Pinkie and Evil in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock

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Pinkie and Evil
Graham Greene, a devote Catholic and author of Brighton Rock, centers his novel on the religious, metaphysical concepts of good verses evil. We, as readers, are overwhelmed with the presence of evil and its power to manipulate the good, as shown especially through the protagonist, Pinkie. It is ironic that Pinkie is Catholic, for he embodies everything that is evil, sinister, and hellish. Pinkie, a gang leader, a sociopath, and a teenage devil, exemplifies evil within the novel.

The physical appearance of Pinkie shows how evilness is imbedded within his being. When we are first introduced to him, he is physically described as having a “face of starved intensity, a kind of hideous and unnatural pride” (Greene 5). This description is reminiscent of the lack of emotions Pinkie holds and his sociopathical intentions. It shows how he is hungry for something and holds an abnormally strong feeling of personal worth with a strong sense of arrogance. Greene continues on in saying that “his grey eyes had an effect of the heartlessness like an old man’s in which human feeling [have] died” (6). Grey is a bland, emotionless color often associated with mourning and mystery. Many believe that the eyes are, in fact, the windows to the soul. With Pinkie’s grey eyes, we gain an extension of his lack of feeling and are left wondering if there is a true soul buried in him. This lack of emotion aids to his inner evilness. Lastly, Greene characterizes Pinkie as a snake: “The Boy retorted with sudden venom” (53). The snake is the animal most associated with the Devil. They represent all that is evil, dangerous, and deceitful, characteristics reminiscent of Pinkie himself.

Pinkie’s strong dislike of women shows his intolerance for other humans, therefore adding to his inner wickedness. The presence of a woman triggers a build up of anger within Pinkie, emphasizing his bigotry of others. For example, when he first hears Ida singing, he watches her with “an...
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