Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Mexico. Country in which the entire novel is set. The novel uses psychological realism to depict the corruption and violence associated with the government’s revolutionary vision. That vision is portrayed by an unnamed police lieutenant, who considers himself the champion of hope and betterment and says that “life will never be the same” for the next generation as he pursues a fugitive priest.

In contrast, the priest is engaged in a survival struggle to bring continuity into the spiritual lives of Mexicans who are eager to extend their vision beyond their physical and material needs. Since the Mexican police have advertised a reward for the priest, Greene shows how the theme of trustworthy relationships can sustain hope in a corrupt and threatened environment.


Plaza. Central square of an unnamed Mexican city where a bust of a former president serves as a reminder of Mexican Revolution and the nation’s independence. The plaza leads to the river port that offers the priest an opportunity to escape to Vera Cruz on the coast. However, the priest’s decision to share a drink with Mr. Tench, then a child’s summons to his mother’s deathbed, supersede his original plan of escape. In the conclusion, the plaza becomes the site of the priest’s execution after the Mexican police arrest him.


Hotel. Hotel beside the river to which a beggar leads the...

(The entire section is 577 words.)