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- The Power and the Glory Study Guide
- Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory:A Religious Study of a Troubled Psyche
- Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory:A Religious Study of a Troubled Psyche
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. A local dentist Mr. Tench came to the landing stage, as there he had to receive from the captain some nitrogen for his cabinet. There he met a stranger who asked whether Mr.
The Power and the Glory Study Guide
A victim to boredom, melancholy and disgust from an early age, he wonders if life is worth living and attempts at suicide. Yet, years later, his pessimistic outlook undergoes a change. Sick and lost in Liberia, he comes to discover in himself "a thing [he] thought [he] had never possessed: a love of life" 7Greene, moreover, emphasizes:… a discovery which interested me.
I had always assumed before, as a matter of course, that death was desirable. It seemed that night an important discovery. It was like a conversion, and I had never experienced a conversion before I had not been converted to a religious faith. I had been convinced in the probability of its creed.
The secular and empty world of The Power and the Glory finds its best expression in a passage too long to quote in full he uses as an epigraph to his novel,The Lawless Roads , from Newman:What shall be said to this heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact? I can only answer, that either there is no Creator, or this living society of men is in a true sense discarded from His presence … if there be a God , since there is a God , the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity.
Human nature is not black and white but black and grey" 11 Greene's obsession with the theme of the inevitability of evil justifies his crucial use of paradox in all his works, a paradox more forcefully put by T. Eliot is his essay on Baudelaire, which Greene has quoted in his essays:So far as we are human, what we do must be either evil or good; so far as we do evil or good, we are human; it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least, we exist.
It is true to say that the glory of man is his capacity for salvation ; it is also true to say that his glory is his capacity for damnation.
The worst that can be said for most of our malefactors, from statesmen to thieves, is that they are not men enough to be damned.
His whole life remained a mystery even to those closest to him: his brothers , Herbert, Raymond and Hugh, didn't understand him; his mother and sister Molly were often mystified by him and even his favourite sister Elizabeth, loved and trusted by Greene, admitted to me that her favourite brother was not easily understood ….
Greene remained a mystery because the masks he wore, except with intimates, were very real and necessary to him. More than ten years had passed since I was received into the church.
At that time, as I have written elsewhere, I had not been emotionally moved but only intellectually convinced…. My professional life and my religion were contained in quite separate compartments, and I had no ambition to bring them together.
It was 'clumsy life again at her stupid work' which did that; on one side, the socialist persecution of religion in Mexico and on the other General Franco's attack on Republican Spain inextricably involved religion in contemporary life.
I think it was under these two influences-and the backward and forward sway of my sympathies-that I began to examine more closely the effect of faith on action. He, in Richard Johnstone's words, " is denying any personal need for belief; he is claiming that the predicament of the young man seeking permanence in a dangerously impermanent society was not his predicament -instead Catholicism presented itself to him as possessing in the irresistible logic of mathematics" 17 However, his claim to have intellectually converted into Catholicism refutes his earlier description of himself in as 'a Catholic with an intellectual if not an emotional belief in catholic dogma' 18 and his claim, in an interview in , that for a decade after his conversion, he " simply hadn't had sufficient experience of how Catholics think or behave, and therefore… couldn't write about them.
It was as if the world of fiction has lost a dimension: the characters of such distinguished writers as Mrs. Virginia Woolf and Mr. Forster wandered like cardboard symbols through a world that was paper-thin. Even in one of the most materialistic of our great novelists -in -Trollopewe are aware of another world against which the actions of the characters are thrown into relief.
The ungainly clergyman picking his black-booted way through the mud, handling so awkwardly his umbrella, speaking of his miserable income and stumbling through a proposal of marriage, exists in a way that Mrs. Woolf's Mr. Ramsay never does, because we are aware that he exists not only to the woman he is addressing but also in a God's [sic] eye.
His unimportance in the world of the senses is only matched by his enormous importance in another world. In order to add an extra dimension to his novels, he thus places his characters against the background of a world in which they are seen through the eyes of God. Though unworthy and unimportant they may be in the world of the senses, usually drab and torn by shabby violence, Greene's characters have an overwhelming importance in another world, the world that is removed from men as God is, and on which human imagination feeds.
In fact, Greene's belief in the other world and the sense of human act led him to portray his characters paradoxically: "It is the love for God that mainly survives because in His eyes they can imagine themselves always drab, seedy, unsuccessful, and therefore worthy of notice". Though guilty, sinful and almost a failure, he is presented as a real hero due to the special love he has for God which is more powerfully felt through his sense of weakness and failure.
