The Heart of the Matter

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From the very first few pages of Heart of the Matter, by the help of Greene’s writing techinques, the reader manages to start forming a very basic but clear impression of Henry Scobie, the protagonist of this novel and his wife Louise.

Although all throughout the novel, Louise is seen from Scobie’s eyes, we can still illustarte a brief image of her, both physical as well as character wise. Scobie, describies contantly Louise as very unattractive human being with pale skin, ‘a white skin had not then reminded him of an albino’. Her hair which was once had a lighter colour is now ‘dark and stringy with sweat’. Louise voice is described as very weak and faint in fact she ‘wailed’. Hence Scobie himself described her as a ‘joint under a meat-cover’. In Louise opinion what is important is literature, so much so that the people see her as a literature snob. Apart from that her reputation plays also an important part in fact when Scobie is passed on a promotion, she worries about what people might think think ‘ do you think they all know by now?’. Louise is can also be descibed as stubborn and this is shown when she tells her husband ‘Let’s go home’ as she thought people would talk about Scobie and the promotion. Due to her difficult character, Louise had no friends. Even Scobie himself pitied her for such thing; ‘Poor louise, he thought, its terrible not to be liked’.

Louise and Henry’s relationship was quite strange. What kept Scobie from leaving his wife weren’t love or other aspects which you find in any other relationship. Scobie felt like he was ‘ bound by the pathos of her attractiveness’. In other words, he felt pity for her since she was so unattractive and hence why he couldn’t leave Louise - ‘there were the times of ugliness when he loved her when pity and responsibilty reached the intensity of passion’. But besides all this, Scobie felt guilty of his wife’s unhappiness and the ‘less he needed Louise the more conscious he became of his responsibilty...
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