Get help from the best in academic writing.

Graham Greene’s The Human Factor

Graham Greene’s The Human Factor

“Love was a total risk. Literature had always so proclaimed it. Tristan, Anna Karenina, even the lust of Lovelace – he had glanced at the last volume of Clarissa [13].” People are torn apart from one another simply because of a lack of understanding or a difference in each individual’s definition of life. The highest hopes, dreams, and aspirations of one person may be trivial in the eyes of another. The way that one would define love, good, and evil could very well be the exact opposite of another’s definition. To one society or culture, a man may seem to be a god because of his beliefs and values; while, to another, that man may appear to be a devil. In his The Human Factor, Graham Greene makes the reader question his or her own values and definitions while following the fast-paced and mysterious life of an English double agent. The binding power of love, the true determent of evil and the cleansing force of good are shown to be all in the eye of the beholder. As Castle, who could easily be paralleled to both the author and the legendary and fictitious James Bond, says in the novel, love of anything is a total risk. But, it is that binding power of love, whether it is love of another or love of a country or society, that acts as a stabilizing force in society’s comprehension and balance of good and evil.

The character of Castle is as complex as his interpretation of the meanings of love, good, and evil as well as the connection between the three entities. Throughout the entire novel, Greene plays on the reader’s assumption that Castle is not the double-agent. More importantly, he is perhaps the only character in the novel that the reader instantly associates with and perce…

… middle of paper …

…ions are just like those of Castle in the novel. Therefore, it is almost plausible to conclude that Greene personified himself as Castle. Since Castle seems to believe that he is the perfect spy or hero – James Bond, then Greene also believes this about himself. The beliefs of Castle would then be representative of Greene.

By taking advantage of man’s natural tendencies to apply their knowledge of good, evil, and love to any given situation, Greene has made a spy mystery that requires the reader to challenge his or her own definitions. The simple story of a lone crusader in the sea of enemies becomes a battle between good and evil, God and the Devil, and love and hate through the mastery of Greene’s poetic hand. In the words of Davis, the reader has become “an actor who has been miscast: when he tried to live up to the costume, he… fumbled the part” [4].

Transcendentalism in the Poems of Whitman

Transcendentalism in the Poems of Whitman

From looking at the titles of Walt Whitman’s vast collection of poetry in Leaves of Grass one would be able to surmise that the great American poet wrote about many subjects — expressing his ideas and thoughts about everything from religion to Abraham Lincoln. Quite the opposite is true, Walt Whitman wrote only about a single subject which was so powerful in the mind of the poet that it consumed him to the point that whatever he wrote echoed of that subject. The beliefs and tenets of transcendentalism were the subjects that caused Whitman to write and carried through not only in the wording and imagery of his poems, but also in the revolutionary way that he chose to write his poetry. The basic assumptions and premises of transcendentalism can be seen in all of Whitman’s poems, and are evident in two short poetic masterpieces: “A Noiseless Patient Spider” and “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.”

In the belief of transcendentalism, the reliance on intuition, instead of rationalization, became the means for a union between an individual’s soul and the soul of the world or the cosmos. Called the Oversoul by Emerson, this collective soul gathered the soul of a person upon a person’s death. To understand the Oversoul, one had to first understand oneself and then look toward nature as expressions and instructions for the living of one’s life (Boller 1-3). Through all of Whitman’s collections of poetry, essays, and letters, he quested to find the meaning of life and to understand the Oversoul, which the great poet referred to as the “float.”

In “A Noiseless Patient, Whitman presents a simple analogy that compares a lone spider searching for a hold to his soul as…

… middle of paper …

…au, Roger. The Transcendentalist Constant in American Literature. New York: New York UP, 1980.

Boller, Paul. American Transcendentalism, 1830-1860: An Intellectual Inquiry. New York: Putnam, 1974.

Eckley, Wilton. “Whitman’s ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider.'” The Explicator 22 (1963): 20.

Emmanuel, Lenny. “Whitman’s Fusion of Science and Poetry.” Walt Whitman Review 17 (1971): 73-81.

Lindfors, Berndt. “Whitman’s ‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.'” Walt Whitman Review 10 (1964): 19-21.

Stedman, Edmund Clarence. “An Important American Critic Views Whitman.” Critical Essays on Walt Whitman. Ed. James Woodress. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1983. 116-127.

Whitman, Walt. “The Noiseless Patient Spider.” Leaves of Grass. New York: Penguin, 1980. 347-348.

Whitman, Walt. “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.” Leaves of Grass. New York: Penguin, 1980. 226-227.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.