In "Twenty-One Stories" Graham Greene is concerned with a number of themes. Choose any one of these themes and discuss by making close reference to his collection.

Essay by angel_no7 January 2007

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Death is among the themes which are explored in Twenty-One Stories just like relationships, childhood, religion and others. "The Basement Room", "A Case for the Defence" and "A Drive in the Country" are stories related to the theme of death. However, there are others in which death is featured more prominently.

Greene speaks about death in conjunction with fear. It is clearly seen in "The End of the Party" and "The Second Death". In the former, the cause of Francis' death is "fear, fear of the party, fear of being made to hide by himself in the dark." Moreover, for the adult in "The Second Death" fear is about the afterlife. He fears judgement because of the immoral life which he led. He believes that suffering is eternal and says, "when one's dead there's no unconsciousness any more for ever," it is not like sleep "or rest in peace."

In "Proof Positive" and "A Little Place off the Edgware Road", once again, Greene takes the idea of death but here he uses it to create horror and disgust. This is mainly achieved by the setting and the characters. The setting in "Proof Positive" is very significant. "The rooms were badly heated, and yellow fingers of fog felt for cracks" on the windows. Later on, there is also reference to frost. The coldness and the use of the colour yellow all contribute to this theme. Horror is portrayed through the description of Major Weaver; the reference to "the trembling of the hand", "the satirical eye" and the ball which turns to glass. Alongside with the handkerchief which "exhaled as rich and sweet an odour as a whole altar of lilies" to conceal the smell of decay and the constant reminder of the voice,