Brighton Rock

Brighton Rock Part III, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pinkie is in Snow’s, simmering with fury over the insults he received not only from Colleoni but from Brewer and the police inspector. The restaurant is full; there are no places to sit, but Pinkie demands service anyway. The waitresses look at him contemptuously and move away. Someone nearby says in a small voice that there are no tables. It’s Rose, dressed up for her day off. She guides Pinkie out of the café, where he tells her he could break her arm if he wanted to. Rose doesn’t understand what she’s done to offend him.
Pinkie’s fury is easily triggered, and, once he is convinced he has been wronged, he must act out through violence. His threat to Rose about breaking her arm is his way of letting off steam and punishing her for Colleoni and the police inspector’s poor treatment of him. Being sweet and retiring, she is an easy target for his free-floating anger.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Rose asks Pinkie if he got her message. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She tells him she called for him at Frank’s and left a message with a man whose voice reminded her of the same man who left the Kolley Kibber ticket under her table cloth. Pinkie decides she needs to be scared again. She’s getting too close to the truth, so he insists they go for a walk. Instead of walking, though, they get on a bus headed for a place called Peacehaven. Pinkie assumes that’s in the country.
Rose knows much more than she admitted to Ida. Not only would she recognize Spicer’s face in a crowd; she also knows his voice. Pinkie, who does not yet know that Ida is on his trail, decides to focus his powers of persuasion on Rose. His courting, though, has taken on a different flavor. His plan is to scare her rather than woo her into submission.
Themes
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Once on the bus, Pinkie glances over at Rose and is disgusted by her. He is angry all over again that the guys could even think he would marry such a mousey creature. He tells her to take off her shabby straw hat and she does, but now he’s left staring at her small skull and dull hair. Rose, though, is happy. She tells him it makes her giddy to be in the country with him. They stop at Peacehaven, a dwindling seaside village full of “To let” signs. Walking to the edge of a cliff, Rose says she feels as if she might fall into the ocean.
Pinkie’s pride strikes again, as does his tendency to write off women as objects to be looked at or consumed. In her cheap straw hat, Rose does not paint a pretty picture, and, even though he is only dating her to keep her from talking to the cops, he feels he is owed something attractive to look at. Rose’s comment about falling into the ocean is a quick bit of eerie foreshadowing.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Pinkie asks Rose about the call. She says again that the man who left the ticket answered. Pinkie reminds her that that man is dead, but Rose says it was him and that she called Frank’s to let Pinkie know that a woman had come around asking questions. The woman had a booming laugh and seemed quite at ease. Rose says she wasn’t like her and Pinkie. He doesn’t like her suggesting they have so much in common. He asks what the woman wanted to know, and Rose tells him that she wanted to know what the man who left the card looked like. Rose insists she told the woman nothing and Pinkie tells her he’s only worried on her account. He doesn’t want her to get mixed up in anything underhanded.
Rose senses from the beginning that Ida is not from the same class as she and Pinkie. Ida’s overly friendly demeanor struck Rose as insincere. Rose might be young, naïve, and mousey, but is she is as observant as Ida, if not more so. Pinkie, of course, underestimates her powers of insight. He is not worried about Rose’s safety. Ever selfish, he cares only about his own future.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
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Rose tells Pinkie she’s never scared when he’s around, and Pinkie grows irritated, realizing how much she likes him. Women, he thinks, really only want one thing from a man and that’s sex. He remembers watching his parents make love every Saturday and is filled with revulsion, thinking that Rose will want him to do that to her, too. He tells her they should get going, but Rose wants to stay, so they sit down near the sea and talk. Pinkie asks Rose where she’s from and she tells him Nelson Place. Pinkie acts like he’s only passed through that poor neighborhood but, in reality, his family home is very close by there in Paradise Piece and he can’t help but return in his mind to those ugly, worn houses. He’d wanted to escape that place, and now Rose is bringing it back to him.
Pinkie is afraid of women and the power they might exercise over him, should he let himself be vulnerable to their needs and charms. Sex terrifies and disgusts him in equal measure. For him to think that Rose would only want him to make love to her shows how little he understands women in general and Rose in particular. Also, he’s too proud to admit to her that they do, indeed, come from the same place. Rose represents many things to Pinkie, and one of those is his failure to leave his impoverished background behind.
