“A Shocking Accident” Essay Graham Greene wrote a short story called “A Shocking Accident. ” A nine year old boy named Jerome is told that his father has died in an accident and the only thing he could ask was “What happened to the pig? ” Greene makes it known in this short story that humans are irrational and meaningless. Selective detail is used to enhance the theme that men are disconnected. Jerome’s father barely cared for his son and Jerome barely cared for his father. Man only care for themselves and Jerome will grow up to be just like his father.
Jerome’s father did not care about his son so he sent him to an expensive private boarding school called Eton. In doing this, he would not have to communicate in any way with Jerome. His father would occasionally send Jerome a picture-postcard but postcards were little notes that said inconsequential things. This showed that his father did not even want to take the time to write a letter to his only son. In return Jerome kept “an album fitted with picture-postcards (the stamps had been soaked off long ago for his other collection)” (1080). Jerome did not care for his father and he only kept the postcards and stamps for his collection.
Jerome and his father are both void of meaning. Mr. Wordsworth summoned Jerome into his office and he told Jerome that his father has died in an accident. Jerome showed no expression of concern and he asked “Did they shoot him through the heart? I beg your pardon. What did you say, Jerome? Did they shoot him through the heart? ” (179). Mr. Wordsworth was surprised by Jerome’s response to the news. Mr. Wordsworth than tells Jerome that a pig has fallen on him and “an inexplicable convulsion took place in the nerves of Mr. Wordsworth’s face” (179). Death is not a laughing matter, yet the housemaster is trying to hold back his laughter.
After this incident occurs, the students at the school begin to call Jerome “Pig. ” They do not understand or consider the situation of losing someone. In addition, at the funeral, Jerome’s Aunt could only say that her brother was a great traveler and that he always carried around a water filter. It is obvious that the Aunt does not care or know anything about her own brother besides the fact that he carries around a water filter. These selective details demonstrate how man does not care about other man. Jerome was more worried about the pig than of his own father. Jerome grows up to be just like his father.
He becomes an accountant and he meets a girl named Sally. He married Sally because she would not interfere with his job, her father was a doctor, and she liked babies. Sally “adored babies ever since she had been given a doll at the age of five which moved its eyes and made water” (182). Sally likes babies because she liked her fake baby doll, but dolls are nothing like real babies. When Jerome tells Sally how his father died, Sally says “Happening like that. Out of a clear sky” (183). It is apparent that Sally did not care about Jerome’s father because the clear sky has no logical connection with the pig killing someone.
These selective details prove that men are disconnected. Sally is the same way as Jerome. They are both void of meaning and disconnected. Greene says that men are disconnected and void of meaning because in the 20th century, humans kept on attempting to destroy each other. There was WWI, WWII, mass starvation, and depression. He used selective details to show that men do not care about each other. The housemaster laughed at the tragic accident and the students called Jerome “Pig. ” Jerome didn’t care about his father and vice versa. In the end, all Sally could really ask about the accident was “What happened to the poor pig? ”