Graham Greene Brighton Rock Essay

It was fights on the beach between the Mods and the Rockers, though the bottles and knives and motorbikes had all but disappeared a quarter-century before. I was teaching in England the year after graduation and, while seeking escape from my classroom ineptitude and those nagging existential matters that come with being 22, the seaside resort became for me what it had been for generations of middle-income and working-class Britons: a day-trip haven from daily cares; a cheap dalliance with sunshine, ocean breezes, romantic possibility and the limits of one’s own imagination. Brighton for me was The Who singing , most of which I’d heard them perform live in London that year.

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Greene’s Brighton is a seedy, blighted bookie’s city with a horse track at its hub. No one means anything to him; he means nothing but fear to anyone. Both teenagers seek transcendence in everything but spirit — brutal experience has taught them that salvation is yet another luxury they cannot afford.

Protection rackets are the leading industry and a Capone-style gangster is effectively mayor. Maybe this isn’t the book for you, but Greene had me hooked from the opening line: “Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.” Wandering through the beachfront holiday crowds under a travel-writer’s pseudonym, Charles Hale, a reporter, slips from tearoom to barroom, secreting away his business cards as part of his newspaper’s scheme to lure in readers with promises of cash prizes to anyone who recognizes him. Seeking a way out of the hopelessness of her own home, Rose wants for everything.

Losing the religion is a pity; I wonder, what’s the point?

On the other hand, one recent Catholic review called a book about hell. Greene doesn’t reveal the abyss merely to confront us with the last things, but rather, I think, to contemplate the interminable wrestling of God’s grace with our despair.

It was the West Pier with its magnificent Victorian dance hall, severed from the beach by violent storms and left to rot as a tantalizing and expensive perch for gulls who could alight the moment the whole thing collapsed into the sea — or burst into flames, as it would in 2003.

I went as a pop-culture tourist and got most of what I was looking for, though I don’t recall seeing anything that looked like the rock Jimmy clings to at the end of Pete Townshend’s rock opera.

The amusements are a series of clichs: ghost - trains and shooting galleries, paper hats and sticks of rock.

A supposedly festive location, often by way of contrast (as here), proves highly effective for a story about evil and crime. ...enderness" stirring is introduced the author hints at his real feelings. Brighton provides the reader with an analogy for the potential for damnation and reprieve and a famous symbol of Brighton (and the book's title), Ida uses Brighton Rock, as a parallel for human nature.

It is decidedly not a declaration of undying love — a fact made clear by Pinkie’s second gift, a kind of time bomb that will still be ticking in the novel’s final page. If I’d thought that by reading a Graham Greene novel I might unravel the unanswered mysteries of and Jimmy’s version of Brighton rock, I gained instead something far more interesting — a brilliant novelist’s take on how one believer’s religious insight may, turned slightly, become another’s moral blindness; on how tightly interwoven in our religious imagination are life and death, judgment and mercy, salvation and doom.

But like Ida Arnold, who, in the absence of police interest, goes after Pinkie motivated by some combination of conscience, fair play, personal amusement and compassion for a girl whose resilience matches her own, Pinkie and Rose have choices, and they make them.

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