Idealism and Pragmatism by RZinkel []
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The power and the glory

by Graham Greene

  eBook : Document : Fiction

Idealism and Pragmatism   (2019-03-09)

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by RZinkel


Greene wrote the book after living in Mexico for less than two months in 1938. He depicts small towns in Mexico that are oppressed by an anti-religious government, personified in the character of the Lieutenant, a man who hates Christianity. He does not understand their philosophy, condemns the hypocrisy of the adherents, and thinks it is better to end the poor man’s suffering by killing him, rather than finding some value in suffering. What’s more, to the Lieutenant this solution is born of love for his fellow man. Greene is known as a Catholic writer, but this is not to say the book is Christian idealism; the two priests in the story are far from ideal. They are rather powerless in the state of their country. What respect they have is due to their office, not their example. They are both hypocrites, as one is married, and the other is a drunkard. The whiskey priest is on the run, providing some priestly services from the underground. The story follows his situation, as he wavers between wanting to do the honorable thing and doing what is pragmatic to stay out of jail and alive. Such is the condition of man.

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