The Power and the Glory Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

Graham Greene

Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

The priest is placed in an overcrowded cell. It is full of prisoners, and he has trouble finding a place to sit. He moves through the chaos to find a small space, where he sits with his feet tucked under him, despite the discomfort this causes. An old man falls asleep on his shoulder, and the priest hears a couple making love in the darkness.

The conversation among the prisoners turns to priests and the trouble they have caused. The priest identifies himself, seeing no point in hiding any longer. A woman wants to make a confession to him, but he resists. He refuses to pass judgment on any of the wicked people in the prison cell.

The woman says that this is unacceptable in a priest, and she will write a letter to the bishop as soon as she is released (she has been arrested for having religious books in her home). The priest thinks that the bishop will be surprised that he is still alive. He tells the woman that he is a bad priest. He is called the whiskey priest and was arrested because he had a bottle of brandy in his pocket.

The darkness eventually lifts, and the priest sees the faces of the prisoners around him. The guard arrives and orders the people out into the yard. He stops the priest, addressing him as Montez, and orders him to take the waste buckets out of the cells and dump them.

The priest slowly cleans out the cells. In one, there is only a single prisoner. The priest is horrified to find that it is the half-caste mestizo from whom he had wanted to escape. At first, the mestizo does not recognize him, only chiding him for splashing the contents of the waste bucket on the floor and that he is a guest, not a prisoner. The mestizo finally sees who he is, but he has no interest in informing on him, believing that the reward money would go to the lieutenant or police chief anyway.

The priest is brought before the lieutenant. They have met before, but the officer does not recognize the prisoner, since his appearance has changed so much since the picture on the Wanted poster was taken.

He asks the priest what he will do if he is released, but the priest has nowhere to go. The lieutenant gives the priest five pesos and tells him that he is free to go and that he is a good man. With astonishment, the priest takes the money and leaves the prison.