By M. Roston
Seeing that Greene intentionally misled biographers and interviewers, Roston focuses upon the texts themselves and their manipulation of reader reaction, highlighting the cutting edge innovations that Greene constructed to deal with the mid-century invalidation of the normal hero and the aptitude hostility of readers to his advocacy of Catholicism. the result's a stimulating new interpreting of the key novels.
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Additional info for Graham Greene's Narrative Strategies: A Study of the Major Novels
It reveals how much he longs to take that course, to disclose his identity and save the others, but is prevented by the responsibility of his priestly office. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-15 34 the fields. Take me’ (p. 76). But that is the furthest he may go, for a reason that may seem far-fetched to a non-Catholic but was of central significance to the church. For were he to reveal himself as a priest, he would be depriving of eternal salvation any peasant preferring death to betraying him.
That act of courage he sees dismissively as arising from pride, an evaluation that no sensitive reader can accept. Moreover, there emerges at this point a major distinction between the new anti-hero and the conventional, often unbelievable heroes of the past who faced all dangers unafraid, secure in their knowledge of the rectitude of their actions. Instead, the priest is lonely and fearful, desperately needing to bolster his courage by an occasional sip of brandy, a practice that slowly takes its hold upon him (‘I began to drink’).
The humility of the priest could create an impression of complacency, a suspicion that he is aware at some subdued level that his actions could lead to his own martyrdom and glory. Even a hint of such self-interest on the priest’s part could militate against his effectiveness in the novel. Greene employs two methods of dealing with the problem, the first, less important, is the priest’s genuine incredulity at any mention of his candidacy for martyrdom, a fear, indeed, that, were he to be caught and executed, dying in the name of his religion and thereby qualifying as a martyr if only technically, such status would bring shame instead of honour on the church.