsun bank holiday, though the sun shines there is a chill wind; the author uses pathetic fallacy as a metaphor... ... middle of paper ... ...enderness" stirring is introduced the author hints at his real feelings. The irony is however; Rose will never know this. Brighton provides the reader with an analogy for the potential for damnation and reprieve and a famous symbol of Brighton (and the book's title), Ida uses Brighton Rock, as a parallel for human nature. In response to Rose's desperate plea of "people change, he's changed" Ida replies: "Oh no they don't I've never changed. I'm like them sticks of Brighton rock, bite all the way down and it still reads Brighton. That's human nature." In the case of Pinkie, Ida would stand to be correct although this is a very fatalistic view suggesting that repentance is impossible and only people who have begun good stay good. This would imply that whether one is saved or damned by God depends on what he has determined in advance to be one's character.
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