THAT PAIR OF RUSTY CUFFS hangs "like an old hat" above the desk of Major Henry Scobie in Graham Greene's 1948 novel The Heart of the Matter. The shackles symbolize the sense of responsibility that hangs over Scobie as a husband, Catholic, and colonial police chief in British West Africa during World War II. But they also signal Greene's own inescapable sense of responsibility as a writer. Like Scobie, Greene approached his work as a function of conscience as well as conscientiousness, a duty as prosaic as accurate note taking and as imperative as justice.
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