The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene - Printable Version
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The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene - Lady Julian - 12-09-2011 01:54 PM
I will teach The Power and the Glory next semester in my Intro to Literature class. I'm hoping to rattle some cages with it (one of the best parts of being an English teacher. I shocked a student the other day by my collection of Harry Potter).
Back to the subject. If you're not familiar with it, The Power and the Glory is Graham Greene's novel about a Catholic priest in the rigidly-secular state of 1930s Tabasco, Mexico. The priest is an alcoholic and the father of a bastard daughter, but he is also committed (with a great deal of guilt thrown in there) to his priestly duties.
Interesting story. I read it about six months ago for the first time, then re-read it as I prepped to teach it. I notice a lot of themes pertinent to those of us bent on rejecting legalistic fundamentalism in favour of Grace.
I am taking a page out of Jenni's book to "shamelessly promote my blog" as I posted on The Power and the Glory recently. Be nice! I've not done this before: Click here for the blog!
Anyone else read it? Thoughts? Like / dislike?
RE: The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene - pastor's wife - 12-09-2011 06:01 PM
Ooo! I'll be checking out your blog in a minute.
I read this book for the first time when I was a senior in public high school. It was assigned to me by the teacher - we all read individual books and did a paper on them.
It definitely was an interesting read for me. As a sheltered fundy girl, I read lots of Christian books and classics, but rarely anything that could be in any way controversial, except for the newer stuff assigned in school (and since I was in the college-prep classes, they did tend to be heavy on classics anyway).
I've always remembered the book. I have a copy that I reread once or twice, although not for a long time. I'd like to reread it again and see if I could get more out of it as an adult than I did as a very innocent 17-year-old.
I remember being shocked by the priest but feeling for him and then being amazed by his eventual choice. I actually liked the government guy, although certainly not what he did.
EDIT: OK, I just read your blog post. Very good point. I actually don't remember that scene, but I like your evaluation of it. And it does fit with the theme of who is really good? The priest keeps calling himself a bad priest and certainly in many ways he was. To the Catholic faithful, he was a good man simply because he was a priest. To the government he was a bad man simply because he was a priest. He only knew his soul and knew both that he was bad and yet that he loved. His behavior toward the criminal was loving and self-sacrificial.
For some reason, I am reminded of "The Pearl" and the "good" people - the doctor, the priest - who really had no love for the Indians and only sought to exploit and control them. In an opposite way to "The Power and the Glory", Kino goes on a trip INTO darkness and evil, finding himself more and more trapped, while the priest in a way, while finding himself trapped also I think finds himself set free.
Kino becomes corrupted by the pearl (though not permanently or irrevocably so, although the loss of the child would scar him forever of course) , but the priest is already corrupted and finds himself finding grace. Both are trapped by the society they are in as well as the setting through which they move. I still remember the priest's trip back through all the places he'd been before. I'm sure there's some deep meaning there as he retraces his steps. I also never forgot the young girl.