1. VegasGeorge
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    VegasGeorge Member

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    Happy Endings to You!

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by VegasGeorge, Jun 6, 2010.

    I love reading fiction. The more action and larger the looming disaster in the plot, the better I like it. But I've gotten so tired of reading stories where the bad guy always loses, or the disaster never happens. The tension built up by chapter after chapter of increasing threat simply fizzles out in the last 10 pages. What a let down! And, it has become so predictable that often I can see it coming by the time I'm halfway through the book. Am I the only one who feels this way? Does the American reading public really demand happy endings? What do you think?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It's always been a (sort of) joke over here that an American film will have a happy ending, whereas a British film won't. I'm not sure if it's even actually true for films, let alone trying to transplant it to other media, but I must say I do often find myself prefering the un-happy endings. I think it's simply a reflection of the fact that life so rarely does have truly happy endings.

    But rather than insisting an ending must or mustn't be happy, I think really the best endings are the ones which fit the stories. If it makes sense within the narative, then it won't much matter whether it's happy or not.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Most books I've read end in a happy or hopeful way. But there are some books like To Kill a Mockingbird that have sad endings (although the bad guy doesn't really win in that book). I don't think this is strictly an American thing either. I can't think of any book where the bad guy wins or where there isn't a hopeful ending.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^ Very true. I was thinking of 3 books that have very sad endings--Metamorphosis by Kafka, Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, Bridge to Terabithia--but the sad ending also brings with it hope for the remaining primary characters.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most books do have hopeful endings. I like endings that aren't afraid to be both sad and hopeful. Endings that are totally grim just make reading worthless. Not everything needs to be happy in the end, but I like endings that seem REAL and fitting.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on the genre. All stories do demand some sort of resolution, and most readers prefer to feel satifaction when they finally close the book after the final page.

    However, genres like horror, or social fiction designed to engender outrage, may prefer to leave the reader disquieted or angry.
     
  7. Britt
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    Britt Member

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    I feel that the ending should make sense with the rest of the book. If it needs a happy ending, and it's naturally happy, meaning it doesn't seem like the author forced it one way or the other, than sure.

    Has anyone read or seen The Road by Cormac McCarthy? Well, SPOILER ALERT. Can we do spoiler tags?

    Well, at the end of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the boy's father dies after finally getting the boy to the beach in the middle of an apocalypse. Right after the father dies, a man comes along and convinces the boy join his family. The man has a wife, two kids, and a dog. So now the boy isn't alone, but they are still struggling to survive an apocalypse.

    So that's what I mean by a "natural" ending, it fits with the rest of the plot.
     
  8. Sonata
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    Sonata Member

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    I dislike both happy and outright sad endings. I like to feel as though there has been a balanced resolution to whatever the main objective was.

    I like the main character to have evolved and developed throughout the story but I don't like to feel as though after I close the book and they get on with their life unobserved, they will have stopped developing as a person.

    I hope I make sense, I know what I mean...
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Now that I think about it, a disproportionately high number of my favourite books end really hopelessly. American Psycho, Gulliver's Travels, 1984, Autofiction...I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing--in fact, in the case of satire, I think it's almost necessary. I don't really mind if endings aren't satisfying in the traditional sense as long as they leave you with something to think about.
     

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