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Discuss the application of relevant theories of literary criticism in the selected text.


Hale (2007) defines that literary criticism is an extension of this social activity of
interpreting. Interpretation incorporates the usage of senses and makes it meaningful by linking
it to our previous experiences. An author works on his/ her literary works for various purposes
and intention but somehow it is quite logic to accept that an author is writing a piece of literary
work for no exact reason. Therefore, the readers are given the freedom to express his or her
view in order to encourage others to respond to the views. This is a healthy activity whereby we
can trigger our intellect to think beyond our physical horizon. Therefore, this essay will analyse
on the applications of relevant theories of literary criticism in the selected text, A Place off the
Edgware Road, by Graham Greene, a British author.

Background of the author

The author of A Place off the Edgware Road is Henry Graham Greene. He was born on
October 2, 1904 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, to a headmaster, Charles Henry Greene. The
theme of betrayal and treachery are frequent in his writing and it was most probably stem from
his ugly childhood days. He had a shy and sensitive personality. He was often bullied and
tormented by his classmates for being the headmasters son. Therefore, he played truant to
avoid his classmates. He also enjoyed reading adventure stories. His suicidal attempts are the
climax of his continuous suffering. Later, he left school and wrote that he did not want to return
to his parents. Alerted by his sudden actions, his parents sent him to a psychoanalyst at the age
of fifteen. His psychologist was the one who encouraged him to write.


Psychoanalytic theory

Psychoanalytic theory is the application of specific psychological principles (particularly

those of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan) to the study of literature. First of all, there is a hint
of psychic apparatus (id, ego and superego) in A Little Place off the Edgware Road that
revolves around the main character, Craven. Craven is suppressed from facing his own
guiltiness for murdering Cullen. Therefore, he has gone through a defense mechanism of denial
that unconsciously permits him to hallucinate. For example, his mind created an illusion of
unreal and illogical events such as, watching a murderous theme show even though in an
abandoned theatre.

So, he noticed at once the posters outside the disused theatre, (Paragraph 4, line 4 and 5).

Other than that, he hallucinated a small man started an absurd conversation with him and
smeared blood to his hand.

A low breathless voice sighed out close to Cravens ears: What happened? Was she asleep?
(Paragraph 9, line 1 and 20)

Just enough for Craven to see the smear on his hand. (Paragraph 14, line 5).

Reader response criticism

Readers response criticism puts its primary focus on the reader rather than author or
the text. As a reader, I do not see the small man as the murderer although Craven literally
points him out. Cravens sanity can be questioned because his judgments are inconsistent and
implausible. To illustrate, to him, the man is a stranger yet he is very familiar. His ability to recall
the hints of stranger name denotes that they have engaged in a relationship. For example,

.what was the name?, Colon, Collin (Paragraph 14, line 7 and 8)

(but his real name is Cullen). The small man never introduced his name to Craven but he only
mentioned about Cullen Mews Bayswater Tragedy. However, Craven concluded that the killers
name is Colon, Collin that in some ways resemble the name victims name, Cullen. Therefore,
Craven is related to the tragedy.

Biographical criticism

Greene quoted that I made a long journey through time, and I was one of my
characters, (1971). Therefore, I believe that Greene was recounting part of his lifes history
through his writing in A Little Place off the Edgware Road. Greene reincarnated himself
through the portrayal of Cullen and Craven. Cullen was the bright side of the authors life since
they shared some meaningful similarities such as lifestyle and social status. For example,
autobiographically, Greene lived a prosperous and dignified life as his family was a
distinguished member in the society. Meanwhile, Cullen is a rich guy who owns a mews. To
there had been a murder in in a mews- Cullen Mews . (Paragraph 15 , line 2 and 3).

However, Craven represented his dark side that refers to his unstable inner self. Craven and
Greene were both a mental patient that struggled to kill the bright side for causing them to
suffer- Craven hated Cullen for snatching his girlfriend. For example, he stated that

all the way up the Park he was reminded of passion, but you needed money for love,

(Paragraph 2 , line 1 and 2)

He tries to suggest that the girlfriend left him for Cullen. Meanwhile, Greene blamed his social
status for making him suffer due to the torments by his classmates.

