"... that unhappy, pale, put-upon man walking by, who looks all guilt and sin, why, often that’s your good man with a capital G ...."

 

Statue of Kierkegaard in the Royal Library Gardens, Copenhagen
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStatue of Kierkegaard in the Royal Library Gardens, Copenhagen - Credit: Hans Jorn Storgaard Andersen

Here Mr. Halloway may well be alluding to a figure discussed in the works of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the “Knight of Infinite Resignation.”

According to Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, there are three stages of spiritual existence: the Aesthetic, the Ethical, and the Religious. A person who lives at the first level, that of aesthetic enjoyments, is little more than a slave to his appetites. The person who lives at the second level may know and do everything right, may look like a properly religious man, but lacks faith, and therefore is a “Knight of Infinite Resignation.”

Mr. Halloway evokes a connection to Kierkegaard when he says: “. . . being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it and sometimes break in two.”