Graham Greene’s lifelong obsession with the theme of man’s innate duality is well known, but his short story, A Day Saved, never seems to have been read with this central preoccupation in mind. Originally written for radio, the narrative purports to be a detective or spy story – the tale of one man shadowing another, waiting for an opportunity to steal something from him. But the mystery of what this man seeks and why is never solved. Our article argues that the solution is very simple: the two characters of the story are not two separate people, but two parts of one and the same man, a social persona and his shadow. We further suggest that in this portrayal of a split consciousness, Greene is providing us with an insight into his own divided nature.

The evidence for our thesis comes from a close textual analysis of the story itself which reveals the narrator’s very close resemblance to Carl Jung’s concept of a shadow (the dark and hidden side of every psyche). This is supported by an examination of the developmental arc of Greene’s first three novels, the epigraphs to which reveal his fascination with ‘the man within’ and the idea of the shadow, as well as his reading of the metaphysical poets and T.S. Eliot. We trace the origins of The Day Saved to events in Greene’s own life evidenced in his journalism and letters, and suggest that our thesis also provides an explanation for how Greene could successfully compartmentalise his own life and avoid being torn apart by the conflicts that so often beset the characters in his novels.


Dr Philip Hormbrey is an Emergency Physician who works in Oxford in the United Kingdom. In his medical career he has experience from all the major continents, contributed to medical textbooks, published in the Emergency Medical Journals and lectured in the UK, the USA and Europe. A lifelong fan of the works of Graham Greene, this is his first work in the field of Greene literature.

Emma Kemp holds a degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, a Masters in Creative Writing, and professional qualifications in Law. She has spent most of her working career as a criminal lawyer and is at present completing her first crime novel.