“Why this is hell nor are we out of it? ” How does Grahame Greene depict human existence as hell in Brighton Rock, is there any hope? Grahame Greene seems like a writer who has a very solemn view of human existence. In this book he is always referring back to the world as hell and the religion revolving around this subject. Each character Grahame Greene creates seems to have some aspect of evil within them giving an impression of the existence of these people as one stuck in hell. Easily the character that reflects existence as hell in the book is Pinkie.
Apart from a few glimmers of hope Pinkie really could be thought as the definition of evil. Never thinking about anyone but himself with a hatred of everyone and everything normal. Pinkie lives in a shroud that can’t be penetrated and never wants anyone to feel close to him which could be one of the reasons he hates Rose so much. Always referred to as the “boy” he really is a person with a stolen childhood brought up to fear God. His religion is really looked in to in the book by Grahame Greene really searching the depths of Catholicism and the very existence of heaven and hell.
Good examples of this fear of God are seen within the living environment of Pinkie. His home is very run down living in a very small filthy place run by a blind man with no control of it. There are never any real references to food apart from empty cans of sardines and half-finished fish in the book, which could represent the power of Christianity in the life of Pinkie but significantly its failure. The fact that they are finished could represent the emptiness of Pinkie’s beliefs and his life as well which has no real meaning apart from the avoidance of hanging. Spicer represents the more experienced damned presence in the book.
He is the oldest of the gang and towards the end realises what he has devoted his life to especially after the death of Hale. To begin with he may seem as the words of reason within the gang, almost like a father figure. In the end, however he may seem like someone who wants to leave hell and his existence in Brighton he is too deep in sin in the end to escape. The man that ends his life is Pinkie just as Spicer is about to leave. Wanting to leave could shot goodness in his heart but in the end it would seem that no one who has indulged in sin in hell is permitted to leave just like Prewitt and Hale.
Spicer always seem worried about what is going to happen to him in the future about the wrath of Pinkie. Spicer perhaps could show the end all the game members will take without repentance and forgiveness from God, which Pinkie is always thinking about. The rest of the gang slowly do things wrong in the attempt to confess and are all dismissed or killed by Pinkie. This shows Pinkie’s mistrust and how he has no loyalty. The gang really have no representation in the book and it’s references to hell although they are always reasoning with Pinkie until he has gone too far.
In the entire novel the weather is always dark and damp with no real references ever to much sunshine or daytime. Although the characters are seen as outside, the only time the weather is mentioned is while they are out at night or when something perhaps bad has happened. This confirms Greene’s attempt to depict Brighton as hell. In the whole novel the main characters either never leave Brighton or are stopped in the attempt to get away. Grahame Greene then shows a lot of people just coming and going in Brighton which could show this as hell for the main characters whose dealing are coated in sin.
The fact that some people are able to leave shows some hope that some of the main characters may be able to get out. Rose is an extremely innocent character drawn into a very harsh world of danger and sin. She is extremely nai?? ve and only until the end doesn’t realise Pinkie’s extreme hatred towards her although several hints. When first introduced she could be thought as someone who could influence Pinkie towards confession and leading a normal life but she isn’t strong enough to do this and gets led into Pinkie’s path of sin, perhaps she is still too young.
She refuses to accept anything told to her of Pinkie’s ill doings and even accepts him mauling her with his nails, confused by her as affection. Led into this world there is no turning back for her. She still loves Pinkie after his death and regrets not committing suicide for him. This shows Brighton as hell, once you’ve dabbled in the sin of the city there is no going back and you are damned for eternity by a poisoned mind. Ida Arnold is perhaps the one character who could represent any hope in the novel.
The novel is extremely hopeless apart from her false ideas of being a person of great moral judgement. She is an extremely drunk woman always up for any sort of fun with any sort of man. She isn’t a prostitute although she is the nearest thing to one. She is the complete opposite of Rose with no belief of God and an extremely strong will. She shows compassion still to someone like Rose who is too nai?? ve to accept that someone may be right about Pinkie. By never giving up and at least doing what is right for Brighton even though perhaps she doesn’t realise it completely in the end.
The book has very little hope, which really reflects the character of Grahame Greene. Every small gleem of hope is cut off like the stairs, which are broken. Aswell as the stairs the pier is just a bridge halved and no-one can ever leave it, one of the only hopes is the people come and going it gives you a visual (although small) of people managing to escape hell itself. If only the some of the characters could’ve managed to leave the book wouldn’t be thought as so cynical.