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

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

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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. He intensifies the focus of his narrative on the person for
whom death is imminent. For example, at end of the short story Brother
we come across a setting of danger, damage and death, typical of
Greene. The context of the story is Paris during WW1. A café
proprietor is afraid when six communists enter his coffee shop asking
for drinks. Two of them, a man and a young lady do not speak
throughout the whole account but sit in a corner of the café. The
young man is severely wounded and intimacy between him and the young
lady misleads the proprietor into believing them lovers but later he
learns they are in fact brother and sister. In contrast to the owner
is the billiard player who seems oblivious to the danger around him.
The billiard game, parallel to the events, makes sense when, in the
end the communists (red) that initially meant danger, in fact,
suggested safety corresponding with the billiard player who plays on
the red ball to place it in the safe of the billiard table. The final
twist in the story is the fact that the owner finds the young man dead
in the cellar after the shoot out. Even worse, the young man is found
in deepest and darkest part of the café. In spi...

... middle of paper ...

...mes are again marriage,
love and lust. The issue is however, presented in a more challenging
and provocative situation. The final stage of the work is the effect
of the strange experience on the couple. Mrs. Carter, as expected,
shows interest in wanting to know more. Mr. Carter, on the other hand,
opts to be dismissive. The end of this account is rather tragic. Mrs.
Carter is implacable in her desire and while she screams in what is
supposed to suggest orgasmic passion and afterwards talks excitedly,
ironically Mr. Carter feels he has betrayed that night.

In some cases, the characters' own viewpoint is more pessimistic than
that of the people who knew him. The question posed and left
unanswered concerns the character's ability to love, and Greene's
message is always the same: it is our human capacity to love which
both leads us into sin and redeems us.

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