Teacher Guide

The Heart of the Matter Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Heart of the Matter

Published in 1948, The Heart of the Matter was an early-ish novel by the extremely prolific Graham Greene. He based the colonial official characters and the West African setting on his own World War II posting as a secret service agent in Sierra Leone. The novel's protagonist, police chief Henry Scobie, is a classic Greene anti-hero: Catholic, dutiful, tragic, tortured. Scobie feels at home after fifteen years in his unnamed town, and yet he still knows so little of the world both inside and outside his own (sometimes fevered) head. His lack of understanding ultimately proves tragic when he can not square his actions (especially adultery) with his Catholic morality and British sense of...

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