Hello, everyone! It's time for another Weeckies, or The weekly short story! So, this week's short story is The End of the Party written by Graham Greene in 1929. I have read it from the collection Twenty-One Stories, but you can also read it online for free from Classic Short Stories.
This short story turned out to be far more creepy than I originally expected it to be! Graham Greene is a master at conveying all those hidden feelings that are hard to express. In this story, more particularly, he does this with excellent craftsmanship.
The story revolves around two twins, Peter and Francis Morton. They are both invited to a birthday party of a girl, although Francis doesn't want to go no matter what. Peter is overprotective and tries to convince their nurse that Francis shouldn't go to the party, and later, when everything has failed, that he shouldn't participate in the game of hide and seek. It turns out that Francis is terribly afraid of the dark, and each year at this party, they play a game of hide and seek in the dark. This year though Peter seeks for his brother, in order to make the darkness a little more bearable with his presence. But when the lights go back on terror spreads through everyone.
The End of the Party is indeed a very dark short story. From the very beginning we feel that something is going to happen. The intensity is building with every excuse that Francis tries to find and the final doom comes without a single violent scene. It's there, you know that Francis goes through something terrible although you never lose hope that he will eventually cope with it, and then everything is gone. Just like that. I was genuinely shocked by the end of this story!
Francis is an anxious boy. He can't tell to his mother that he doesn't want to go to this party, although he struggles really hard to deal with this fact. He is also very dependent on Peter. From the very first paragraph we learn that those two are identical twins and go as far as feel that they are the same person. Maybe twins are really like that. Maybe they do think alike, and feel alike, or even sense where each other is. But for me Peter is the most tragic person of this story! He tries to protect Francis, and ultimately his act is the one that causes the final incident.
I highly recommend The End of the Party. It's a short story that best describes the psychological horror of a 9 year old boy.
Have you read any of Graham Greene's short stories? What did you think about the End of the Party? Which one would you recommend to me?