The Voice by V. S. Pritchett | Summary, Analysis and Characters

The Voice by V. S. Pritchett | Summary, Analysis and Characters

The Voice, a Story by V. S. Pritchett

The Voice Introduction

Victor Sawdon Pritchett was a well known British writer and critic. He was known for his short stories. The Voice is one of his best stories which rests more on psychological tensions than external events at the time of Second World War.

The story is about war years. One of the bombs falls on the church and destroys it; but a voice of singing is heard from the rubble. It was the voice of Morgan who was an evil man and was removed from the church office as he had a bad repute. Morgan was in the church when the bomb was dropped on it. It was the voice of Morgan and they recognized it. The earth was dug to get Morgan out. Lewis, the church man was angry of why Morgan was there. Suddenly, he was also dragged into the rubble and pushed to life and death situation. Morgan asked him to sing a song and the voice of both the priests were heard.

This is a good story and informative and tells that singing of divine praise helps people in the time of trouble. The Voice is also one of his short stories from his book It May Never Happen which was published in 1945. The Voice is a classic V.S Pritchett story which is based on the time of World War II. The best thing about the story is that though it is based in years of turbulence still it focuses on the psychological reactions of his characters rather than external events.

The Voice Characters

There are two main characters: Frank Lewis and Morgan.

Frank Lewis

Mr. Frank Lewis is present-day priest of the church. He is standard priest and feels the ex-priest, Morgan a devil who drinks a lot. He was very strict in his mode of religious life while Morgan was not so particular about these things. We know from the story that Morgan gets stuck in the rubble produced by the shelling on the church. Because he has been dismissed from the church for his evil practices, he is shunned by Lewis. He doesn’t have good moral character. He, in the words of Lewis, is a devil incarnate, a drunkard and a evil which he, Morgan confesses all right.


Morgan was the clergy man in charge of the church but his evil ways got him removed from the office. He was however a shameless man and he used to go about wearing his clergy man’s dress.

He was a drunkard and his other vices made him a much hated man in the town. But he had a good voice. When Lewis who was himself a Welshman and as such a good singe, heard him singing so well he could not resist the temptation of doing all that he could to save him. He was therefore the first to make an attempt to rescue him.

The Voice Summary

In “The Voice” the writer writes about, church priests, who become fanatics. Cold, rigid and spiritual snobs and strict critics of humanity. They start believing that they are the chosen few, morally perfect and spiritually superior to other creatures of God. They are not ready to forgive other human beings, if they fall below to their standards of morality.

The moral conveyed through the story is to “forget, forgive and accept people as they are with all their virtues and vices.” The story introduces two characters, Lewis and Morgan has been turned out of church because of wine-addiction and other weaknesses of character. Lewis is holding the religious authority and superiority over other men. He hates Morgan and condemns him to be a devil. The writer has shown here that even a priest cannot shake off personal prejudices and hatred towards others. The story begins with an incident that church building is toppled down due to air-raid and Morgan is buried in the ruins. Lewis goes forward to save him considering it to be his religious duty. To shake off fear of death both Morgan and Lewis start singing a hymn. At the end of the story we find that both the men are reconciled to each other. Both start understanding each other as one discovers the other through, “The Voice“, the voice of a religious fanatic.

The Voice Analysis

This is the story which shows how the differences between men are superficial in their essence, and that men come together when they are facing a common danger or when they feel the need for each other. Lewis hated Morgan. He thought that the other man was nothing short of the devil personified. But even then he loved the strong and resonant voice with which he sang his hymns. It was for the love of that voice that Lewis was the first to proceed with the rescue operations.

His anger was, however, roused by the fact that the other man had been drinking in the church and had been doing this so every day. They exchanged some harsh words. But it did not last long and soon they were friends because Lewis too had fallen down and in that state he needed the other man. The two men began singing together.

It is a short story and very well constructed story. From the beginning to the end, there is no flagging of interest and there is nothing irrelevant, or digressionary about it.

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