"Scobie and the 'Stigmata of Loneliness'"


  • Dr. Kokila Sehgal Mathur Department of English Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi New Delhi, India




stigmata, loneliness, alienation, ambiguity, religion


The Heart of the Matter is usually considered a 'Catholic' novel as the protagonist, Major Scobie, is a Catholic by religion. His broken rosary points to the muddle of religious belief set up in him. Scobie is nailed to the cross by his compassion and feeling of responsibility for the pain and misery of others. When he partakes of the Sacrament in sin and laments having lost his way, his self-imposed duties lead him down a road to self-destruction. This anti-hero takes his own life, committing the ultimate sin of Despair in God's Providence. Yet, paradoxically, Father Rank pronounces that Scobie really loved only God, and the narrative suggests that he died a saint, albeit an anonymous one. Greene avers the transaction between Modernity and Catholic conservatism to be a vital one; that the writer should be a protestant in a Catholic set-up and be a catholic in a Protestant one. A deep yearning energizes Greene's narrative for Good amid evil plaguing the world.


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Works Cited:

Allen, Walter. The English Novel. Penguin, 1954.

Church, Richard. The Growth of the English Novel. Methuen, 1951.

Cuddon, J. A. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Fifth edit, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. (abbr. DLT)

Eliot, T. S. Selected Essays. Faber and Faber, 1932. (abbr. SE)

Forster, E. M. Aspects of the Novel. Edited by Oliver Stallybrass, Penguin, 1974.

Greene, Graham. A Sort of Life. Vintage Books, 2002. (abbr. SL)

---. The Heart of the Matter. Penguin, 1962.

---. The Honorary Consul. Bodley Head, 1973.

---. The Power and the Glory. Vintage Books, 2010. (abbr. PG)

Greene, Richard. Graham Greene: A Life in Letters. Richard brown Book Group Ltd, 2007.

Poole, Adrian, editor. The Cambridge Companion to English Novelists. CUP, 2009.




How to Cite

Dr. Kokila Sehgal Mathur. (2022). "Scobie and the ’Stigmata of Loneliness’". Creative Saplings, 1(3), 62–67. https://doi.org/10.56062/gtrs.2022.1.3.6