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The Power and the Glory

  • Study Guide

Part II: Chapter Four

Summary Part II: Chapter Four

The episode with the murdered boy is significant because it allows us to have a glimpse of the real suffering and sorrow the gringo has caused. The lieutenant romanticizes the gringo in the early part of the novel. The gunslinger, the cowboy, the outlaw—he is a type we are all familiar with, the subject of many movies and novels. Greene here shows us the bloody and hateful consequences of such a person's lawlessness. Once again, Greene provokes the reader to think beyond conventional types and to confront the ugly reality beneath. But Greene himself walks something of a fine line. As we have discussed earlier in relation to the pious woman, he seems to argue that sins such as pride and complacency are in some ways worse than sins of passion. And while this still may be Greene's point, he has to be careful not to minimize or trivialize the real suffering inflicted by egregious, violent, extreme actions. Showing the bloody infant and the suffering mother helps to qualify his point somewhat, that negatively motivated passions may indeed be just as reprehensible—if not more so—than apathy and complacency.