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The subject of death is often present in Greene's stories. Explore how Greene handles the idea of death with close reference to any three stories.

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Introduction

The subject of death is often present in Greene's stories. Explore how Greene handles the idea of death with close reference to any three stories. Greene's stories are notorious for exploring dark and negative themes such as corruption, fear, violence and death. Greene associates death with depression and disease. He also questions the afterlife, which we believe awaits us after death. Death is not solemn at all in 'Greeneland'; Greene almost makes fun of any solemnity associated with it. In the story "Proof Positive", Greene plays with people's idea that when we perish, it is only our body that actually dies, and that our soul lives on in the spirit world. Greene twists this belief round by giving us this story and saying that "without the body's aid, the spirit...decayed into whispered nonsense." While giving a speech to a psychical society, Major Philip Weaver, a retired army officer, declares that he will present proof to the society that the soul lives on when the body 'dies'. ...read more.

Middle

One day, he goes to the cinema, where a man starts talking rubbish next to him. By his words and "damp and sticky" hand, Craven thought that he was a murderer who was recently featured in the news. When the strange man leaves a smear of blood on his hand, Craven leaves and phones the police, who tell him that the murderer had already been caught. After being told that the victim's body couldn't be found, Craven remembered the man's "damp breath", and looking into the mirror saw "tiny drops of blood" on his face. The truth finally dawns on Craven and he realises that the man in the cinema was actually the dead victim and not the murderer. At that point, Craven goes crazy, and screams, "I won't go mad. I won't go mad. I'm sane. I won't go mad." Again in this story, Greene tells us of how the soul lives on even when the body dies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Greene again brings out the idea of the afterlife, and toys with it. The story also has a strong element of religion in it, partly because it is based on the story from the Bible. For the first time in his stories, Greene brings out a guilt feeling in his character before he passes away, suggesting that he felt remorse for leading the sinful life he led. As seen from these stories, death was something that Greene was not sure about. He had mixed feelings about the afterlife, and didn't know whether it really existed or not. An element of disgust and rot is associated to the body with these stories, especially in "A Little Place of the Edgware Road". Greene also seems to make fun of death, and in the story "A second Death", he says that there is nothing solemn about death. Death is almost seen as only a phase of life. Josephine Borg 1st Yr. Adv. Group 4.2 ...read more.

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