Structure

The short story “A Shocking Accident” by Graham Greene is structured around a tragi-comical event that influences the life of a nine-year-old boy named Jerome: the death of his father, caused by a pig falling from a balcony. The story has a chronological structure and follows Jerome from when he is a child to the moment he matures and when he is about to get married. The story has an exposition (which also sets the intrigue), a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a resolution.

Title

The title of the short story refers to the “shocking accident” that killed Jerome’s father: the man was crushed by a pig that fell on him from a balcony in Naples:

Your father was walking along a street in Naples when a pig fell on him. A shocking accident. Apparently in the poorer quarters of Naples they keep pigs on their balconies. This one was on the fifth floor. It had grown too fat. The balcony broke. The pig fell on your father.

In fact, the expression “shocking accident” is repeated three times in the story, when Mr. Wordsworth gives Jerome the news and when Jerome’s aunt talks about the event with other people.

The title is also comical since the reader might assume that a “shocking accident” would refer to a violent or brutal event. In fact, the term “shocking” used in this context implies something “surprising” rather than “horrifying”.

Beginning

The exposition of the short story presents Jerome being called into the housemaster’s office at school, but no explanation is given for why...

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