Heart Of The Matter Analysis

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The skill of the novel exists in its probing of the gap between what belief enjoins and the emotional disorder with which it cannot hold discourse. The ‘heart of the matter’ turns out to be the disintegration of Scobie’s personality under stresses he cannot resolve. He suffers from existential anguish. His suffering is fundamentally the result of a profound despair, a terrible sense of estrangement and loneliness, the pain that follows from his futile efforts to find a meaningful existence. Loneliness can be removed only when men understand...each other through a world common to them, with in which mutual understanding can take place. But when such a common area of understanding does not exist there is estrangement, communication is destroyed and the individual condemned to solitary confinement. For Scobie there is nothing of common interest to be shared with his subordinates or with his wife. There is absolutely no sphere of public discourse which he can enjoy with interest and freedom of expression. There is nothing that can bring him into companionship with others. He has power, (as a police officer)…show more content…
Scobie is laughingly called “Scobie the just” by the Commissioner of Police, who compares him to Airstides, renowned for his honesty. This image of himself which Scobie attempts to sustain arouses in him a feeling of responsibility for the well-being of others which proves beyond his power to ensure. Scobie’s Englishness, contrasted throughout the novel with Yusef s Syrian temperament, combines moral integrity with destructive pride. Yusef s attitude to women is that they have to accept the way which men choose to behave: “you say to each of them, ‘I don’t care a damn. I sleep with whom I please. You take me or leave me. I do not care a damn’. They always take you, major Scobie”. (241) On the contrary Scobie feels guilt, responsibility, and pity for
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