Submitted by: Sonia Sana, Sana SafeerSubmitted to: Asma MansoorM.A (ENG) F/11Post-WarDate: 1stApril, 2013 Date of re-writing: 26thMay 27, 2013Novel The Tenth Man by Graham Greene is combination of profound themes andphilosophiesAristotle was the one who gave the concept of three unities in the writings that are unityof time, action and place with proper beginning, middle and end. While reading the novel TheTenth Man by Graham Greene, we find all these three unities and there is a linear progression ofthe events having proper beginning, middle and end.As we see that the novel has four main parts. The first part starts with the scene of severalprisoners in a prison of the War camp and a lawyer Chavel is one of those prisoners who drawthe marked slip that shows that he will be died next day. Chavel makes a deal and buys his lifefrom Janvier (another prisoner in the same camp) by giving him all his property. Janvier leavesall wealth and fortune for his sister and mother and meets death in place of Chavel.Part two, the war is over and Chavel is alive and free. He returns to the house he sold forhis life and finds it occupied by Javier’s mother and sister, Thérèse. He transforms his identity.Assuming the false name Charlot, he becomes their servant.Part three tells about the arrival of an impostor, named Carosse, who claims to be Chavel.Carosse attempts to denounce Charlot, win the favor of Thérèse and stakes a claim on the
property. Finally in Part IV, Charlot, having fallen in love with Thérèse, tries to save her fromCarosse, as a means of redemption from his earlier cowardice.In the very first scene of the novel writer depicts the theme of time that time is of themain significance and anybody who have the means to know the time e.g. watches and alarmclock, he, in fact has the significance and sense of existence. The others without these things areof no importance and controlled according to the desire of time owners as mentioned in the text:“three good watches among thirty-two men…time, they considered, belonged to them andnot to the twenty-eight other men. But there were two times, and each man defended hisown with a terrible passion.” This last part shows the battle between two time owners orcontrollers who fight to per sue their individual time and want to establish their controlaccordingly. This also shows that time, a universal absolute has become a personal truth now asshown in the text: “this is my time… his time could not be wrong because he had inventedit”.Another significant theme is loss of identity as depicted in the text that only the personwho have some possession, have some identity. In the first scene in prison, the lawyer Chavel issome significant figure as he possesses some property because he remained a person of goodfortune in the past. Chavel losses this identity when he gives up all his wealth to his fellowprisoner to save his life.Here, along with the theme of identity crisis, we observe another important theme ofexistentialism and survival as we observe the character of Chavel fighting for survivalthroughout the novel. First, he saves his life by giving everything to Janvier, and then he getsfreedom from prison and wants to regenerate the life. For this, he adapts another identity to make
him suitable and the conditions in his favor as he changes his name to Charlot and goes back tohome to get that back, e.g. in the text Chavel says: “everything had changed a little for theworse: there was no question but that the house has surrendered to strangers.” In otherwords, he desires for a surrogate home and later we see that he substitutes the filiations withaffiliation.The theme of redemption is also there in the text. Chavel, the protagonist, feels the guiltof the Javier’s death and of his hiding of this mystery from Janvier’s family, other then that hetells a lie to them about his own reality and identity. In fact he does so out of his cowardicebecause he is afraid of Therese that she can take the revenge of his brother by killing him.Besides the cowardice, the guilty feelings make Chavel to ask the forgiveness of God and beingredeemed by this. This redemption becomes the cause of Salvation of Therese but is followed bythe death.Chavel accepts the death against the life of evil doings and rejects the way of Carosse’slife. He, in fact, sacrifices his life to save the life of Therese. This shows the human nature’s eviland angelic perspective. The important theme here is about the good part of human being who, atthe end, triumphs over the evil part. In other words, it is the theme of sacrifice and living forothers which is presented through the character of Chavel and also by the Janvier, in the start ofthe novel, who gives his life to give a happy and secure life to his family.In conclusion, we can say that Graham Greene is preoccupied by the complexity ofhuman typology whose representative changes according to the situations with respect to the roleof life. Greene is trying to explore the dynamism of life and the abyss of human decay but he isvery optimistic in his view point because he preserves a certain hope that through faith a humanbeing can revive a new life or satisfaction to his actions.