Graham Greene, author of “The Power and the Glory”, tackled faith in this book. There are some excerpts from the novel that will be discussed in this paper and the perceived meaning of his writing them. …
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“Altogether they had shot about five priests —two or three had escaped, the bishop was safely in Mexico City, and one man had conformed to the Governor's law that all priests must marry. He lived now near the river with his house-keeper. That, of course, was the best solution of all, to
leave the living witness to the weakness of their faith. It showed the deception they had practised all these years. For if they really believed in heaven or hell, they wouldn't mind a little pain now, in return for what immensities. … The lieutenant, lying on his hard bed, in the damp
hot dark, felt no sympathy at all with the weakness of the flesh.”
On this part of the book, the lieutenant is the author's method of showing the great contrast between his typical characters who shows great faith and this character who is against everything that his usual characters believe in. In this passage, the lieutenant scorns what he perceives as the weakness of faith. He believes that the priests should have shown more strength of character by enduring the pains that comes with their faith instead of taking the easy way out and proving how worthless their faith now seems to be.
“He had been walking all day and he was very tired: he found a dry spot and sat down.When the lightning struck he could see the clearing: all around was the gentle noise of the dripping water. It was nearly like peace, but not quite. For peace you needed human company— his aloneness was like a threat of things to come. Suddenly he remembered—for no apparent reason—a day of rain at the American seminary, the glass windows of the library steamed over with the central heating, the tall shelves of sedate books, and a young man—a stranger from Tucson—drawing his initials on the pane with his finger—that was peace. He looked at it from the outside: he couldn't believe that he would ever again get in. He had made his own world, and this was it—the empty broken huts, the storm going by, and fear again—fear because he was not alone after all.” (pg.85) In this passage, the author put the character in a weakened state. When he said that in order to get peace, you need human company, it entails the fears of the author who finds himself seemingly afraid of the things that he will have to face on his own. He longs for the trivial things like writing your name on a window pane with your finger, because in his weakened state, he associates that action with the sense of peace that is beyond his grasp at the moment. When he mentioned that he looked at it from the outside, he was pertaining to the feeling that he can never go back and things will never be the way it used to be. Other excerpts from the book will be as follows: “An old man who married was grotesque enough, but an old priest ... He stood outside himself and wondered whether he was even fit for hell.” -Jose (The priest who got married) (pg.18) The way the old priest condemns himself for what he has done made it difficult to hate his character in the book. The author, by giving insights to the personal and inner turmoils of the characters made it possible to humanize them, and in more ways than one, aids in sympathizing with the characters. “It is astonishing the sense of innocence that goes with sin—only the hard and careful man and the saint are free of it...” “He wanted to say to this man: "Love is not wrong, but love should be happy and open—it is only wrong when it is secret, unhappy ... it can be more unhappy than anything but the loss of God. It is the loss of God. You don't need a penance, my child, you have suffered quite enough,"... -Priest (pg.97) Some passages are quite depressing, not only because of the context in which they were used in the story but because of the truth that
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