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Article

Способы моделирования таинственного в романах The Ministry of Fear Г. Грина и The Heat of the Day Э. Боуэн

The article compares two twentieth century English novels: The Ministry of Fear (1943) by Graham Greene and The Heat of the Day (1949) by Elizabeth Bowen in terms of the techniques used by their authors to create the atmosphere of mystery. The choice of the material is justified by the evident similarities in the plots of the two novels and also by the fact that both authors were acting as British secret agents during the World War II and thus their view on espionage (which is the main topic in both novels) is worth studying closely. The aim of this research was to figure out the reasons why these literary works arouse the feeling of anxiety and thrill in the reader. Besides, we aspired to see whether the authors employ the same or different techniques when their intention is to bring the Mysterious into their plot.

The analysis of the methods of modeling the mysterious is preceded by the study of genre. It seemed absolutely necessary to introduce such a study as the mystery in literature has always been seen as an indispensible part of a detective story, spy story or horror story and the research would be incomplete without the profound understanding of the connection of the novels with these genres or the account of their history and development. It is concluded that the genre of The Ministry of Fear and The Heat of the Day can be most accurately defined as "psychological spy thriller", bearing many of the typical traits of the spy story on the one hand and concentrating on characters’ mind and feelings on the other.

The analysis of the novels shows that they are similar in the way they interpret the existential problem of "the other" and in how they use the duality motif. The main characters in both novels (Arthur Rowe in The Ministry of Fear and Stella Rodney in The Heat of the Day) are searching for the enemy only to find him in themselves. At the same time each of the two systems of characters has its pairs of ‘twins’: while there is only one, though a major one, in Bowen’s novel (Robert Kelway and Robert Harrison), there are lots of them in Greene’s novel, because here most of the characters lead a double life. However it is most crucial to highlight the duality motif in the plot of Arthur Rowe’s losing his memory and becoming Mr Digby.   

Still, the authors employ different ways to create the suspense effect. While Graham Greene achieves this by the changes of tempo which becomes faster each time something dreadful or shocking is going to happen, Elizabeth Bowen makes use of the lacunae in plot. Missing information makes the reader wonder and try to fill in the gaps by himself and the fact that the author never gives him the final answer whether he has guessed right adds a lot to his anxiety.