Seeing Ourselves in ‘The End of the Affair’

Samuel James | August 17, 2017

When Solomon wanted to warn his sons against adultery, he told a story:

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice. . . . I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense.

Thus the Teacher recounts a tale of a simpleminded man and an enticing accomplice, who “drink their fill of love” while hidden from their covenant partners. It seems like all is wine and roses, until the narrative fades: “All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to slaughter. . . . He does not know that it will cost him his life.”

We aren’t allowed to see the end of the tale, the ultimate fate of the lovers. This uncertainty could be intentional on Solomon’s part; temptation, after all, makes the future difficult to see.

Hate More Than Love

Though the British novelist Graham Greene didn’t write his 1951 novel The End of the Affair with the same didactic purpose as King Solomon, his story equally illustrates the turbulent aftermath of sexual immorality. Set in the middle of World War II, the story is told via the first-person narration of journalist Maurice Bendrix.

In the opening lines, Bendrix warns…

To read the rest of this article, visit