This article is concerned with the conflict between a preoccupation with one’s individual existential fate and a commitment to one’s ethical obligation to the Other in Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, Brighton Rock. It contextualizes this conflict in relation to the contemporaneous ethical response of Emmanuel Levinas to Martin Heidegger’s ontological philosophy, which Heidegger employed to endorse the fascist politics of National Socialism in the 1930s. The novel’s argumentative opposition between Pinkie Brown as an implicitly fascistic and nihilistic existential antihero and Ida Arnold as a self-satisfied secular and ethical exemplar serves as a revealing anatomy of the period’s conflicting paradigmatic values systems. The novel also expresses the evolving conflict in Greene’s work between a religious concern with one’s individual salvation and an ethical commitment to justice for the vulnerable, an ethical commitment that may be traced from the beginning to the end of Greene’s long career in fiction.

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