Themes
Catholicism Theme Icon
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Rose announces that the woman who’d come asking questions clearly did not come from Nelson Place. Then she asks if Pinkie might be from there, or somewhere nearby. Pinkie denies it. Rose says she thought he might be because he’s Catholic and everyone in Nelson Place is Catholic, but Pinkie says religion isn’t really all that important to him. He doesn’t have to think about God until he dies. Rose says the questioning woman obviously did not believe in anything. She was completely carefree. Rose, though, prays, and when she does she hopes she won’t die suddenly. Pinkie says he never prays, but in reality he prays all the time, mostly that he won’t have to go home to Paradise Piece ever again.
Pinkie needs to think himself better than Rose in every way. That is why he lies to her about his upbringing and says that Catholicism doesn’t matter to him. Religion and his desolate childhood have been as important in shaping his worldview as they have been in shaping Rose’s. Ida, Rose argues, is not burdened with such baggage. Pinkie lies yet again when he tells Rose he never prays. His main prayer is one of pride. To return to Paradise Piece would be the ultimate failure.
Themes
Catholicism Theme Icon
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Pinkie, who’d moodily asked for quiet, now tells Rose to say something. She grows angry and says if she doesn’t suit him, she would like him to leave her alone. Pinkie is surprised by her passion. He’d thought she was too timid to act this way, and he knows now he has to be careful and to do the things a boy on a date would do for a girl. He reaches out and puts his hand on her knee. It lays there like a dead fish. He says he’s sorry for his behavior; he has business cares, that’s all, and he thinks that they suit each other perfectly.
Pinkie wrongfully assumes he can treat Rose poorly and never suffer the consequences, but Rose surprises him with a rare display of anger. His attempt to make up for his unkindness falls flat, though, because, as a bitter virgin, he has no idea how to physically express affection. Also, he doesn’t really feel affection for Rose. To him, she’s a problem to solve.
Themes
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Rose apologizes, too, and they get up to leave. Pinkie catches a glimpse of bare leg between her skirt and stocking and feels a twinge of sexual desire that is like a sickness. He wonders if everyone is fated to live the same sad lives his parents did—that of stuffy rooms and annoying children and obligatory sex. He gets deeply depressed, thinking that there is no escape for him or anyone from such drudgery but then feels a sudden surge of pride, vowing he’ll never submit to the system. Rose, though, seems to want him to kiss her. He flubs it. He’s never kissed a girl.
Pinkie is not beyond experiencing lust, but his unexpected and fleeting desire for Rose sends him into a spiral of despair because what he knows of family life is bleak. His pride saves him such joyless ruminations, however. He decides that he will rebel against society’s expectations. Even as he is rejoicing in his escape, he tries to please Rose with a kiss. His inexperience makes the effort a farce.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Back on the bus, Pinkie wonders why he bothered to bring Rose out. She obviously still remembers seeing Spicer. They return to Brighton and walk up the pier. Music plays: silly, saccharine love songs. A street photographer asks to snap their photo. Pinkie refuses. Rose wishes he would have consented. She says they could have had their picture up on the photographer’s kiosk window with the bikini clad girls and famous comedians. While she’s looking at the photos, she sees one of Spicer and points it out to Pinkie. She says that Spicer obviously isn’t dead, though he looks like he fears someone might kill him at any minute.
The love songs provide the perfect accompaniment to Pinkie’s embarrassment and shame. As usual, the street photographer appears at the most inconvenient time possible. Pinkie is too proud to have his picture taken with Rose, whom he still considers nothing more than an ignorant girl. Rose, though, misses nothing. She spots Spicer’s photograph and reads his expression with perfect accuracy.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Pinkie goes inside the kiosk and tells the photographer he would like to buy the picture of Spicer. The photographer refuses. He tells Pinkie he needs “a slip,” presumably something the photographer gives to the subject after he’s photographed. On the wall behind the photographer’s head are snapshots of famous people, including the Prince of Wales and Lily Langtry. Pinkie finds little comfort in thinking that Spicer is now among the immortals.
Pinkie does not like his men being seen. That’s one reason he wants the photograph. Also, he is already plotting Spicer’s demise. To have Spicer’s picture in plain sight after he is dead might cause trouble for Pinkie.
Themes
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon