Essay about Sinner is the Saint in The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Essay about Sinner is the Saint in The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Length: 1083 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Sinner is the Saint in The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene



The conflicts surrounding moral responsibility are outlined in Graham
Greene's 1948 novel, The Heart of the Matter. The story outlines the
plight of a man of principle who is unable to fulfill his
responsibilities to himself, his wife, and God. Scobie, an upright
assistant commissioner for the police, has little promise of
improvement facing life with a small income, few friends, and a
malcontent wife. As he becomes further trapped in his situation, he
must choose between upholding religious and moral values or following
his heart. Scobie's futile attempts to please everyone lead to
damnation of his soul and his inevitable suicide.

Scobie?s initial character changed a great deal to become the man at
the end of the story. As a police officer, Scobie demonstrated
complete obedience to the laws he served under, and this attitude was
carried over into other aspects of his life. He was a man dictated by
rule, so he defined his life by his responsibilities. He felt he
controlled the happiness of his wife, Louise, and it was his duty to
love her. In religion, he followed all the Catholic values and
procedures, which he adopted for Louise. At this stage of Scobie?s
progression, seen in the beginning of the novel, he is only corrupted
by the lack of love in his life because of the loss of his daughter.
This event marked the beginning of the decomposition of his healthy
marriage to a dry relationship. The absence of his pure love for his
daughter caused Scobie to become more focused on his duties.

Scobie?s stern structure for living is shaken up as he progresses
towards his demise. His faith in his religion starts to seem as
though he is sim...


... middle of paper ...


...le room and
he couldn?t remember what it was that he had to be sorry for.? (p.
265)

Scobie?s culpability and emotional torture is proven to be in vain at
the end of the novel as both the women in his life have other men at
their side, neither his immature mistress nor his pious spouse was
worth his sacrifice.

Greene strongly establishes the view that love leads to sin in The
Heart of the Matter. This book illustrates the confusion of a Catholic
man as he is torn between the obligation to his wife and the oath to a
piteous young woman. The sympathy and responsibility he feels for
every other person but himself leads him to commit sins and destroy
himself. Scobie is a man tormented by the impossibility to live up to
the dictates of his religion, wife, and heart.

Works Cited:

Greene, Graham. The Heart Of The Matter. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Quiet American By Graham Greene And For Whom The Bell Tolls Essay

- War, love, race, and the meaning of life all play huge roles in The Quiet American by Graham Greene and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The depiction of Americans intertwined with the themes of war, love, race, and the meaning of life are quite similar, but at the same time very different. In Greene’s novel the depiction of Americans is seen through Alden Pyle who is young, inexperienced, naive, and careless. Alternatively Hemingway’s American character Robert Jordan is Pyle’s complete opposite being that he’s experienced and aware of the actions he does....   [tags: Graham Greene, The Quiet American]

Strong Essays
1523 words (4.4 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 Signficance of Violence in Graham Greene's The Destructors Essay

- The Signficance of Violence in Graham Greene's The Destructors In serious fiction, no act of violence exists for its own sake. Graham Green, in his short story “The Destructors,” reveals certain intangible needs met through one central act of violence. One need we all have as humans is the need to be creative, to express ourselves, to use our imagination. All little boys use their imaginations, which is based on what they see in their environment, whether that be television or their own neighborhood....   [tags: Graham Greene The Destructors]

Strong Essays
787 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Henry Graham Greene's Life and Accomplishments

- An English writer that went by the name of Henry Graham Greene, once quoted, “The truth has never been of any real value to any human being. It is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.” Graham Greene’s work explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. He was a truly an interesting man, as well as an author with an exotic tone for settings in part of the world. Foremost, Graham Greene was born on October 2, 1904, in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, in England....   [tags: henry greene, man within, stamboul train]

Strong Essays
913 words (2.6 pages)

Power and Powerlessness of Individuals in ‘Brighton Rock and ‘The Third Man by Graham Greene

- Power and Powerlessness of Individuals in ‘Brighton Rock and ‘The Third Man by Graham Greene The "Third Man" and "Brighton Rock" are texts that share similar characteristics in the sense that there are three central characters in both storylines. The characters can also be matched between the texts. Pinkie Brown is similar to Harry Lime, Holly Martins is similar to Ida Arnold and Rose is similar to Anna. The relationships between the characters are also similar. The characters of Pinkie/Harry are the ‘villains' in their separate stories....   [tags: Compare Contrast Graham Greene ]

Free Essays
1422 words (4.1 pages)

Greene's Exploration of the Paradox ofThe Sinner is Often the Saint Essay example

- Greene's Exploration of the Paradox ofThe Sinner is Often the Saint "The Sinner is often the Saint" - In order to come to terms with this paradox the reader must be aware of the definitions of the words 'sinner' and 'saint'. As it is understood today, a 'saint' is one who transgresses God's known will. Greene uses the character of Scobie in his novel 'The Heart of the Matter' to explore the paradox in the above statement. However, once the reader is quite aware of these definitions, it can be said that Scobie is a mixture of both, and this concept is implied implicitly through the paradox itself....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1744 words (5 pages)

Essay on Relationships, Love and Death in Graham Greene's Stories

- Greene's notion of life as a moral drama is reflected in his treatment of death and dying in the novels. His main characters usually meet sudden and violent ends, but their aftermaths or deaths are almost always accompanied by hints of hope. Through his treatment of his characters' deaths, he makes known the nature of that great gap he finds between the actuality of life in the world, with its disappointments and limitations, and the possibility of infinite life. Greene's characteristic methods of describing death emphasize its ambiguity....   [tags: Graham Greene, Short Stories]

Strong Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Historical Influences on Graham Greene Essay

- During World War II, countries like Britain used English authors as spies to receive information from other countries (O'Conner, Thomas P. "The Dangerous Edge - 1." YouTube. YouTube, 12 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014). Graham Greene was one of these undercover spies along with other authors like Kim Philby (Butcher, Tim. "Graham Greene: Our Man in Liberia." History Today, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014). In this process, Greene voyaged his way to Africa to witness the slave trading in Liberia (Butcher, Tim....   [tags: English authors, undercover spies WWII]

Strong Essays
1220 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory

- Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory   In Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, setting is essential in understanding the spiritual conquest of the main character. The story takes place in post-revolution Mexico of the nineteen-thirties, where Catholicism has been banned. The government has shut down all of the churches and established anti-Catholic laws, jealous of the rising power of the church, and nervous of the corrupt ways in which the church has been dealing with sin. The main character, a nameless "whiskey priest," hopelessly roams the desolate plains of southern Mexico, on the run from the law, as the only priest left who has not denounced his fatherhood....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1504 words (4.3 pages)

Graham Greene Essay

- Graham Greene was a contemporary novelist who took on important subjects and still "enjoyed immense popularity". The source of this popularity was probably his readability (Jones 1). Graham Greene incorporated his beliefs of Roman Catholicism and experiences into his writing style, characters, and themes throughout his work. Born in October of 1904, Graham was the fourth of six children of Charles Henry Greene and Marion Raymond Greene (Diemert 2). Because his father became the headmaster at Berkhamsted College (1910), Graham was moved out of the family residence to the boarders' residence at thirteen....   [tags: Novelists ]

Strong Essays
1440 words (4.1 pages)