Brighton Rock

Vitriol Term Analysis

Pinkie carries a vial of vitriol, or sulfuric acid, in his pocket wherever he goes. On his first date with Rose, he fingers the vial with a pleasure that verges on the erotic. He finds the acid’s power to maim and even kill titillating. Its presence is also a form of foreshadowing. While in Sherry’s with Rose, Pinkie thinks he hears the acid whisper to him that it will inevitably disfigure his own face rather than the faces of his enemies, and, in the end, that is exactly what comes to pass.

Vitriol Quotes in Brighton Rock

The Brighton Rock quotes below are all either spoken by Vitriol or refer to Vitriol. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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

The inhuman voice whistled round the gallery and the Boy sat silent. It was he this time who was being warned; life held the vitriol bottle and warned him: I’ll spoil your looks. It spoke to him in the music, and when he protested that he for one would never get mixed up, the music had its own retort at hand: ‘You can’t always help it. It sort of comes that way.’

Related Characters: Pinkie Brown (speaker), Rose
Related Symbols: Music
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
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Vitriol Term Timeline in Brighton Rock

The timeline below shows where the term Vitriol appears in Brighton Rock. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part II, Chapter 1
Catholicism Theme Icon
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
...or a knife in his pocket, but Pinkie assures him it’s only a bottle of vitriol, or sulfuric acid. Pinkie tells Spicer to go; Rose is here. He fingers the bottle... (full context)
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
Pinkie shows Rose his bottle of vitriol, saying that people who get mixed up with bad actors like Hale end up getting... (full context)