In this light, Greene's complicated characters, who are almost always reflections of his own, need to be studied in terms of both the theological and psychological points of view. In his attempt to portray the dark side of human experience, Greene tries to make use of modern psychological concepts so that he can throw light on his characters' inner life, a kind of life characterized by a severe sense of pain, guilt, consciousness, and suffering.
Greene, as Morton Dauwen Zabel puts it, has "committed himself equally to the demands of psychological and moral realism". Allport had in mind when he, in his work, The Individual and his Religion, writes:No threads may be rejected, perhaps least of all those that come from modern psychology, psychiatry, and psycho-analysis.
For to apply the prophetic teachings of past ages to a technical age requires special assistance from the sciences that deal with personality and with human relations. Set in a totalitarian Mexican state where Catholicism is outlawed, the novel describes the risky adventures of a hunted man-the last Catholic priest, who resists the laws of the state by carrying on with his priestly duties. Not only chased physically, the "whisky priest" is also pursued spiritually.
What matters in this novel is not the natural pursuit of the priest by the police lieutenant; but the supernatural pursuit of him by God which finally succeeds. Though it can not be pictured, this spiritual chase is inferred from his own inward thoughts and his reactions to events he passes through. He is hunted down by God because of his shortcomings.
He is by no means an ideal priest. He suffers from many weaknesses, weaknesses he painfully comes to be conscious of. The first of these weaknesses is his addiction to brandy because of which he is known as the "whisky priest". His second flaw is his indulgence, seven years before, in a sexual act with Maria, his housekeeper, and consequently begetting Brigida, his illegitimate child.
The third of these faults is his cowardice, and the enormous sense of pride he feels after the execution of all other priests. Despite his weaknesses, one infers through hints about his past life that perhaps he is holier than he would have been without persecution, and even without violating his vows. Had he not undergone such experiences, the priest would never have learned how to suffer and love respectively.
That was another mystery: it sometimes seemed to him that venial sins-impatience, an unimportant lie, pride, a neglected opportunity-cut you off from grace more completely than the worst sins of all. Then, in his innocence, he had felt no love for anyone: now in his corruption he had learnt. The priest, in order to achieve the prime virtue of love for God, must be aware of the bleak reality of his life. Innocence, for Greene, is undesirable; for to be innocent is to be ignorant of good and evil and consequently to be incapable of love as well as of sin.
This idea is clearly seen in Greene's portrayal of the "whisky priest" or the "sick soul" 37 to use William James's expression for the individual whose religion and life itself mean suffering. The narrator goes on saying:Presently she left the hut and he could hear her voice gossiping outside. He was astonished and a bit relieved by her resilience: once for five minutes seven years ago they had been lovers -if you could give that name to a relationship in which she had never used his baptismal name: to her it was just an incident, a scratch which heals completely in the healthy flesh: she was even proud of having been the priest's woman.
He alone carried a wound, as if a whole world had ended. From it, readers come to know not only the mitigating circumstances in which the priest's sexual act with Maria is performed but also the haunting sense of guilt he perpetually suffers from afterwards. By means of the interior monologue, Greene succeeds in bringing to the scene all of the priest's past memories associated with that sense. Upon seeing his daughter, the priest remembers how close he has been to God in the past and how far away, in committing the mortal sin, he is from God in the present.
The priest's sense of remorse is clearly shown when Greene says:It was like seeing his own mortal sin look back at him, without contrition. He tried to find some contact with the child and not the woman; he said: "My dear, tell me what games you play…. It had been of a happy childhood,…. He thought of the immeasurable distance a man travels-from the first whipping -top to his bed, one which he lay clasping the brandy-And to God it was only a moment.
The child's snigger and the first mortal sin lay together more closely than two blinks of the eye. He put out his hand as if he could drag her back by force from -something; but he was powerless; the man and the woman waiting to complete her corruption might not yet have been born: how could he guard her against the nonexistent? These feelings which come to him due to his knowledge that he is a failure, unable to save her soul from the world's inevitable sin and corruption are clearly manifested in Greene's following speech: Greene's use of the "rubbish-tip" or "the rubbish-dump" is symbolic of the inevitability of sin and corruption.
The rubbish heap beside which the priest encounters his daughter for the last time, on his way out of Maria's village, is emblematic of her ugly and hopeless future. Inside the prison cell, his thoughts go back to Birgida and againSheGreene's image of the seedy, evil and polluted world is pictured:The knowledge of the world lay dark in her like the dark explicable spot in an X-ray photograph: he longed-with a breathless feeling in the breast-to save her, but he knew the surgeon's decision-the ill was incurable.
