Representation of Kierkegaard’s Aesthetic Stage in Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock

This study argues that the anti-hero Pinkie in Graham Greene’s first overtly religious novel Brighton Rock (1938) echoes Danish existentialist Kierkegaard’s aesthetic way of life, devoid of ideal and courage. Being the first phase in Kierkegaard’s three-fold existential ladder (theory of stages) into the fully authentic identity, the aesthetic stage carries in itself the seeds of a fulfilled selfhood. As such, with its plots and themes, Brighton Rock experiments with the capacity of such an aesthetic life to form an authentic selfhood through the main character Pinkie Brown. Yet, this experimentation fails due to Pinkie’s living in absolute proximity to good and evil and his latent desire to experience them at the same time. His distorted view of religion and strong imagination of physical hell creates a cataclysmic force that eradicates himself though he desperately seeks for a pristine experience of his selfhood. Greene figuratively annuls this life-project by clearly demarcating it from a ‘strange’ operation of God’s will. In the end, Pinkie as the embodiment of nonexisting individual with his melancholy, anxiety, and despair progresses from purely destructive aesthetic categories of sensuousness to alleviating reflection which, in the end, enables him to make a ‘leap of faith’ that will carry him to a more elevated existence type.

GRAHAM GREENE’İN BRIGHTON ROCK İSİMLİ ESERİNDE KIERKEGAARD’IN “ESTETİK EVRESİ”NİN TEMSİLİ

Bu çalışmada, Graham Greene'nin ilk dini romanı Brighton Rock'taki (1938) antikahraman Pinkie'nin, Kierkegaard'ın 'estetik yaşam tarzı' fikrini yansıttığı iddia edilmektedir. Kierkegaard'ın gerçek benliğe götüren üç aşamalı varoluş evrelerinden ilki olan 'estetik evre' hakiki benliğe ulaşmanın ilk tohumlarını bünyesinde taşır. Aynı şekilde, Brighton Rock, kurgu ve temalarında Pinkie Brown aracılığıyla hakiki benliği elde edebilmenin olabilirliğini deneye tabi tutar. Ancak, bu deney, Pinkie'nin iyi ve kötü kavramlarını mutlak birliktelik içinde, gizil bir şekilde tecrübe etme isteği yüzünden başarısızlıkla sonuçlanır. Saf dinsel bir benlik algısı tecrübe etmek istemesine rağmen, Pinkie'nin çarpık dinsel inancı ve güçlü bir cehennem imgelemesi kendi benliğini yok eden yıkıcı bir etki yaratır. Böylece, bu evreyi, diğer romanlarında görülen "Tanrı'nın tuhaf çalışma biçimi" düşüncesinden açıkça ayıran Greene, bu yaşam evresinin olabilirliğini reddeder. Sonunda, melankolik, kaygılı ve ümitsiz var-olmayan bireyin somut örneği olarak karşımıza çıkan Pinkie, tamamen yıkıcı, estetik 'duyusal' kategorilerden, sonunda, onun “inanç sıçraması” yaparak daha yüksek bir varoluş tarzına ulaşmasını sağlayacak 'düşünsel' estetik kategorilere ilerler.

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