Recently I read the graphic novel The Silence by Bruce Mutard, and while it wasn’t a bad read and there wasn’t a lack of interesting points about art being perceived, the ending left me flummoxed. This left me thinking about endings of a novel and how it might make someone feel.
There are bad endings, there are good endings, there are so-so endings, there is your average ending, and there are endings that make no sense whatsoever. Out of all those endings, there will always be endings that leave a lasting impression, they overshadow the whole experience of the book and what you thought your opinion was of it.
Yes a story is more than it’s ending, middle, and beginning. It’s about the messages conveyed, the subjects addressed, what you take away from it, or whatever reason you read, watch, or play, but I know for me an ending is the culmination of all that the story has strived for.
The ending for me can change everything. It can change the way I feel about the story, it can change the way I feel about the characters, it can change the way I perceive the underlying message, it can literally make or break a novel for me.
This isn’t a phenomenon saved for books alone, I come across this in movies and games as well. If you experience something in one of those mediums that feels as if it is coming to something or has a profound message and then you come to the ending, which is for want of a better word, shit, then that affects the whole experience.
The ending leaves a lasting impression because it’s the last part to take away with you. The ending is the last chance the artist has to make an indelible impression, or to educate, or to open up your eyes to something different, and if it isn’t done in the right way it can have a negative lasting effect.
Endings make a difference to me. Novels such as I Am Legend, Brave New World, and 1984, regardless of what is in-between the covers, will stay with me because their endings were so thought provoking, inspiring, and moving. When I look back on novels like that I will always feel a certain love for them even when my memory of the endings begin to fade.
How do you feel about endings?