The priest's continual but subconscious anxiety about his daughter shows itself to him in the form of dreams. He banged on the door and shouted: "Even if I can't think of the right word, haven't you a heart? She said: "You animal" and he woke again crying. Of that dream, Greene writes:He had a curious dream.
About six dishes were spread before him, and he was eating hungrily …. A priest passed to and fro before the alter saying Mass, but he took no notice: the service no longer seemed to concern him …. But he sat on , just waiting, paying no attention to the God over the alter, as if that was a God for other people and not for him. Then the glass by his plate began to fill with wine, and looking up he saw that the child from the banana station was serving him. Guilt-stricken, the priest, through this dream, is taken back to the past prosperous, lavish, and carefree life he has spent when he used to eat too much and ask for drink wherever he goes.
Nobody ever said the fallen angels were the ugly ones. Sometimes at night he dreamed of it. Domine, non sum dignus… domine, non sum dignus. He [the whisky priest] remembered a dream he had had of a big grassy arena lined with the statues of the saints-but the saints were alive, they turned their eyes this way and that, waiting for something. He waited too, with an awful expectancy: …. Then a marimba began to play, tinkly and repetitive, a fire work exploded, and Christ danced into the arena-….
He woke with the sense of complete despair that a man might feel finding the only money he possessed was counterfeit. Visited "with painful love" by the image of his daughter "on the rubbish heap", the priest then says: "what was the good of confession when you loved the result of your crime? This very view accounts for the priest's identification of himself with all the sinners inside the prison. The great sufferings of the priest teach him humanity and love, feelings that make him sense that " he was just one criminal among a herd of criminals" Part 2, Ch.
Part 2, Ch.
Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory:A Religious Study of a Troubled Psyche
The title is an allusion to the doxology often recited at the end of the Lord's Prayer : "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen. Greene's novel tells the story of a renegade Roman Catholic ' whisky priest ' a term coined by Greene living in the Mexican state of Tabasco in the s, a time when the Mexican government was attempting to suppress the Catholic Church. In , the novel received the Hawthornden Prize British literary award. In , it was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels since The main character is an unnamed 'whisky priest', who combines a great power for self-destruction with pitiful cravenness, an almost painful penitence, and a desperate quest for dignity. The overall situation is this: Catholicism is outlawed in Mexico.
Brief Summary of Book: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. Here is a quick description and cover image of book The Power and the. Glory written by.
Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory:A Religious Study of a Troubled Psyche
At the beginning of the novel, the priest is waiting for a boat that will take him out of the capital city. He is on the run from the police because religion has been outlawed in his state and he is the last remaining clergyman. While talking to a man named Mr.
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In The Power and the Glory, Greene examines the bases of sin and salvation by focusing on the final months in the life of a man who is the last priest still practicing his calling in Mexico. In his treatment of the fugitive, Greene offers two possible views of the protagonist's plight, and he allows his readers to form their own conclusions concerning the priest's fate in eternity. The first view sees the priest's holiness as almost a truism. The clergyman has lived in the most dire conditions for years in Mexico — half-starved, assaulted by fever and the police — simply to carry out God's will. Even his death is caused by his sense of duty: he could have stayed across the mountains in safety, but he chose instead to administer Last Rites to the dying outlaw, Calver, although he sensed that he would be wasting his time and that the message summoning him was almost assuredly a police trick. We discover, however, that Calver did write the note.
- Я… я… - Совсем растерявшись, он сел на край постели и сжал руки. Кровать застонала под его весом. - Простите. Беккер вытащил из вазы, стоявшей на столике в центре комнаты, розу и небрежно поднес ее к носу, потом резко повернулся к немцу, выпустив розу из рук.
Он лежал, устремив глаза к небу и продолжая прижимать руку к груди. Внезапно камера отъехала в сторону, под деревья. В кадре возник мужчина в очках в тонкой металлической оправе, в руке он держал большой портфель. Выйдя на открытое место и бросив взгляд на корчащегося на земле Танкадо, он задвигал пальцами, словно исполнял ими какой-то причудливый танец над коробочкой, которую держал в руке. - Он работает на Монокле, - пояснил Смит.
Мотоцикл пересек крохотный парк и выкатил на булыжную мостовую Матеус-Гаго - узенькую улицу с односторонним движением, ведущую к порталу Баррио - Санта-Крус. Еще чуть-чуть, подумал. Такси следовало за Беккером, с ревом сокращая скорость. Свернув, оно промчалось через ворота Санта-Крус, обломав в узком проезде боковое зеркало. Беккер знал, что он выиграл.