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A Level English Literature B- Paper 2, Crime Writing- BR & ROTAM

Hey guys-- i wondered are there any teachers or tutors on here that could mark this question I did for practise for my a level please??

It would be brilliant if you did and thank you so so much!! :smile:

Question 3- ‘In crime writing the guilty are always punished.’ Explore the significance of punishment and justice in two crime texts you have studied. (25 marks).

Henry Graham Greene’s 1938 crime thriller novel ‘Brighton Rock’ set during the peak of the 1930s in the time of razor gangs and criminals, is the sequel to his 1936 novel ‘A Gun for Sale.’ At the end of ‘Brighton Rock’ the guilty are justly punished. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 ballad ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ from the collection he wrote with William Wordsworth titled ‘Lyrical Ballads’, tells the story of an old mariner stopping a wedding guest and telling the story of an albatross he killed. So, in ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, and crime writing in general the guilty are always punished.
The antagonist of ‘Brighton Rock’ is 17-year-old Pinkie who is ruthless, sociopathic and violent wanting to kill and kill again. At the beginning, he kills Hale which like Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s 1866 novel ‘Crime and Punishment’, defies the rest of the novel and what will happen. Pinkie is guilty of killing Hale. Pinkie’s physical description is threatening and grim: “grey eyes had an effect of heartlessness like an old man’s upon which human feeling had died.” The emphasised use of the noun “heartlessness”, is Greene perhaps already indicating to the audience that Pinkie is a bad character who is barbaric and wicked. Also, the further association with Pinkie and “died”, creates a feeling of tension and suspense for the reader but also makes him an unlikeable character because of his violent actions. Pinkie is also constantly conscious of how people view, especially regarding his age, he is belittled and not taken seriously by those older than him like Colleoni who Greene based on the Italian mob boss Charles Darby Sabini alias ‘King of the Racehorse gangs’, alias ‘King of the London Underground.’ He takes mere advice as insult and kills and does horrible actions to prove his superiority to everyone around him and to himself, like Raskolnikov: “he trailed the clouds of his own glory… hell lay about him in his infancy. He was ready for more deaths.” Pinkie is also associated with hell, he carries around a vitriol bottle of acid which references to brimstone and sulphur, linking to “fire and brimstone.” Pinkie uses it as a threat to Rose, and has a kind of pleasure when stroking it and thinking of using it, the reader viewing him as a dislikeable and cruel character who enjoys hurting people and seeing them suffer. To reinforce his status as hated and disliked, he uses misogynistic terms like “polony” and “buer” towards women, viewing them as evil doers and off-putting pieces of meat. He is also incredibly abusive to Rose whom he “pinches” and says, “I could break your arm.” All he wants to do is destroy everything in his wake and only cares about himself and what he achieves at the end. Modern readers will see Pinkie as an all round hellish and evil character, thus Greene achieving his goal of portraying Pinkie as “the distillation of evil in human form.” Greene’s intentions were to create Pinkie’s character to embody all things evil and satanic and so he has achieved that goal. So, the reader can only hope to imagine that Pinkie will be punished at the end of the novel.

In the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, the Mariner similarly has a threatening and strange appearance to the wedding guest: “long grey beard and glittering eye” and a “skinny hand.” This perhaps makes the reader feel a sense of tension and suspense and resonate our feelings with the Mariner. But, the Mariner seems to be enchanting in a way and have some sort of supernatural feel to him as the wedding guest stops and “listens like a three years child.” This simile implies that the mariner has something important to say and has captured the mariner. To the reader, the mariner is strange and mysterious as he seemed to have just appeared out of nowhere and chosen the wedding guest to listen to his tale. Coleridge increases the tension again when the wedding guest exclaims: “God save the ancient Mariner! From the fiends that plague thee thus!” the Biblical imagery in “fiends”, for a 18th century reader would view as fearful because most of society was Christian and so they would associate the Mariner and his doings with evil. In contrast to the Mariner, the victim of the crime is introduced which is the Albatross, it is described as being a “Christian soul”, perfectly good and innocent so the reader’s sympathies will lie with it rather than the mariner’s. In the final stanza of part one, the crime is committed and portrayed by Coleridge as something blasphemous and utterly horrible, with the short simple sentence of: “I shot the Albatross.” The mariner is guilty of killing the albatross. The reader will feel a sense of sympathy and pathos for the Albatross who was unjustly killed and a disliking towards the mariner. Like Greene’s Pinkie from ‘Brighton Rock’, the murder at the beginning defies the rest of the ballad’s events and the consequences following the killing of the albatross. So, the reader can only hope that the mariner gets punished.
At the end of the novel, Pinkie fights Dallow while accidently spilling the vitriol oil on himself: “flames had literally got him and he shrank, shrank into a school boy flying into pain and panic.” Pinkie is constantly associated with hell and damnation and being a Catholic, links to the most prominent theme in most of Greene’s novels (Catholicism), as also demonstrated in ‘The Heart of the Matter.’ The repetition of the verb “shrank”, perhaps implies that Pinkie is just going down a slow and painful death and literally shrinking to hell. This links to what the literary critic Herbert Rittaber stated that Pinkie is: “at once the most satanic character in all of modern fiction.” This part is heightened climax in the novel and brings about the most tension and suspense for the reader. It is also quite perhaps obvious that without Pinkie going to hell already, but he is dying in a living hell, perhaps foreshadowing his later fate in the afterlife. Additionally, Pinkie’s fate and punishment is significant because it is almost as if he is totally erased from existence and there is finally peace and justice: “it was as if he had been withdrawn suddenly by a hand out of any existence…. Whipped away into zero. Nothing.” The symbolism of the “hand out of any existence” is perhaps God removing Pinkie from this world, as Greene perhaps opens up ideas about fate and damnation here. The reader will feel a sense of perhaps triumph and relief that Pinkie is now dead and he has received his justice. Therefore, the guilty in crime novels are always punished as shown through the fate of Pinkie.
Throughout the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, the mariner suffers at sea after the killing of the albatross which “about my neck was hung”, as an eternal burden and reminder of his sin. The theme of eternal suffering and fate arises here. The Mariner is totally alienated and isolated, the rest of the crew dying: “alone, alone, all, all alone, alone on the wide wide sea.” The repetition of the adjective “alone”, emphasises the dread and agony the mariner feels, perhaps also making him feel regretful in the process. This is a part of his punishment, as well as supernatural things begin occurring: “the water like a witch’s oils, burnt green, blue and white.” This simile shows us that everything around him has become corrupted with evil as during this time “witch” meant something against God, and so the mariner’s crime is killing the albatross is not only a crime against nature and humanity but also God which makes it infinitely worse and so his punishment is going to be worse. The reader may perhaps either feel a sense of sympathy and pathos for the mariner or feel like he deserves to be punished. Once all the chaos has passed, at the end in the final stanzas, the mariner’s purpose is fulfilled and he tells the wedding guest the moral of the story is to respect all of God’s creatures to avoid such a horrible fate of the mariner, who is now damned as his punishment to carry the albatross around his neck and to tell his story: “he prayeth well, who loveth well, both man, bird and beast.” He is saying that there must always be harmony amongst humans and God’s creatures. The mariner could perhaps be compared to the legend of the Wandering Jew, who is doomed to walk the earth until judgement day. Therefore, the guilty are always punished at the end of crime novels and ballads.
In conclusion, the fate of Pinkie and the mariner are different but hold similar themes of Christianity, damnation and hell. Pinkie’s fate and punishment is physical and quite literal, whereas the mariner’s fate and punishment are more supernatural and physical. So, the guilty are always punished at the end of crime novels and ballads.

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