Archetypal theory

The archetypal theory deals with mythical and mystical elements in the story. From the
beginning, the author frequently mentioned about descending to underworld and resurrection.
The image of underworld was illustrated clearly in several imageries. For example.

Under the ground, the world was littered with masses of dead flesh.. (Para 2, line 21 and
22). Other than that, the character Craven ran berserk as he tried to reject the relevance of
resurrection as in the paragraph, line:

why should he be asked to believe in the resurrection of this body he wanted to forget?
(Paragraph 3, line 9, 10 and 11)

Marxist theory

Murphin and Ray, (1998) defined that ; Marxist criticism is a type of criticism in which
literary works are viewed as the product of work and whose practitioners emphasize the role of
class and ideology as they reflect, propagate, and even challenge the prevailing social order.
The existence of Marxist theory is evident when the difference of social status is the reason for
the catastrophe in the society. Craven who lives in poverty as the example in:

men like himself wearing the same uniform of the cheap mackintosh . (Paragraph 7, line 4).

Other than that, he proves that those who come from a lower social status are experiencing
inferiority and envies the society around him. The evidence is;

he was aware that every of them had a better body than himself (Paragraph 3, line 5 and 6)
Meanwhile the wealthy Cullen became the victim of the murder tragedy as he attracts Cravens
love by using his money. For example, Craven laments in a quote;

love needed a good suit, a car, a flat somewhere, or a good hotel. (Paragraph 2, line 3 and 4)

Craven believed that wealth can buy love but a poor man can achieve nothing but only lust.

Feminist theory

Feminist criticism defines a literary theory showing how women were portrayed as less
valuable than men in literature throughout history. (, 2014). The story generally
refers the woman as the source of negativity and it also focused less attention to the women.
For example, there is only one female character being mentioned throughout the story, which
was Pompilia. She only appears during the play in the theatre. Furthermore, woman always fall
as the victim of the mans cruelty. To illustrate, Pompilia was

Pompilia betrayed by her beloved Augustus seeks an end to her trouble, (Paragraph 6, line 10
and 11).

Other than that, A Little Place off the Edgware Road tried to suggest that woman was the
source of human disaster and a materialistic being. For example, Craven monologue that;

love needed a good suit, a car, a flat somewhere, or a good hotel (Paragraph 2, line 3 and 4)

The quote is Cravens recollection to her girlfriend that left him for Cullen. Her betrayal caused
him to kill Cullen.


In conclusion, A Little Place off the Edgware Road is a not a literal piece of work. There
are a lot of hidden ideas inside this beautiful writing. The story deals with timeless issues that
are rampant in any societies. Therefore, people need to appreciate this art piece by relating it
with daily events.

Brewton, V. (n.d). Literary theory. Retrieved from

Clemons, W. (1971). A sort of autobiography: One of Graham Greenes best book.

Retrieved from

Conjecture Corporation (2014). What is feminist criticism?. Retrieved from

Critical approach: Critical approaches: A brief overview. (n.d). Retrieved from

Gavilan College. (n.d). Overview in literary theory. Retrieved from

Goodreads Inc. (2014). A sort of life by Graham Greene. Retrieved from

Graham Greene. (2014). Retrieved from

Hale, S. (2007). Literary criticism as a tool for interpreting literature. Retrieved from

Lang, C. (2012). A brief history of literary theory 1. Retrieved from

Literary criticism. (2012). Retrieved from

Murfin, R & Ray, S. M. (1998). Marxist criticism. Retrieved from

Ng, J. (n.d). Graham Greene a little palce off the Edgware Road. Retrieved from

Padgett, J. B. (1997). Critical approaches to literature. Retrieved from

Take 23: A little place off the Edgware Road. (2013). Retrieved from

Yiu, M. (n.d). Graham Green (1904-1991). Retrieved from


I choose the short story entitled A Little Place off The Edgware Road by Graham
Green because I found this story is very interesting . The story tells about a man that
has mental disorder and he had murder a man in his past because of jealousy . The
main character named Craven is a poor man contrast to his victim Cullen a rich farmer.
Based on my reading to this story , I believed that Cravens wife have an affair behind
him and he killed Cullen . As the time passed and he kept thinking about the murder
until he suffered from mental illness. But at the end of the story, he finally been arrested
by the police.

