“The End of the Party” by Graham Greene is a short story about fear. A young boy named Francis Morton has an extreme phobia of darkness. Although his twin brother Peter continuously tries to comfort his brother’s fear, there is little he can do. Francis reminds his mother, nanny, and peers of his terrible fear throughout the story, but they all excuse it and believe it to be silly. Tragically, undermining his terrible fear has a price.
The first example of fear in the story is when Francis tries to excuse himself from the party he is supposed to attend later that afternoon. He knows that if he goes he will be forced to play hide-and-seek in the dark and he is afraid. Francis fakes an illness and although he does not have an illness, he still feels sick from fear. Greene writes, “It was true he felt ill, a sick empty sensation in his stomach ...view middle of the document...
His attempts fail and he eventually must play the game he dreads the most. Francis tries to be strong and battle his fear, but loses hope and does not think he can do it. The author writes, “Francis, he knew, had feared this moment from the beginning of the party, had tried to meet it with courage and had abandoned the attempt” (Greene 186). Both Peter and Francis, himself, had tried to courageously fight this fear, but all attempts failed and Francis gave up on all the hopes he had to overcome his fear. Peter was the only person who understood Francis’s fear, but even so, there was not much he could do about it. He tried to protect him as much as possible, but he could not rid his brother of his terrible fear. Francis knew he would have to play this game and he was still terrified of the darkness.
The final example of fear in this story is at the conclusion of the story. The story ends with the sudden death of Francis Morton. While hiding in the darkness during a game of hide-and-seek, Peter comes to comfort Francis. With a sudden touch, Francis’s fear becomes so unbearable and due to a sudden touch, he is scared literally to his death. Though overlooked by the adults and his friends, his fear is deadly. Greene ends the story by writing, “Francis was now where he had always been told there was no more terror and no more darkness” (189). The darkness he had been afraid of for so long was finally gone. Darkness had defeated him. Francis continuously tried to overcome darkness, but the darkness overcame him. Through darkness, he met his death, and through his death, he will be in darkness no more.
This story portrays the extent of a young boy’s fear. Over and over again, his fear was mocked by his friends and casually overlooked by his mother. In most cases, fears can be treated and cured, but this story shows the worst case of fear. Attention and protection from his twin brother, Peter, was simply not enough to save both Francis’s fear and his life.