Study Help Essay Questions


1. How does Tench's meeting with the priest establish at the outset of the novel a sense of decay and sterility?

2. How does the story of young Juan contrast with the unfolding of the priest's martyrdom?

3. How does the Fellows family manifest Greene's theme of human indifference or non-involvement?

4. In what ways is Coral Fellows the priest's spiritual daughter?

5. How is Padre Jose a "false father" figure? Does he have any virtues?

6. What role does the jefe play in the novel?

7. Trace several ways in which the priest and the lieutenant are alike.

8. What are Maria's motivations for protecting the priest?

9. Discuss the symbolism of the priest's wine-tasting "celebration" in the hotel room with the Governor's cousin, the beggar, and the jefe.

10. How does the priest's night in jail change his outlook on human nature?

11. In what ways is the priest's confrontation with the mongrel dog central to Greene's themes in the novel?

12. What is the importance of the priest's meeting with the Indian woman?

13. Why is the Lehrs' home a false Eden?

14. Describe the symbolism behind the priest's dreams.

15. How is the priest's charity evidenced after he decides to return to Calver?

16. How does the priest's drinking influence his dealings with Calver?

17. Summarize the debate between the priest and the lieutenant.

18. How does Greene indicate the lieutenant's charity before the priest's death?

19. Discuss Tench's sense of desertion at the end of the book.

20. Describe the significance of the arrival of the new priest at the end of the book.

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