Brighton Rock

Ida “Lily” Arnold Character Analysis

Ida is the unlikely, self-appointed detective at the heart of Brighton Rock’s crime story. Like many men before him, Charles Hale is attracted to Ida’s buxom and earthy beauty when he meets her on the Brighton pier, where the two have a brief but fateful encounter. Hale disappears, however, in the middle of their date, having been murdered (unbeknownst to Ida) by Pinkie’s men. Ida, convinced that Hale’s death is suspicious even though an investigation found no evidence of foul play, vows to investigate further. Unlike Pinkie and Rose, Ida is not religious. She is, instead, superstitious, relying on her Ouija board and other omens to lead her in the right direction. Eventually, her sleuthing leads her to Rose, whom she befriends both in an effort to nail Pinkie and prevent the girl from throwing her life away on a hardened criminal. Utterly convinced of the righteousness of her cause, Ida hounds Pinkie to the point of death. Her intentions are good, but Greene makes it clear that Ida’s ruthless pursuit of right is also dangerous, because her understanding of the world is shallow and incomplete. She knows nothing about the circumstances that led to Kite’s death or the brutality of the Brighton mob world, and, in involving herself with Pinkie and his gang, plunges in over her head. That said, she is able, through dogged determination, to do what the police were not: solve Hale’s murder and bring his killer to justice.

Ida “Lily” Arnold Quotes in Brighton Rock

The Brighton Rock quotes below are all either spoken by Ida “Lily” Arnold or refer to Ida “Lily” Arnold . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Catholicism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Brighton Rock published in 1938.
Part I, Chapter 2 Quotes

Driven to her hole the small animal peered out at the bright and breezy world; in the hole were murder, copulation, extreme poverty, fidelity and the love and fear of God, but the small animal had not the knowledge to deny that only in the glare and open world outside was something which people called experience.

Related Characters: Rose (speaker), Ida “Lily” Arnold
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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She was good, he’d discovered that, and he was damned: they were made for each other.

Related Characters: Pinkie Brown (speaker), Rose, Ida “Lily” Arnold
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part I, Chapter 3 Quotes

She smelt of soap and wine: comfort and peace and a slow sleepy physical enjoyment, a touch of the nursery and the mother, stole from the big

tipsy mouth, the magnificent breasts and legs, and reached Hale's withered and frightened and bitter little brain.

Related Characters: Charles “Fred” Hale (speaker), Ida “Lily” Arnold
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
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She came out of the crematorium, and there from the twin towers above her head fumed the very last of Fred, a thin stream of grey smoke from the ovens. People passing up the flowery suburban road looked up and noted the smoke; it had been a busy day at the furnaces. Fred dropped in indistinguishable grey ash on the pink blossoms: he became part of the smoke nuisance over London, and Ida wept.

Related Characters: Ida “Lily” Arnold (speaker), Charles “Fred” Hale
Related Symbols: Flowers and Dolls
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The shadow of her sixteen-year-old face shifted in the moonlight on the wall. “Right and wrong. That’s what she talks about. I’ve heard her at the table. Right and wrong. As if she knew.” She whispered with contempt, “Oh, she won't burn. She couldn’t burn if she tried.”

Related Characters: Rose (speaker), Pinkie Brown, Ida “Lily” Arnold
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Oh, no they don’t. Look at me. I’ve never changed. It’s like those sticks of rock: bite it all the way down, you'll still read Brighton. That’s human nature.”

