Graham Greene: An Approach to the Novels

By Robert Hoskins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

The Strategy of Allusion in the Second Phase

In an earlier chapter I suggested that the first-phase protagonists moved, in novels extending from The Man Within to Brighton Rock, from insufficient distance to enormous distance from the author; the reversal of that tendency can be seen early in the second phase. In addition to the similarities in age and in their lost wives or failed marriages, the second-phase protagonists are much more like the author in that most of them are better educated than those of the first phase and are therefore capable of sharing the author's and reader's awareness of the literary frame, the context of allusion in which the narrative is cast. Pinkie, Raven, Drover, even Kate and Tony, most of the protagonists and/or reflectors in the first-phase novels are limited by their intellect (education, if not native intelligence) and are inadequate to articulate Greene's views with much subtlety. But D., who is a scholar, and the whisky priest, an educated man by definition even if dissolute, are capable of nuances and analyses the others cannot provide. Thus, there is no longer a need for radio voices like “Druce Winton” (Gun) or choral commentators like Prewitt (Brighton Rock) or the minister-poet and the Shakespeare scholar Professor Hammarsten (England Made Me): the literary sensibility is internalized. Rowe (a reader of Dickens), Martins (a writer of western novels), Bendrix (a more serious novelist), Fowler (a journalist), Querry (an architect), Brown (who acted in Romeo), Castle (who uses book codes in espionage),

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