By Neil McEwan (auth.)
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Extra resources for Graham Greene
He is evil. Brighton Rock was to be inspired by Greene's belief that evil people are more real than commonplace 'innocents'. The beginnings of such an assertion can be seen in Stamboul Train. Far from thinking the best of people, Opie cannot imagine the quality of such a man as Czinner and that limitation seems connected with his blandness when he chats about cricket withJosefGriinlich. There are further sad ironies at the expense of English assumptions of superiority to foreigners (there is a refrain of 'can't understand these foreigners' among the humbler characters from the start) in the final chapter, set in Early Novels 31 Constantinople.
The first of them, Stamboul Train (1932), mixes comic scenes with disasters, and sets innocent and complacent English characters against a background of tragedy to which the eastern-European hero belongs. It's a Battlefield (1934) insists unremittingly on the ghastly fates of its characters; its only jokes are deliberately unfunny. England Made Me ( 1935), also emphatically indignant, is a better book for its mournful comedy, although no less pessimistic than the earlier novels, or those which were to follow.
68 The immediate background to this one is in the context. 'Perhaps' brings out the sense of wanting to resign: the believer's dissatisfaction with God's ways. Further distances of meaning occur in Brighton Rock ( 1938), The Power and the Glory ( 1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948) and The End of the Affair (1951), novels which invite the label 'Catholic novelist' because they look at the chaplain's aphorism from distinctly Catholic, although idiosyncratic, points of view. Many modern writers who have resigned by ceasing to believe explore the 'absurdity' of a world without God.