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Graham Green, a British writer and the author of A Burnt-Out Case constructed this novel surrounding the matters of Catholicism amongst a central presence of mortality and politics. Greene starts it off with an ambiguous European named Querry who embarks on a journey within the Congo River, which leads him to a leper colony in Africa. As for the metamorphic sense, Querry is a burnt out case and has given up in way that makes him feel vulnerable to his society and senses that Europe no longer has anything to offer him. Greene enhancing Querry’s character regarding his fame for the architecture of Cathedrals amongst the fact that Querry has become a fugitive of his own life. Greene sets forth an image towards Greene as being a successful, self-absorbed white man who ends up in Africa and lives amongst a Catholic clergy.
Hence, Querry whom is burnt out on life and has lost his desire regarding his fame, love and talent. When Querry set forth into the Congo River it led him to an isolated destination, where all he wanted to do was burry himself and never be found; he wanted to disappear from the world. That is where Greene enforces the theme regarding leprosy and how it is used a continuous metaphor towards Querry and the way he feels internally. Querry speaks as though he mutilated as of the leprosy patients suffering from the disease. Greene depicts a series of episodic viewpoints where Querry is constantly suffering from his wounds he has created over his life. Therefore stating that: “Just so Querry, he has ceased feeling his crises of faith, vocation, love, etc. He is no longer interested in such once-tormenting questions; he is merely a mutilated man, uncomfortable, aimless and bored”. In the course of the book, he recovers his feelings. He learns how to live with his “mutilations,” like other burnt-out cases. (CITE). As for Querry’s surroundings, Dr. Colin became a dear friend towards Querry, he comprehends him and how he may function internally vs. externally.
Thus, Dr. Colin is in a way like Querry he has nothing more to offer in this world besides his profession surrounding the medical field. Dr. Colin’s wife dying shows the significance of what love can do to a person; it can make you feel dead all while trying to survive; stating: “Doctor Colin considers fame to have mutilated Querry. Fame is like leprosy — it eats away at the natural man, leaving something different. Querry, in coming to recognize the change in his identity, has grown deeply depressed and disaffected, much like a burnt-out case”. (CITE). All of the characters shows the leprosy pattern, it is a great metaphor being used to show the drastic changes it can do to one’s body when not feeling whole as a person. Having a healthy mind body and soul is an important aspect in life feeling down can create depression and suicidal thoughts. Querry was feeling miserable throughout the book and disappearing seemed to be one of his goals all while leaving Europe on his journey.
Once Querry arrived to Africa the amount of Catholicism was initiated immediately many of the priests devoted themselves to aiding the lepers. This sanction was a place where Querry will now make home he wanted to make anywhere a home away from home. Meanwhile Querry overcame many challenges while being there his association with the various characters brought out his desire for good faith all while trying to overcome his own burden of hurdles. Greene’s engages Catholicism within the characters for instance Dr. Colin has been wanting to spread medicine amongst Africa and initiate to the villagers that peace and love is surrounding them. This is allowing catholic faith to be pronounced in a good, honest way and that Dr. Colin is enhancing his faith towards God in a way he may not notice profoundly but we as readers can. A significant character that enhanced Querry’s faith, was Deo Gratis a burnt out case with no fingers. This allowed Querry to become patient and allow himself to develop a relationship with such kindness. Greene puts an iconic twist when it was regarding Christian values and religious elements and how Querry helped Deo Gratis in many ways. Greene inhibits Querry as a irrestible Christian man who is unable to initiate any harm to one, but rather his saintly ways continue to show who he truly is.
Henceforth, the characters who also played a role in Querry’s new endeavor was Rycker and Marie a married couple whom seem to tag along their problems anywhere they go. While Querry was picking up medical equipment regarding the order he was distributed. He then met Rycker in the supply line whom befriended Querry immediately insisting he stays the night at his house. Therefore leading to the chaos that continuously happens throughout the book. Rycker explains to Querry how he used to be a seminary student along with his sexy young wife, whom is quite young because although Rycker is old he states he needs to be someone he is still physically attracted too. Meanwhile Rycker is informing Querry in a theological stance, that he has a difficult time having Marie submit to her marriage duties, as for the bible mentions submission being a key in a successful marriage. Along with the others such as Parkinson and Father Thomas they look at Querry as though his problem will continue to haunt him if he continues too just run. Rycker mentions to Querry that he being a famous Architect will continue to follow him wherever he may go.
Querry’s fame was once a burden on his life his reasoning for wanting to leave Europe, yet Rykcer is informing him that it is yet to follow. Rycker is constantly informing Querry that his fame does not belong to him, but those around him, the world, and those who once adored him for his remarkable makings. Therefore Ryckers actions and beliefs of Querry initiates the fact that he can use Querry as a pedestal and so can the rest as an opportunity to increase their leverage in society. It all seemed to be a cycle of continuous undervalued faith within these characters they all seem to have a leprosy metaphor in each one of their lives. Rycker was yearning for fame all while his love for Marie was standing just on her looks, although he makes it seem like faith brought him a good looking woman, it’s all a cover up for his own personal flaws he had attainted over the years.
As for Querry a man who professes nothing but disdain of theology – “acts more Christian than any other person in the novel. Greene, thus, upholds the value of Christian behavior (that is, selflessness, generosity, sacrifice) while showing that there is no essential link between mouthing dogmas and being Christian. Indeed, those who mouth dogmas are inevitably the saps and villains in Greene’s bleak world” (CITE). Dr. Colin was constantly being understanding towards Querry and his outlooks upon life, although he continuously forbidden his Christian views it seemed as though he could not give up his captivation he has towards God. For that reason a strong statement that was said by Greene in cognition with Querry’s view towards Christ was: “Men have prayed in prison, men have prayed in slums and concentration camps, it’s only the middle classes who demand to pray in suitable surroundings”(Greene, pg.45). This particular statement initiates the one of many reasons of why Querry felt the way he felt about Christ, and how society has portrayed a certain environment to be in, in order to maintain a relationship with God.
Concluding with the leprosy of Querry, a happy man who was senselessly killed; Querry says, “I think I’m cured of pretty well everything, even disgust. I’ve been happy here.” The doctor replies, “Yes, you were learning to use your fingers pretty well, in spite of the mutilation” (Greene, pg. 180). Along with Rycker being the devil in disguise with a speck of goodness; which he never portrayed and a childlike persona, Marie, whom has yet to leave their meaningless marriage. The various characters throughout the book had a case of leprosy in their own way and many were not able to live with it, they would leech off one another in order to feel better, about who they truly are. Therefore, Querry left home and found a place, where overall he became psychologically maintainable but was not able to call the land his new home, just yet. This lead him to problems all while trying to fix himself, that is why running away from your problems, causes many more problems. His life at the leproserie was just getting started, and then it soon enough, it’s all gone.

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Graham Green. (2019, Apr 04). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://midwestcri.org/graham-green/

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