Brighton Rock


Graham Greene

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Themes and Colors
Catholicism Theme Icon
Pride and Ambition Theme Icon
Sex and Shame Theme Icon
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Brighton Rock, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


At the heart of Brighton Rock by Graham Greene is the unconventional love story of Pinkie and Rose, whose shared Catholic faith shapes, illuminates, and ultimately dooms their love. Though both characters are devoutly (if imperfectly) Catholic, Pinkie focuses more on Hell and damnation, whereas Rose focuses more on Heaven and redemption. Ida Arnold, meanwhile—intent on making the brutal Pinkie answer for his crimes—believes most in common superstition, and in her own sense…

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Pride and Ambition

Pinkie and Ida might seem, at first glance, to be foils. Pinkie is a criminal and a Catholic, Ida an upstanding member of the community who puts more stock in superstition and the Ouija board than she does in God-given grace or the possibility of eternal damnation. The two are intimately connected, though, by the pride they take in their own accomplishments and the craven nature of their individual ambition.

Pinkie takes pride in the…

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Sex and Shame

Pinkie, having grown up a witness to his parents’ Saturday night love-making ritual, views sex with revulsion and disdain. At seventeen, he cherishes his “bitter virginity,” and avoids for as long as possible bedding Rose out of fear and disgust. Ida Arnold, on the other hand, sees the sex drive as nothing more than a healthy part of human nature. For Rose, sex with Pinkie is a mortal sin. Therefore, it is a…

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Innocence vs. Experience

Given the seriousness of the problems they face during the course of the novel, it’s easy to forget that Pinkie and Rose are teenagers. Until, of course, they act their age. Both Pinkie, whom Greene often simply refers to as “the Boy,” and Rose want desperately to have access to the adult world, but they’re too young to understand what such access actually entails, and so they make disastrous choices that give Ida control over…

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