The main character in the short story “A Shocking Accident” by Graham Greene is Jerome. To help you better understand his connection to other characters, we will also briefly discuss Jerome’s father, his aunt and his fiancée Sally.


Jerome is the protagonist of the short story. Even though his view of the circumstances of his father’s death does not change, he still develops as a character because, in the end, he finds a way to come to terms with his father’s death. Note that the story follows Jerome for several years.

Outer characterisation

Jerome’s outer characterisation is very brief. The main thing we know about him is that, as a boy, he only had a father since his mother had previously died. When he is nine years old, he is a “warden” in “a rather expensive preparatory school”. This indicates that the boy is well-behaved and that he comes from a wealthy family. Later on, he attends a “public school” and he becomes a “chartered accountant” – this is an internationally-recognised term for people working in business and finance. Finally, he is engaged to be married to a girl named Sally.

Inner characterisation

When it comes to the boy’s inner characterisation, his main feature is his fascination with his father:

Jerome worshipped his father: the verb is exact. As man re-creates God, so Jerome re-created his father - from a restless widowed author into a mysterious adventurer who travelled in far places - Nice, Beirut, Majorca, even the Canaries.

Because his father travells around the world, Jerome imagines that he is a sort of spy, a “member of the British Secret Service”, and he creates an aura of mystery around the man. In fact, when he is given the news that his father has died, Jerome simply imagines his father being shot dramatically “through the heart”. Because he has no apparent outer reaction to his father’s death, he comes across as cold and unfeeling, much to the surprise of his teachers:

Nor was Jerome a boy who cried; he was a boy who brooded, and it never occurred to him at his preparatory school that the circumstances of his father’s death were comic - they were still part of the mysteries of life.

As years go by, Jerome begins to realise that his idealistic portrait of his father was farfetched and that the man was simply a mediocre writer: “By the age of sixteen Jerome was well aware that the portrait looked more ...

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