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Brighton Rock and Sherlock Holmes: A Comparison

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Brighton Rock and Sherlock Holmes: A Comparison In this assignment I will be looking at the differences in writing style between Graham Greene's Brighton Rock and Arthur Conan-Doyle's The Man With The Twisted Lip. The style of writing is the main difference that I see between the stories of Greene and Conan Doyle, and not in the plot; partly this is due to the half a century or so time difference between the pieces, Conan Doyle's, I guess in around 1890 (due to the date given at the start of The Man With The Twisted Lip, "it was in June '89") and Greene's written in 1938, although partly it is due to the different intentions of the authors. The works of Conan Doyle were mainly popular, short stories written for a Victorian middle-class monthly periodical, "The Strand" written between 1887 and 1927, although most were written by 1903. Because of this, the structures on all levels, from plot to sentence, are simple, chronological and in the first person. Examples of this are "Isa Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D.D., Principal of the Theological College of St. George's, was much addicted to opium." This is a simple statement to open the story with. It introduces a character, actually two, gives a little background information and tells us the point of the sentence, and the story (or so the reader thinks) at the end of the sentence in "was much addicted to opium". ...read more.


Clair. Or perhaps Conan Doyle just got sick of the Whitney plot half way through writing. Who knows!? Other than this Conan Doyle sticks to the usual crime story plot: the missing/dead person or thing, the impossible clue, the amazing detective and the twist in the solving of it all. Greene does the same in his plot structure, although with much more focus on the characters in turn, especially on mentality of the criminal Pinkie. Greene tries almost to explain why Pinkie is so evil with the recounting of his scarred childhood (the 'weekly exercise'), resulting in his misogyny (?), Catholic godfearing and sadism. Also, Ida Arnold is the 'detective' in Brighton Rock, although she is not intelligent or brilliant, just a whore sentimental to Hale's memory as Greene portrays her. In fact, Greene grudgingly makes Ida the heroine and the force of good, even though the traditional good of Godliness is the real enemy in the book. Ida is a weird choice for a heroine. She personifies every human sin. She is a puritan's nightmare, as shown in, 'Death shocked her, life was more important. She wasn't religious. She didn't believe in heaven and hell, only in ghosts...' and her ultimate anti-religious statement, 'to her death was the end of everything. At one with the One - it didn't mean a thing besides a glass of Guinness on a sunny day.' In all, Greene's story is one of 'good' as the here and now, however demonic and hedonistic, triumphing over evil the eternal whereas Conan Doyle has no such moral depth to his story, just an impossible clue. ...read more.


Showing his ability to assume a disguise. He is shown to be sure of his own talents, in saying, 'I have excellent ears'. Holmes is also shown to be masterful, even domineering, in Watson's remark, 'Sherlock Holmes' requests... were always... put forward with such a quiet air of mastery.' Holmes is shown to be a happy man, through his 'bursting into a hearty fit of laughter.' Holmes is shown by Conan Doyle to be patronizing towards Watson in, 'Surely your medical experience would tell you, Watson...' this shows Holmes to be very confident and knowing of his own intellect and withering of those who do not share it. As you can see from these quotations, only the immediate superficial traits of Holmes' character, as viewed by another person, are explored by Conan Doyle. This may be due to the first person narrative but in any case it means there is no depth of time or mind to Holmes' character as there is in Pinkie's. In fact the exploration of Pinkie's character goes on infinitely through time; the eternity of hell is explored. Personally, I much prefer Brighton Rock to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. I prefer the depth of description, the character development, the characters overall and the general seediness and tenseness of Greene's Nobel prize nominated novel over the Victorian middle class serenity that exists throughout Conan Doyle's work. Overall, it seems as though Conan Doyle's work lacks 'teeth' and is not nearly as entertaining as the edginess and sordid detail of Greene's. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Graham 4D ...read more.

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