How Successful is Graham Greene as a storyteller

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I think Graham Greene can be said to be a successful storyteller with some of the stories he wrote. I will consider the stories ‘I Spy’ and ‘All But Empty’ both post 1914 in this essay. I think the short story ‘I Spy’ has been written well because the story is based on a real part of history, one of the world wars that he could remember and this makes it much more believable. Greene also uses real situations that could arise such as peer pressure on the value of smoking.

Also the language is correct for the early twentieth century because old-fashioned words and phrases are used. To give the correct atmosphere the writer uses words and phrases such as “the walls were dark” which creates an atmosphere when Charlie Stow is about to get up. “No sense of safety” is when Charlie is going down the stairs to the shop, when “Charlie cowered in the darkness” is when he hid under the shop counter and lay under a “haze of smoke” this describes the place where Charlie was, and you could imagine what It must have been like.

Tension is also created in this story such as ” Charlie clenching his fingers” and “the footsteps of the policeman on the pavement” made Charlie scared that he may get caught in the shop. “Dive for the hole” also creates tension because he is again scared that he may get caught and again this is the same when Charlie “held his breath” because he thought someone might hear him breathing. The creation of such imagery and tension makes it more interesting for the reader. The other short story by Graham Greene called ‘All But Empty’ is about a movie in the 1930’s at a cinema.

The narrator, who always goes there to see the attendant on the ticket kiosk, sits in the cinema alone but then an old man comes and sits next to him. The short story describes the atmosphere at a specific movie where a gramophone is used for the music instead of a pianist. When the old man comes to sit next to the narrator he is said to have a wet beard that brushes past the narrator’s face. The old man is then asked where he lives by the narrator and the man replied with Seymour Terrace.

The narrator feels sorry for the old man but then after further hints from the man he realises he was a murderer. A good atmosphere is created throughout ‘All But Empty’ by phrases such as “it was silent” which creates a good atmosphere to relate to, “built of boards like as saloon of an American warden” gives the impression of wooden cladding is used in the cinema, “drab emptiness” creates an atmosphere where everything is dark and forbidding. All the phrases put together could make a scary place especially phrases like “lost himself in the dark”.

After the man has said where he lives an atmosphere is created by the words such as “we shared a desolation” and “sitting in the dark and stale air” gives you a clear picture what it must have been like. Personally I prefer the short story “I Spy” because I think it relates to a real point in history, which leads you to believe that it is a true story. For me this seems more interesting to study. Whereas the story “All But Empty” appears to be based more on a fictional point so, not based on a point in history so for myself who prefers factual texts does not appeal to me at all.

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