Review Of The End Of The Affair – By Graham Greene

Many have considered this book to be Greene’s confessional work about a liaison he once had with a married woman: one who loved him but refused to leave her husband.

The End of the Affair is about an adulterous affair between Maurice Bendrix, and Sarah MilesBendrix often visited Sarah at her house, Criminal Affair and made love to her even in her husband’s presence. Henry is aware of his floundering marriage, and even suspected that his wife had an affair. Henry, incredibly, discusses his suspicion with Bendrix.

With dark certitude goodsandnaturals both knew that their affair was doomed to fail. Bendrix was intensely possessive. He hated Sarah because she would not leave her husband. He also hated the husband because Sarah always went back to him. He is also aware that he was that Sarah had other affairs.

While Bendrix was struggling to find true love, Sarah wandered in her own desert, directionfilms with sorrow coming in great waves. Her feelings were ambivalent about God. She blamed Him for everything: her dead marriage to Henry, and her unhappy relationships with men. Because of her fury with Him she promised ‘to rob God of what ‘He loves in her the most, and thus embarked on a stint of promiscuity. Her conversion to Catholicism finally came about when Bendrix survived an explosion that Sarah thought had killed him.

Bendrix later read in her diary that Sarah made a promise to God that she would break off their relationship if He allowed him to live following the bomb blast. The story is brought to a climax with the events that follow Sarah’s serious illness from a lung infection.

With The End of the AffairGreene is able to speak to the collective human experience that in all of us there is a suffering victim desperately seeking meaning to life. To place the story during the World War 2 perhaps Greene was pointing to the faults in society, the senseless and apocalyptic power of war, which led to social wretchedness and the decay of the human spirit. Many of those who lived through this war had also witnessed the carnage of the first Great War.

In raging against society, some try to tear it apart as with Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment who commits the murder of an innocent person. However Bendrix’s rage is not manifested in political or criminal actions but against the norms of society. In believing in nothing, a vision of man without God, he had complete belief in himself.

He believed there were no frontiers that he could not take, and that he could also have anyone he desired, including someone else’s wife. But Sarah’s refusal to leave her husband refutes and even destroys this notion. She rejected their affair as a sin, and a violation of an inner moral justice. With this rejection Bendrix’s boundless self-belief was shaken, mindsplintersfilms and had to disappear and be supplanted by a greater spiritual force.

In a dramatic twist, following a few intricate turns in the story, Bendrix hires the private detective, Mr. Parkis, on behalf of Henry to find out Sarah’s current favourite lover. It turns out to be God, as Sarah gradually undergoes her tortuous transformation and ‘fallen into belief like I fell in love’. This and other revelations in the book force Bendrix, amidst the horrors of war and death, to deal with the self-effacing acceptance of the existence of God. With this, the book ends with the hope of his salvation from nihilism to a new life of faith.

When one thinks of The End of the Affair one thinks of Maurice Bendrix. In a strange way he seems to have been selected by divine grace, even though he is unworthy of it. The writer skillfully introduces us to the idea of the family. Sarah has it in her weak husband, Henry, and Bendrix doesn’t. Of the two he is the one most separated from the lifelines of existence and society. His attachment to Sarah and her husband seems like a misguided attempt to re-enter the bosom of a family.The stage for the story is mainly set in his tortured consciousness, with him drawing a sword to fight social phantoms that he cannot slay. We see ourselves in his thoughts, and we are familiar with his rage. For more info please visit:-

Sarah seems to be nature’s fire, a figure in a spiritual dimension, to force Bendrix’s redemption. Her affair with Bendrix was not a biblical blessing but a prelude to grief and the impotence of the soul: the suffering that precedes penitence. Poor Henry, the cuckold, boldly endures his pain, and is the symbol of the dignity of the human being even when humiliated.


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