Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Brighton Rock: Introduction
Brighton Rock: Plot Summary
Brighton Rock: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Brighton Rock: Themes
Brighton Rock: Quotes
Brighton Rock: Characters
Brighton Rock: Terms
Brighton Rock: Symbols
Brighton Rock: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Graham Greene
Historical Context of Brighton Rock
Other Books Related to Brighton Rock
- Full Title: Brighton Rock
- When Written: Late 1930s
- Where Written: London, England
- When Published: 1938
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Literary thriller
- Setting: Brighton, England in the early 20th century
- Climax: Pinkie drives Rose to the seaside town of Peacehaven where he hopes to convince her to take her own life in a suicide pact he doesn’t plan to honor. His plan is foiled, however, when Ida Arnold shows up with the police to confront him about the murders of Hale and Spicer. Desperate, Pinkie spills vitriol on himself and runs off a nearby cliff to his death.
- Antagonist: Although Pinkie is the novel’s main character, he is also its villain. Ida Arnold, Pinkie’s adversary, is the strongest force for good in the novel. As such, each of these characters can be seen as both a protagonist and antagonist.
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for Brighton Rock
Graham Green and America’s Sweetheart. Early on in his career, Graham Greene wrote book and movie reviews for The Spectator, and, in 1937 he penned a scathing take-down of Wee Willie Winkie, a film based on the Rudyard Kipling story about the impact of British colonialism on mid-19th Century India. Greene’s opinion was that child star Shirley Temple’s performance amounted to thinly veiled child pornography, aimed at arousing priests and pedophiles. Commenting on Temple’s “well-shaped and desirable little body,” Greene raised the ire of both Temple and Twentieth-Century Fox, who successfully sued Greene and The Spectator for libel. The resulting settlement forced The Spectator out of business. Meanwhile, Greene fled to Mexico, where he started work on The Power and the Glory.
Greeneland. Readers and critics often to refer to the hard-edged locales where Graham Greene’s novels are set as “Greeneland.” Regardless of whether the action takes place in Brighton, Sierra Leone, or the Mexican state of Tabasco, Greene’s stories are characterized by a consistent atmosphere of impending doom, mortal sin, and the life-and-death struggles of right versus wrong, male versus female, and the rich versus the poor. The inhabitants of Greeneland often include tortured priests, corrupt government officials, young people desperate to escape poverty, and lovers thwarted by convention and jealousy. Greene resented the term “Greeneland,” claiming that his writing was not the result of predetermined stylistic choices but instead depicted the world as he saw it.