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Brighton Rock

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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by U15213854 (U15213854) on Saturday, 12th May 2012


    I'm curious as to whether there are any teacher's our there who are still familiar with Graham Greene's 'Brighton Rock' because I have a question that I'm afraid I need an elaborate answer for.

    What is the purpose of Ida Arnold in the plot/allegory/theme(s) etc. (mainly the theme(s), actually) of the novel?

    I gathered that Pinkie is unquestionably representative of evil and that Rose is a symbol of good. Ida seems to be the middle ground but I have no quotes or hard evidence to really back this up and I don't have an elaborate explanation of her function in the story.

    'Tis quite a pushy question, apologies.


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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Saturday, 12th May 2012

    Ida’s role in terms of the plot is (a) to find out what happened to ‘Fred’ and (b) to save Rose.
    She is motivated by her belief in justice – her strong sense of right and wrong.
    She is not interested in the spiritual dimension of good versus evil, nor the Catholic theology that affects Pinkie’s thinking.
    She is portrayed as an ‘ordinary’ person, superstitious and ready to believe vaguely in a spirit world but without definite religious beliefs. Her approach to life is basically hedonistic (i.e pleasure-loving)

    Some relevant quotations:
    She believed in ghosts, but you couldn't call that thin transparent existence life eternal
    'life was so important. She wasn't religious. She didn't believe in heaven or hell, only in ghosts, ouija boards, tables which rapped'
    Life was sunlight on brass bedposts, Ruby port, the leap of the heart when the outsider you have backed passes the post . . . Death shocked her, life was so important.
    [Of her investigations:] I don't say it hasn't been - exciting . . . What's the harm in that?'
    Further reading: there is an interesting essay by John W Paulus on helium.com which explores the distinctions made in the book between right/wrong and good/evil.

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