The End of the Party

Greene, Graham

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: Jun-01-1999


This story is narrated by a young boy who is observing his twin brother, Francis, as he expresses his extreme fear of the dark. Francis tries hard to avoid attending a children's party because he knows the plan is to play hide-and-seek in the dark. He pretends to have a cold, tells his parents and his nanny that he does not want to go, but is forced to attend anyway.

When the lights are turned out for this game, Francis is literally scared to death. His brother tries to comfort Francis by touching his arm, only to find that was the final unendurable anguish for his petrified sibling. When the lights are turned back on, the adults find Francis dead.


This powerful story shows how indifferent and unaware adults can be about their own children's phobias and anxieties. Even though the twin/narrator feels great empathy for his brother and understands his fears, he cannot really help him, though he tries to intercede and explain to the adults, who dismiss Francis's fears as silly.


First published: 1929

Primary Source

The Portable Graham Greene



Place Published

New York



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