Instruments of Grace: For Novelist Graham Greene and His Characters, Corruption Could Be a Path to Salvation
Davis, Deryl, Sojourners Magazine
Graham Greene always liked the idea of damnation. His contemporary George Orwell joked that, in Greene's view, hell was little more than a "high-class nightclub" for distinguished sinners. Throughout the late English writer's long career (Greene's centennial was celebrated last year), he depicted many characters who viewed, and perhaps justified, their own sin as a vehicle for connecting to others. It was corruption that seemed to give the world a kind of identity, even a uniting principle. His characters lived and understood themselves in a fallen world where martyrdom was often the cost of salvation. No wonder Greene took French writer (and fellow Catholic) Charles Peguy's famous observation to heart that it is sinners and saints who best understand Christianity. In the existential landscape known as "Greeneland," the two are inverses of each other, both attesting to the stricken state of creation itself.
The sinners far outnumber the saints in Greene's work, however, and even those sometimes perceived to be saints, such as the policeman Scobie in The Heart of the Matter, are in reality very fallible creatures. (Greene himself said that Scobie had been "corrupted by pity," a kind of misplaced …
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Publication information: Article title: Instruments of Grace: For Novelist Graham Greene and His Characters, Corruption Could Be a Path to Salvation. Contributors: Davis, Deryl - Author. Magazine title: Sojourners Magazine. Volume: 34. Issue: 7 Publication date: July 2005. Page number: 38+. © 2008 Sojourners. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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