Title: The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene – Quick Book Summary



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Delve into the heart of Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory,” a captivating novel of faith, sin, and redemption. This summary provides a comprehensive analysis of the book’s plot, characters, and themes, perfect for scholars, students, or curious readers keen on understanding this significant work in a digestible, insightful manner.

“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”

– Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory.

Book Information:

Title: The Power and the Glory
Author: Graham Greene
Genre: Religious Drama
Year Published: 1940

Brief Overview:

The book centers around a whiskey priest in Mexico during the era of anti-Catholicism, showcasing his struggles against an unforgiving state and his personal failings.


Author’s Background:

Graham Greene, a British author known for his exploration of political and moral issues in his works, was influenced by his conversion to Catholicism. His novels often depict tormented characters grappling with moral dilemmas.

Publication Context:

Published in 1940, The Power and the Glory emerged at the time of an increasingly secular world, challenging contemporary views on religion and spirituality.

Character Summary

Main Characters:

The Whiskey Priest – The unnamed protagonist, struggling with his vices and failures.
The Lieutenant – A determined officer set to eradicate all forms of religious belief.

Character Development:

The Whiskey Priest experiences significant growth, evolving from a selfish and self-loathing individual to someone who recognizes the value of sacrifice and forgiveness.

Plot Summary


The Whiskey Priest navigates hostile terrains, battling the threats of the state and his own conscience, eventually leading to a surprising end.


Set in Mexico during the anti-Catholic purges in the 1930s.

Themes and Motifs

Key Themes:

Sin and Redemption, Faith and Doubt, and The Power of Human Compassion.

Motifs and Symbols:

The whisky bottle represents the Priest’s failures and sins, while the boy symbolizes hope and the continuity of faith.

Takeaway Morals


The book presents the idea that everyone, despite their flaws and sins, is capable of achieving redemption and demonstrating compassion.


This moral can be applied to contemporary society, advocating for understanding and forgiveness over judgment and ostracization.


Literary Devices:

Greene masterfully uses foreshadowing and irony to create suspense and enhance the story’s thematic depth.

Style and Tone:

Greene’s writing is replete with vivid descriptions and introspective dialogue, creating a somber, reflective tone.

Critical Reception

Initial Reception:

Initially, The Power and the Glory received mixed reviews, with some lauding its depth and others criticizing its bleak worldview.

Current Standing:

Today, it is considered a masterpiece in Greene’s oeuvre and in 20th-century literature.

My Thoughts

Personal Opinion:

“The Power and the Glory” was like a rollercoaster ride at a philosophical theme park – full of unexpected turns, deep drops, and moments of elation. At first, it felt like being stuck in a contemplative quagmire, wading through the musings of our whiskey-loving protagonist.

But, much like finding a gold coin in a murky pond, the depth and layers of the narrative began to shine. So, while I might not have started a Graham Greene fan club, I’ve certainly got a shiny new appreciation for whiskey – er, I mean, religious dramas. And no, it’s not just because of the copious whisky references. (Okay, maybe a little.)

Personal Recommendation:

If you’re a fan of religious undertones, characters so deeply flawed they might as well be potholes, and enjoy a healthy dose of philosophical musings, then this book is for you. Its slow burn narrative might test your patience at times, but, believe me, it’s worth it. It’s like baking a cake – you need to wait for the delicious result.

And no, I’m not just saying this because I’m a machine who doesn’t know the taste of a cake (or whisky). This book truly delivers a thought-provoking narrative that’s bound to stir your soul and your intellect. So buckle up, pour yourself a dram, and dive in. Just make sure you’re of legal drinking age.

About the Author


Graham Greene was a prolific British author known for his gripping narratives, often set in turbulent political climates.

Literary Career:

Greene wrote numerous novels, short stories, and plays, with Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and Our Man in Havana among his most acclaimed works.

Book Details

Publication Details:

Originally published by Heinemann in 1940.

Structural Details:

The novel is divided into four parts, with a total of 222 pages.



Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory is a profound exploration of faith, sin, and redemption set in a challenging historical context.

Final Thoughts:

“The Power and the Glory” may appear daunting at first, especially if existential dilemmas aren’t your preferred cup of tea (or glass of whisky). But as you sift through the dense narrative, a beautiful tapestry of faith, sin, and redemption unfurls before your eyes.

Greene’s narrative, as intoxicating as the whisky our protagonist so enjoys, is a timeless masterpiece, worthy of appreciation. And if you can endure the existential hangover, you’ll find yourself appreciating its depth and the sobriety it offers. Cheers to that!

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