Graham Greene: An Approach to the Novels

By Robert Hoskins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Dr. Fischer of Geneva

In a confessional moment in The End of the Affair, Maurice Bendrix speculates that it should be as easy to believe in a “personal devil” as in a personal God, for he has seen the work of that demon in his own imagination, raising doubt and jealousy that spoiled his happiness with Sarah:

He would prompt our quarrels long before they occurred; he was not Sarah's enemy so much as the enemy of love, and isn't that what the devil is supposed to be? I can imagine that if there existed a God who loved, the devil would be driven to destroy even the weakest, the most faulty imitation of that love. Wouldn't he be afraid that the habit of love might grow, and wouldn't he try to trap us all into being traitors, into helping him extinguish love? (59)

The “enemy of love” in this case, however, is Bendrix himself; his own failings define the limit of his happiness in love and lead Sarah to contemplate the “desert” that awaits the end of the affair. Love has no other enemy in the novel-not the easily deceived Henry, not even the war, which Bendrix regards ironically as “a rather disreputable and unreliable accomplice in my affair” (57).

By contrast, for the later Maurice and Sarah in The Human Factor something like the opposite is true: the enemies of love are external, numerous, and powerful; they are built into the very organization of political states and into policies such as the “Uncle Remus” plan whereby

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