Related Characters: Ida “Lily” Arnold (speaker), Rose
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ida “Lily” Arnold Character Timeline in Brighton Rock

The timeline below shows where the character Ida “Lily” Arnold appears in Brighton Rock. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part I, Chapter 2
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Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
...was with before he was killed. Pinkie says there’s nothing to worry about. He calls Ida a “buer,” or demon, and insinuates that she was nothing but a prostitute. He saw... (full context)
Part I, Chapter 3
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It is eleven o’clock in the morning and Ida is on her way to Henekey’s, her local pub. She’s not the first customer. A... (full context)
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Ida asks if the man committed suicide, and Clarence says no, that an inquest found that... (full context)
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...know him, and that Hale fled then, saying he wasn’t the right Fred after all. Ida is confused. Hale told her his name was Fred, too. Clarence says Hale’s real name... (full context)
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Ida tells Clarence and another bar fly, Harry, that if she had been there—if she had... (full context)
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Ida thinks about a story she heard about a woman seeing her dead husband hovering by... (full context)
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...is taking place in a bare, nondescript place. There are no candles or flowers and Ida, who is late, walks in in the middle of a clergyman’s generic sermon about Hale... (full context)
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Ida is horrified by the flippant nature of the funeral. Death is serious business, in her... (full context)
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Outside the crematorium, ash drifts from a smokestack. Ida weeps, thinking that Hale is now ash, wafting down into the nice, suburban neighborhood, coating... (full context)
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Ida disembarks at Charing Cross station and heads to the offices of Messrs Carter and Galloway,... (full context)
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When she finally reaches the offices of Messrs Carter and Galloway, Ida finds Molly alone in a room jammed with files and books. Molly is making tea... (full context)
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Ida leaves and, on her walk home to her apartment, mulls over what Molly told her.... (full context)
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Having reached her apartment building, Ida finds a postcard from Phil Corkery on the hall table. He sent her postcards annually... (full context)
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The board jerks some. Ida thinks it looks like it might have drawn a “Y.” Old Crowe sees an “N.”... (full context)
Part III, Chapter 1
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Ida wakes up in a Brighton boarding house, the reminders of the previous drunken night at... (full context)
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Tate greets Ida expansively but gets her last name wrong, calling her “Mrs. Turner.” She tells him she’d... (full context)
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Ida goes to a nearby bar and orders a port. She asks the barman who Mr.... (full context)
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The barman tells Ida to look out the window—the kid (Pinkie) is walking by right now. She goes and... (full context)
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Ida walks to Snow’s and gets a table for her and Phil Corkery. She asks around... (full context)
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Ida begins to ask Rose what she noticed about the Kolley Kibber man, suggesting that, having... (full context)
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...have the opportunity to express. He orders two large bottles of Guinness for him and Ida. Ida grabs Rose by the arm, asking if the Kolley Kibber man had much to... (full context)
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Phil doesn’t understand why Ida is getting so involved in a case that really should mean nothing to her. She... (full context)
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Ida arrives at the station, exuding confidence and goodwill. Phil follows close behind. Ida asks a... (full context)
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The inspector tells Ida that the concerns she has can be easily explained away. Hale most likely sent another... (full context)
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Ida’s friends are everywhere in Brighton. They’re the husbands following their wives obediently into the fishmongers... (full context)
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Ida and Phil are talking about money and doctors. Ida says she hopes to make money... (full context)
Part IV, Chapter 2
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Ida is in Snow’s, trying to question Rose, who wants nothing to do with her. Ida... (full context)
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Rose mutters that Ida doesn’t know what innocence is. Ida reaches in the door, moves the chair, and walks... (full context)
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Rose tells Ida she doesn’t care if Pinkie loves her; she loves him. Ida asks Rose how her... (full context)
Part IV, Chapter 3
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...waitress to tell him where Rose is. He climbs the stairs to her bedroom, overhearing Ida telling Rose that she needs to come clean about what happened to Hale. It is... (full context)
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Ida tells Rose not to give in to a wicked man like Pinkie. Rose tells her... (full context)
Part V, Chapter 2
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...back to Snow’s, but Rose says she can’t. She’s been fired for being rude to Ida. She wonders aloud if Ida might be acting out of jealousy, a past lover of... (full context)
Part V, Chapter 4
