"Scobie and the 'Stigmata of Loneliness'"
Keywords: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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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.