Spoiler warning: We will be discussing The Heart of the Matter in detail, both in this post and the comments section.
Maybe that should say “I” will be discussing the book? Did anyone keep reading along with me?
Well, I can’t say that I loved The Heart of the Matter, but I expected that. I am reading Greene’s books for the quality of writing and for the human issues that he deals with, not because I think they will be happy, feel-good reads.
Scobie is an intriguing character. He is so caught up in his obligations to people that he forgets that he also has an obligation to himself. He is willing to damn himself to hell, according to his Catholic beliefs, rather than potentially disappoint and hurt the two women in his life. I find his sense of duty bizarre. And I find it very strange that, with as strong as his religious beliefs are, that he found it easier to go against God than to stay around and choose between two women and stand up to the consequences of his dealings with Yusef.
Wilson also has his sense of duty, his obligation to the truth – even to the point of revealing to Louise his suspicions about Scobie’s death. He says he loves her, but his love is completely selfish, and he’s willing to hurt Louise’s memory of Scobie in order to get her to turn to him.
I can’t imagine that anybody reading this book would be surprised at the ending, as the foreshadowing of Scobie’s decision is very heavy-handed. I almost wish that Greene had been a little less heavy with the hints, leaving me more in suspense as to what his ultimate choice would be.
If you read along with me, please leave your thoughts on the book in the comment section, so we can keep the discussion going.