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The Dynamics Of Wartime Relationships Essay

1112 words - 4 pages

Taylor McKinleyAnnette OxindineENG 420003 Oct 2014The Dynamics of Wartime RelationshipsMany individuals have experienced war in their lifetime. Whether the person is a soldier in battle, a victim of an attack, or a civilian seeing it all from afar, they are each affected by war tremendously. War affects many aspect of one's life, but the way it affects the relationships that one has is very significant. In The End of the Affair by Graham Greene as well as The Mysterious Kor by Elizabeth Bowen, it is evident that war shapes relationships immensely. As evidenced in both of these works, war brings people together, tears them apart, and shapes personalities in ways that would not exist if the war did not exist.In Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, the main character Bendrix is shaped tremendously by the war. In turn, his relationships are also influenced by war. Like war, Bendrix tends to exploit people. It can be seen throughout The End of the Affair that Bendrix seems to get a sense of pleasure when he is able to expose people, make them feel uncomfortable, and leave them with nothing, just like war does to those that are affected by it. For example, Bendrix humiliates Mr. Parkis when they first meet. Bendrix hired Mr. Parkis to follow Sarah around, and Parkis happened to be on duty when Bendrix and Sarah were out eating. Parkis arrived to tell Bendrix his findings, not knowing that Bendrix was the man he had seen with Sarah earlier that day. When Parkis arrived, Bendrix's face was in the shadows, so they had an entire conversation before Bendrix allowed Parkis to see who he was talking to. Bendrix knew the whole time, but he was purposefully humiliating Parkis by waiting until the conversation was over to show his face. When Bendrix finally did show his face, Parkis was mortified. "He watched me with his mouth a little open, as though he had received a sudden hurt and was now waiting paralyzed for the next stab. Then he bent his head and sat there, looking into his hat that lay on his knees" (Greene 30).Another occurrence of this same phenomenon is when Bendrix points out that Parkis's basis for naming his son was incorrect, causing Parkis to realize his son's namesake was a lie. Parkis's son's name is Lance, after Sir Lancelot of the Round Table. Parkis thought that he was the one to find the Holy Grail, but Bendrix pointed out he was wrong. "'That was Galahad. Lancelot was found in bed with Guinevere.' Why do we have this desire to tease the innocent? Is it envy? Mr. Parkis said sadly, looking across at his boy as though he had betrayed him, 'I hadn't heard'" (Greene 61). Bendrix makes Parkis feel all kinds of sad emotions, exploiting him for his mistakes. It is no coincidence that this story is set in a time of war. The war causes Bendrix to behave this way because he himself feels exposed and exploited, just as he causes others to feel.Several relationships affected by war also exist in Elizabeth Bowen's The Mysterious Kor. There are...

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