Conni Nutt

Written by Conni Nutt

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Are you ready to delve into the fascinating world of Graham Greene and explore the intricacies of his timeless novel, “The Heart of the Matter”? Prepare to be captivated by the depth and complexity of the characters, the exploration of moral dilemmas, and the exploration of colonial life in West Africa. In this article, we will uncover 17 intriguing facts about Greene’s masterpiece, offering you a deeper insight into the heart of the matter at hand. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the novel or discovering it for the first time, these facts will shed light on the genius of Graham Greene and provide a richer understanding of this literary gem. So, grab a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot, and embark on this literary journey as we explore the heart of “The Heart of the Matter.

Key Takeaways:

  • Graham Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter” is a timeless exploration of morality, faith, and the human condition, captivating readers with its powerful narrative and complex characters.
  • Through its vivid portrayal of wartime West Africa and the inner turmoil of its protagonist, the novel challenges traditional notions of morality and continues to resonate with readers today.
Table of Contents

Graham Greene is considered one of the greatest British writers of the 20th century.

With his intricate storytelling and insightful examination of human nature, Graham Greene has left an indelible mark on the literary world. His novel “The Heart of the Matter” is widely regarded as one of his masterpieces.

“The Heart of the Matter” was first published in 1948.

This gripping novel is set in wartime West Africa and explores themes of morality, faith, and the complexities of the human heart. It delves into the struggles of the protagonist, Henry Scobie, an honorable and conflicted colonial police officer.

The book is often hailed as a classic of modernist literature.

Graham Greene’s impeccable writing style and his ability to delve into the depths of the human psyche have earned “The Heart of the Matter” its status as a renowned literary work. The novel’s introspective narrative captivates readers, forcing them to question their own beliefs and values.

Graham Greene drew inspiration from his own experiences as a British intelligence officer during World War II.

Having served in Sierra Leone, Greene infused his personal encounters and observations into the storyline of “The Heart of the Matter,” lending an authentic and vivid portrayal of the wartime setting.

The novel explores the inner turmoil and moral dilemmas faced by its protagonist.

Henry Scobie finds himself torn between his sense of duty, his personal desires, and his religious beliefs. As the novel unfolds, he grapples with the consequences of his choices, leading to an intense examination of the human condition.

“The Heart of the Matter” explores themes of betrayal and disillusionment.

Graham Greene delves deep into the complexities of human relationships, highlighting the heartbreaking consequences of betrayal and the devastating effects of disillusionment. Through his vivid characters, he presents a thought-provoking exploration of human weaknesses and the consequences of our actions.

Graham Greene’s novel challenges traditional notions of morality.

“The Heart of the Matter” raises profound ethical questions, forcing readers to confront their own moral compass. Greene skillfully navigates the grey areas of morality, shedding light on the conflicts and compromises faced by individuals in challenging circumstances.

The protagonist’s struggle with faith is a central theme in the novel.

Henry Scobie, torn between his devout Catholic beliefs and the moral ambiguity of his actions, grapples with the nature of faith and the existence of God. Greene intricately weaves religious motifs throughout the narrative, adding depth and complexity to the overall story.

“The Heart of the Matter” examines the impact of colonialism on both the colonizer and the colonized.

Graham Greene explores the power dynamics, prejudices, and cultural clashes that emerge in the context of British colonial rule. Through his complex characters, he presents an insightful critique of imperialism and its psychological toll on both sides of the divide.

The novel’s atmospheric setting creates a vivid backdrop for the story.

Graham Greene’s descriptive prose breathes life into the West African backdrop, transporting readers to the exotic locale. The vivid landscapes and rich cultural details enhance the reading experience, immersing us in the world of the novel.

“The Heart of the Matter” has been adapted into a successful film.

In 1953, the novel was adapted into a film starring Trevor Howard as Henry Scobie. The movie captured the essence of the novel and received critical acclaim for its faithful portrayal of Greene’s intricate narrative.

Greene’s character development in “The Heart of the Matter” is masterful.

The author’s deep understanding of human psychology and his ability to create complex and multi-dimensional characters make this novel a compelling read. Each character’s motivations, desires, and flaws are expertly crafted, adding depth and authenticity to the story.

“The Heart of the Matter” is celebrated for its powerful and evocative prose.

Graham Greene’s writing style is known for its precision and emotional resonance. Each sentence is carefully crafted, evoking a range of emotions and painting a vivid picture of the characters and their internal struggles.

The novel’s exploration of love and desire is a central theme.

Through the lens of Henry Scobie’s tumultuous love affair, “The Heart of the Matter” delves into the complexities of desire, passion, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love. Greene’s nuanced portrayal of relationships adds depth and realism to the story.

“The Heart of the Matter” continues to resonate with readers today.

Despite being published over seven decades ago, Graham Greene’s novel still captivates audiences with its timeless themes and universal exploration of the human condition. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the power of Greene’s storytelling.

Graham Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter” is a thought-provoking and compelling read.

Through its intricate plot, complex characters, and exploration of moral dilemmas, this novel stands as a testament to Greene’s literary genius. It continues to be regarded as one of the greatest works of 20th-century literature, enticing readers with its captivating narrative.

Whether you’re a fan of Graham Greene or new to his work, “The Heart of the Matter” is a must-read.

Immerse yourself in this powerful and thought-provoking novel that has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape. Explore the depths of human nature and the complexities of the human heart through the pages of this captivating book.


Graham Greene’s novel “The Heart of the Matter” continues to captivate readers with its compelling narrative and timeless themes. Greene masterfully explores the complexities of human nature, morality, and the personal struggles faced by the characters in a colonial setting.

The story delves deep into the heart of the protagonist, Major Scobie, as he grapples with the consequences of his choices and the moral dilemmas that arise in his life. Greene’s skillful portrayal of Scobie’s internal conflicts resonates with readers, inviting them to reflect on their own struggles and ethical decisions.

“The Heart of the Matter” is more than just a novel; it is a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition. Greene’s beautiful prose and insightful storytelling make this book a must-read for lovers of literature.


1. What is “The Heart of the Matter” about?

“The Heart of the Matter” is a novel by Graham Greene set in a colonial African town. It follows the story of Major Scobie, a British colonial police officer, as he navigates moral dilemmas and the consequences of his actions.

2. Why is “The Heart of the Matter” considered a captivating book?

“The Heart of the Matter” is considered captivating because of its complex characters, compelling narrative, and its exploration of profound themes such as morality, human nature, and personal struggle.

3. What makes Graham Greene a masterful storyteller?

Graham Greene’s mastery lies in his ability to delve deep into the psyche of his characters, presenting their internal conflicts with great nuance. His prose is elegant and evocative, creating a vivid and immersive reading experience.

4. How does “The Heart of the Matter” resonate with readers?

“The Heart of the Matter” resonates with readers through its exploration of universal themes and its relatable portrayal of the complexities of human nature. It prompts introspection and invites readers to reflect on their own moral choices and dilemmas.

5. What is the significance of the colonial setting in “The Heart of the Matter”?

The colonial setting in “The Heart of the Matter” serves as a backdrop for examining the dynamics of power, privilege, and the clash of cultures. It raises questions about the impact of colonialism on individual lives and highlights the complexities of living in such a context.

If you're fascinated by the life and works of Graham Greene, his experiences during World War II, and the impact of colonialism on his writing, you'll love exploring more captivating facts about this literary giant. Don't miss the opportunity to delve into the intriguing connections between Greene's faith, Catholicism, and his thought-provoking narratives that continue to resonate with readers across generations.

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