The End of the Affair
Perpetuation of Love and Hate in The End of the Affair
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” -Elie Wiesel
Throughout the novel The End of the Affair, Bendrix is drawn, or rather, dragged irrevocably towards G-d. His reluctant propensity towards redemption, however, is not through any great desire for or faith in the divine. Rather, it is his hate, his suffering, his indignation at the absurdity of the mortal condition that hounds him towards salvation.
Maurice Bendrix begins the novel by explaining, “This is a record of hate far more than of love,” (p. 7) and in doing so, sets the tenor of the book. Hate, or at least Maurice’s concept of hate, becomes the driving force of the story. Throughout, Bendrix struggles with his conflicting feelings of love and hate towards Sara, but the two should not be seen as opposites. The true opposite of love is not hate but apathy. Apathy connotes complete lack of interest or feeling, whereas hate requires some deep emotional investment.
In the beginning of the book, it is evident that Bendrix hates Sarah, his former lover. On a “black wet January...
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