Welcome to our second read-along discussion of The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene. If you’re following our schedule, you should have read Book One and Book Two. We discussed Book One last week.
Spoiler warning: We will be discussing Book One and Book Two of The Heart of the Matter in detail, both in this post and the comments section.
Well, we’ve had some interesting developments in book two, the biggest being the entrance of Helen on the scene. Greene describes the shipwreck survivors so vividly – that was a difficult section to read. I was surprised that Scobie jumped into an affair with Helen so quickly, as he seemed to be so duty-bound and determined to be above-board. And yet his feelings for Helen don’t work to make him any happier than he was before. Knowing how tied up he is in doing the right thing, I can only see his guilt over the affair dragging him deeper and deeper into despair.
One thing I found intriguing: Scobie’s obligation to make Louise happy. He knows he doesn’t love her anymore, but he still takes it as his responsibility to see to her comfort and happiness. His obligation to her leads him to do the one thing that goes against his professional scruples: take money from Yusef. True, it is a loan, not a hand-out, but it has still put him inside Yusef’s pocket, culminating in the final scene of this section, in which he passes the package on to the ship captain.
I am pretty sure I know where the book is going. The foreshadowing hasn’t exactly been subtle, but I won’t spell it out in case I’m the only one who’s thinking in that direction. Here’s a few questions for those of you who are reading along with me.
~ Any predictions on what will happen when Louise returns?
~ What do you think was in the package Scobie gave to the ship’s captain?
~ In your opinion, how will things end for Helen?
~ How does Wilson connect to everything?
Feel free to leave your answers, and any other thoughts you have on this week’s section, in a comment below. If you write your own post, be sure and leave me a link so I can come read it. Next Friday we will discuss the final section of the book.