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.
Hormbrey, Philip and Kemp, Emma
"The Shadow Within: Solving the Mystery of 'A Day Saved.',"
Graham Greene Studies: Vol. 2
, Article 14.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/ggs/vol2/iss1/14