Make yourself at home : home and the pursuit of authenticity in the writing of Graham Greene
This thesis examines Graham Greene's treatment of ideas of home through the full course of his writing career and finds that, while the sense of home proves elusive for Greene's characters, they nonetheless consistently search for such a place. As Greene's career progresses it becomes ever more apparent that "home" is not necessarily the home of traditional expectation, but may be found in a variety of unforeseen places and experiences. Chapter One deals with the 1930s-the upheaval of the inter-war period and nostalgia for the lost security of the Victorian world-as experienced by Greene's youthful characters, all of whom are, in varying degrees, either actually or metaphorically homeless. Chapter Two sees the characters moving on into adulthood, becoming settled (or trapped) into conventional family homes. The background of the Second World War brings a sense of danger into ordinary life: many characters revel in this intrusion of the unheimlich into the everyday. In Chapter Three, which considers Greene's work in the 1950s and 1960s, Greene's characters struggle with the new uncertainty of the post-war, atomic age. Facing the fear of total destruction, many retreat into detachment, leaving behind old notions of home. Their aim is to go ever further, never back. Chapter Four covers Greene's last years and his fiction in the 1970s and 1980s, as he sought and found his own final home. His characters discover a more abstract sense of home, as Greene plays with ideas of fiction and reality and finds a blurred line between the two. Ultimately, my thesis finds that Greene and his characters are made more, not less, concerned with ideas of home by their homeless status, and that eventually, a sort of home is available to almost all who will look beyond the obvious, conventional means to it. These characters will attain a sense of personal authenticity without which, in Greene's work, no real home may be found.