Brighton Rock Additional Summary

Graham Greene


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Brighton Rock is the story of a seventeen-year-old brutal criminal named Pinkie Brown, who has recently assumed the leadership of a gang of racetrack hoodlums working out of Brighton, an English seaside resort. A man named Hale, an advertising agent who is in Brighton to promote his newspaper, has betrayed Kite, the former leader of the gang now run by Pinkie. Hale knows that Pinkie has recognized him and is planning revenge. The pursuit and murder of Hale are set against a background of fun-seeking holiday crowds, band music, flower gardens in bloom, and a warm summer sun.

While seeking refuge from his would-be killers, Hale takes up with a vulgar, sensual woman named Ida Arnold. After Hale is murdered, Ida takes it upon herself to seek revenge. In the meantime, Pinkie befriends a young waitress named Rose, whose knowledge of his gang’s involvement in Hale’s murder makes her a threat to his safety. He then marries her because he knows that a wife cannot testify against her husband in court. Ida, delighting in her role as detective and avenger, begins to focus more clearly on her suspects, harasses Rose, and begins to frighten Pinkie with her constant inquiries about Hale.

Pinkie panics and kills one of his fellow gang members whom he feels he can no longer trust. Then, in a desperate attempt to rid himself of Rose, who in his mind has come to represent the horrors of sexuality and entrapment, he lures her into a suicide pact with him. His plan is to let Rose take her own life, which, out of reckless love for Pinkie, she is willing to do, and then escape. After they drive to the coast to consummate the pact, Dallow, a member of Pinkie’s gang,...

(The entire section is 687 words.)


(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Hynes, S., ed. Graham Greene: A Collection of Critical Essays, 1973.

Pryce-Jones, David. Graham Greene, 1967, 1973.

Sharrock, Roger. Saints, Sinners, and Comedians, 1984.

Spurling, John. Graham Greene, 1983.