The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene

Bendrix, a writer in Britain during World War II and Sarah, the married girl from across the block, fall in love, but their affair ends quickly. As with many unbalanced relationships, I wondered what Bendrix saw in Sarah. She was beautiful, but was she that beautiful? She was often bored with Bendrix’s writings, although he felt she inspired him to be a better writer, but she didn’t seem to bring much else into the relationship. She reminded me of women I know who spend so much time worrying about how the top of their head looks they don’t ever think to worry about what’s occupying the space between their two ears. Sarah knew the true worth of her vanity-driven character; she said often, “I am a phony and a fake” but she also felt her selfish behavior had some appeal when she said, “If I am a bitch and a fake, is there nobody who will love a bitch and a fake?”

Bendrix was insanely jealous of Sarah, which makes me believe he never really loved her, but rather was obsessed with her. After she left he devoted himself to discovering who her new lover was. After working with a private investigator, Bendrix discouragingly learns her new lover is God and she has devoted her life to the order of Catholicism. Bendrix feels more assaulted by this relationship than he would have if Sarah had been found in the arms of another man. Bendrix, in his extreme hatred toward Sarah and her abandonment states, “I hate you God. I hate you as though you actually exist.”
The complexities of love, hate, obsession, dedication, and deceit run deep in The End of the Affair making it a compelling read, but overall I would say it wasn’t my favorite. I found the discussion to be all too true of illogical human emotion but in the wake of watching my own personal family and friends struggle through vanity and selfishness I must say I’d rather not read about destroyed relationships any more than I have to.
Historical Value- 2
Emotional Value- 4
Entertainment Value- 3
Personal Character Value- 2
Age recommendation-16 and up
"It's a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.”
"I had to touch you with my hands, I had to taste you with my tongue; one can't love and do nothing."
"A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead."
"Insecurity is the worst sense that lovers feel; sometimes the most humdrum desireless marriage seems better. Insecurity twists meanings and poisons trust.”
"I measured love by the extent of my jealousy."
"Pain is easy to write. In pain we're all happily individual. But what can one write about happiness?"
"Sometimes I get tired of trying to convince him that I love him and shall love him for ever. He pounces on my words like a barrister and twists them. I know he is afraid of that desert which would be around him if our love were to end, but he can’t realize that I feel exactly the same. What he says aloud, I say to myself silently and write it here."
"We can love with our minds, but can we love only with our minds? Love extends itself all the time, so that we can love even with our senseless nails: we love even with our clothes, so that a sleeve can feel a sleeve."
"Indifference and pride look very much alike, and he probably thought I was proud."
"I've caught belief like a disease. I've fallen into belief like I fell in love."


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