The first critism that I found in this story is psychoanalytic criticism. The evidence
that proved of this critism is based on Cravens (main character) behaviour. Craven
himself is suffered from mental disorder due to his guiltiness of murdering Cullen ( small
man ). Because of the guilt that had covered his mind, he finally get sick and started to
hallucinates unreal object. There are two point that justify the symptoms of Cravens
mental disorder. First , he keeps experiencing continous nightmares . For example He
remembered a dream three times he had woken trembling from (pg 1 line 14 para 2) .
From this text , Craven stated that he keeps dreaming seeing dead people or zombies
come out from their grave. Point number two is Craven always imagine unreal object or
thing . For example They lay about at intervals like corpses- and again Cravens
obsession returned: the tooth-ache of horror. (line 5, para 7 page 2 ) and this has
prove that he always imagining the undead people in his eyes . Another example is
when Craven take a walk around Edgware Road and he found an old destitute theather
. Craven claims that there is still people using the theather but, it is actually his own
hallucination. Also, during his concreatration on watching his imaginary film in the
abandon theather, there is suddenly a small man come and sit next to him and talk
about nonsense things that make him scared and panic. Next point that can be clearly
see from this story is based on the author himself. Graham Greene has try to commit
suicide due to his financial problem and religious confusion from his wife.
Second critism is feminist critism . As I read this story, the only female character
is Cravens wife and the character of Pompilia in the film which is an ancient Greek film.
Based on the film , the character of Pompilia has been killed my the man of her love ,
Agustus .The story has a similarities in Craven real life whereas his own wife betrayed
his love and trust to Cullen because of Cullens wealth. In this short story , the female
character especially Cravens wife shown as a negative character because she is
materialistic and have an affair behind Cravens back but , in my opion Cravens wife
has the right to do so because Cravens love is not enough to support her different to
Cullen . Nowadays, money plays a major role in peoples life especially in the modern
days and to me Cravens wife has the right to make desicion because she deserve a
better life. ...but you needed money for love. Love needed a good suit, a car, a flat
somewhere or a good hotel. (Paragraph 2, line 1 5 )

The next critism is maxism. This critism can be clearly seen from the two
character that is Craven and Cullen ( small man ). This both character hold different
characteristic whereas Craven is poor and Cullen is a wealthy man . But although
Craven is married to his wife and he had gave her his whole heart , but Craven still
loose her a because Craven is poor . Although their relationship was official that time
yet due to Craven poverty, wife willing to cheat on him to a rich men. This suggests that
although Craven has given all his love but she still choose wealth rather than love
eventhough they are married and had face so many hardship together . In my opinion,
having a plessure of life is a parcel and desire in every human being. Same to Cravens
wife, she want a plessure life and willing to do anything as long as the chance is there
even she will loose her own husband. This text is the prove show that Craven is a poor
man the stringy tie beneath the mackintosh and the frayed sleeves (pge 1,para 2 line 2

The last critism is cultural critism. He was aware of the time of the stringy tie
beneath the mackintosh and the frayed sleeves : he carried his body about with him like
someone he hated. Based on this text , mackintosh is a type of attire wears by the
Westerner people when it is a rainy day .The Mackintosh or Raincoat (abbreviated as
mac or mack) is a form of waterproof raincoat, first sold in 1824, made out of rubberised
fabric. The Mackintosh is named after its Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh. Second
is when the Craven mention about the film when he says that the female character (
Pompilia) wears toga for example from the text On the screen, a large woman in a kind
of toga wrung her hands... (page 2 para 12 line 14 ). a distinctive garment of Ancient
Rome, was a cloth of perhaps 20 ft (6 m) in length which was wrapped around the body
and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was made of wool,[1] and the tunic under
it often was made of linen. After the 2nd century BC, the toga was a garment worn
exclusively by men, and only Roman citizens were allowed to wear the toga. After this
time, women were expected to wear thestola; to distinguish prostitutes from respectable
women, prostitutes were required to wear the toga.

As a conclusion, this short story is very interesting and uses a lot of thinking
skills. The characters in this story are very confusing and forced me to use my
imagination to explore the main character in this story. Moreover, the author uses many
hidden meaning that allowed me to do more research and analysis that makes this task
more exciting.