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Ida and Phil are at the Cosmopolitan in a café called the Pompadour Boudoir. Ida is... (full context)
Part V, Chapter 6
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Ida is awake in her room at the Cosmopolitan, thinking about how sex, natural though it... (full context)
Part VI, Chapter 1
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...a woman Crab referred to as “fine,” sitting alone at a table drinking port. It’s Ida. Cubitt thinks of the love letter and sees Ida as a worthy recipient of such... (full context)
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Ida asks Cubitt if he’s a friend of Pinkie’s. Cubitt tells her no. She says good,... (full context)
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Ida tells Cubitt to wait for her. She wants a wash and then the two of... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 1
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...on common ground, woman to woman. But it’s not her mother waiting for her. It’s Ida. (full context)
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Ida rushes at Rose as if to hug her. Rose recoils. Ida tries to explain gently... (full context)
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Ida says that there’s a man she’s paying who’s been giving her evidence that proves Pinkie’s... (full context)
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Ida tells Rose that she, too, could go to jail for Hale’s murder. She could be... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 2
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From the news agent, Pinkie watches Ida stride down the street. Dallow points her out and tells Pinkie he’s had a narrow... (full context)
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...She confesses that she lied earlier. It wasn’t her mother she met with; it was Ida. Pinkie feels a momentary sensation of comfort. Maybe he doesn’t have to make a plan... (full context)
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Pinkie says he’s not worried; as long as Ida doesn’t find out about Spicer, he’s fine. Rose recoils the slightest bit at this, saying... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 3
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Pinkie decides to pay Prewitt a visit. He supposes that the old lawyer will be Ida’s next target. Prewitt lives on a street that parallels the railway. It’s dusty and loud.... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 6
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Ida is on the pier. She’s put back a few beers and is feeling good. The... (full context)
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Phil wonders how he ever had the courage to send Ida  those postcards. She’s too much woman for him. He says quietly that he really thinks... (full context)
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Ida is still determined to save Rose, and, while Phil goes to buy her another Guinness,... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 7
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...yet to live. The thought is too much for Pinkie. So is the sight of Ida staring at them across the pier. He asks Rose to take a walk with him... (full context)
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Pinkie and Rose get into the car, headed toward Peacehaven. Rose wonders if Ida was telling the truth, if Pinkie doesn’t love her after all. It would be the... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 8
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...same woman who’s been giving Pinkie such a hard time. He walks over and asks Ida what she wants with them. Ida asks him to have a drink with her. Then... (full context)
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Ida offers Dallow twenty pounds. She’d like to have a little chat. Dallow leaves, disgusted. He... (full context)
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...what Pinkie intends to do; he’s left little hints and breadcrumbs everywhere. He turns and Ida is there, telling him to get a car. Dallow says he doesn’t have money for... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 9
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Rose sees Dallow and Ida coming toward her. They’re accompanied by a confused looking policeman. Someone asks her for the... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 10
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Ida is back in Henekey’s bar, drinking a stout with Clarence. She has told him all... (full context)
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Ida returns home to her apartment and calls for Old Crowe, hoping that the two of... (full context)
Part VII, Chapter 11
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...Heaven, the other Hell. There are no guarantees. She tells the priest that it’s really Ida who should be damned, as she knows nothing of love. (full context)
Part I, Chapter 1
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...out of a pub, he goes inside to see a buxom woman whom everyone calls Lily entertaining her fellow bar flies. While Hale watches her, a young, intense, and shabbily dressed... (full context)
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...to the floor and tells the servers Hale will pay for the damage. Hale watches Lily some more and, fixated on her large breasts, feels as if he were looking at... (full context)
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...the thought that no one would dare kill him in broad daylight with witnesses nearby. Lily invites Hale to join her for a drink. He is reluctant to drink anymore and... (full context)
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Lily asks Hale if he’s okay. He looks sick. He stares at her breasts and wishes... (full context)
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Lily, whose real name is Ida, is waiting for some men to return from the bathroom.... (full context)
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Ida asks Hale his name and he tells her it’s Fred even though it’s really Charles.... (full context)
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Ida says sick men are always glomming on to her; it must be her motherly looks.... (full context)