What was the writing style of Graham Greene?

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gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Graham Greene usually wrote in a fast-moving, dramatic style, reflecting to some degree his experiences as a journalist and script-writer. Most of his novels are adventure/thrillers. Brighton Rock for example deals with the world of gangsters, while The Power and the Glory is a chase thriller. Many of his stories are set in far-flung places: The Heart of the Matter in Sierra Leone, The Quiet American in Vietnam, and so on.

Despite the exotic locations of many of his stories, though, Greene generally tends to stress the mundane, and indeed the seedy, elements of life. His style combines thrilling elements of plot with a pervasive downbeat mood, as he concentrates on enormous problems and complexities facing his characters. Many struggle with issues of religion, and specifically Catholicism (Greene himself became a Catholic convert). Most notable of these, perhaps, is Scobie in The Heart of the Matter. Yet although he often inserts some authorial commentary, Greene never judges his characters. His characters struggle with moral problems but his style is not moralistic.

An important aspect of Greene’s style is his frequent use of similes and metaphors to increase the visual impact and vividness of his writing, as illustrated by the following two examples from one of his best-known novels, The Power and the Glory. The central character, a fugitive priest, is early on described as a ‘black question mark’ (Part 1, chapter 1), an image which concisely captures the sense of uncertainty and furtiveness that hangs about him. When he is finally hunted down and executed by firing squad, the sense of spectacle that this provides, and the anticlimax that follows, is effectively portrayed:

 This was an arena, and the bull was dead, and there was nothing to wait for any more. (Part 4)

a1073 | Student

Graham Greene is undoubtedly an appreciatable writer.His writing style was not a specifically literary style at all.The words are functional,decoid of sensous attraction.His writings often have religious themes at centre.Graham Greene concentrated on portraying the character's internal life,their mental,emotional and spirtual death.He believed in writing with a realistic background.He writes methodically with symbolism.

  • "In human relationships,kindness and lies are worth a thousand miles"
                           (Graham Greene)

    He was devoted whole heartedly to his writing style and added tinges of interest .Like all other writers Graham Greene's writing have deep connections that must be made to understand his motives.

    An example of his famous writing is "The Destructors"