Brighton rock Author:Graham Greene Edition published 1968 — "Brighton Rock" has two protagonists - Pinkie Brown is a teenage gangster, trying to prove his manhood and establish himself as a serious force in the Brighton underworld. Ida Arnold is a healthy, flirtatious, and determined woman who cannot be dissuaded from any purpose. When corrupt newspaperman Charles Hale is killed b... more »y Pinkie's gang, Ida's momentary acquaintance with Hale on a Bank Holiday leads her to pursue the truth surrounding his death. The conflict between Pinkie, who falls into a Calvinist-Catholic defeatism, and Ida, who believes in right and Hammurabian justice(an eye for an eye) shapes the rest of the novel.
Human sexuality and relationships are important facets of "Brighton Rock." Pinkie and Rose, two young Catholics raised in a run-down, predominantly 'Roman' housing project - constantly struggle with maturity, responsibility, and human physicality. While they view sex as 'mortal sin,' Ida, their pursuer, sees it as 'natural,' and celebratory of life. The complex relationship between Pinkie and the equally young and innocent Rose adds further purpose to Ida's mission.
Minor characters like the anemic Spicer, the loyal Dallow, the brusque Cubitt, and the literary lawyer Prewitt, along with Rose's 'moody' parents and his own eternally copulating parents, all complicate Pinkie's inner turmoil - and reveal that Pinkie's supposed manhood is a veil for his inherent weakness and inexperience.
Greene's wealth of literary knowledge also adds texture to the novel as a whole. References to Shakespeare, the 18th century actor and Poet Laureate Colley Cibber, Romantic-era poets like Keats and Wordsworth, Victorian literature (Dickens' "David Copperfield"), and modern magazines and motion pictures casts the novel against a history of British literature.« less