Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Happy December! As we reach the end of 2017, many will reflect back with thoughtful consideration, and evaluate the events that filled the year. In literature, as in life, humans like the clarity of The End. Reaching the end means we can safely evaluate the whole of something, beginning, middle, and end.
However, as readers, our desires are satisfied is varying ways. I’m a “tied up with a bow” reader. Don’t leave me hanging, don’t ask me to envision what might have happened next, just lay it out. That doesn’t mean it has to have a neat and tidy ending of course, but there has to be something. My father in law gave me The Lovely Bones as a gift. I hated it. Madly. But mostly, it was all about the end.
But, there are so many more books that end in creative or specific or sad or joyous ways! In eighth grade, I chose to read Gone with the Wind for a book report. It was a challenging read, but reading was my passion, and tackle it I did. I’m fairly certain I didn’t understand a notable chunk of the sub-text, but that ending has stuck with me. Even as a middle school student, I could access the concept of picking ones’ self up, dusting off, and trying again.
“But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”
The House At Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh! I still love reading dear Winnie’s stories (although I will admit, I can’t quite enjoy the cartoons the same way). This line above is particularly poignant, especially when I re-visit it as an adult. We buried both my grandmothers this year, and my father two years prior. And yet, there are those places in my memories where they live on, doing the things they always did.
”I never saw any of them again — except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them.”
The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
I realized I hadn’t pulled any great quotes from our genre, and then I found this one by Raymond Chandler. I haven’t actually read the book yet (it’s in my TBR pile), but somehow, this line struck a chord with me.
Tell us about your preferred endings; do you like an author to wrap it up, or encourage you to write your own ending? Do those final lines in a work matter to you as much as the rest of the text?