…and they lived happily ever after.

On Monday, I did a post on first lines in literature, and today I’m going to look at the last lines of stories. The first line of a story does not have to be brilliant, but it is important as the reader’s first impression of the story. The last line is even less important, of course, because the reader has already read the entire story and the last line is not going to make much difference either way. The only exception is a writer like H.P. Lovecraft, who often revealed the twist of the whole story in the very last sentence.

Still, I am interested in last lines. Most are nothing special, but some of them sum up the whole story very beautifully and leave the reader with a lasting impression of things. Here are some of the ones I really like, but first an explanation and caveat: first lines are often very quotable because they don’t rely on any context. They can’t; they’re the first sentence. But last lines only make sense when taken with the book as a whole. And there are often spoilers. I couldn’t tell you the last line of “The Wasp Factory” by Iain Banks without giving away the major plot twist. Anyway…

“We look forward to getting you back.” Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk. This is so perfect because it has a hint of foreboding. The main character escaped and you thought the story was over. It isn’t…

“The creatures outside looked pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” Animal Farm, by George Orwell. This is the perfect ending for this, since that’s the whole point of the book, that the pigs eventually become exactly like the thing they tried to get rid of.

“And, feeling better, fixed herself at last a cup of black, hot coffee.” Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I like this because I think a cup of coffee is a good end to anything.

And probably my favorite ending to a book for sheer poignancy and summing things up is from Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

“‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.”

 

Do you know any good last lines? Do you put much work into them in your own writing? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

14 responses to “…and they lived happily ever after.

Let me know what you think. I appreciate all comments and criticisms.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

lightsleeperbutheavydreamer

Just grin and bear it awhile :)

Linda's Bible Study

Come study God's Word with me!

Help Me Believe

Strengthen the believer. Answer the critic.

Citizen Tom

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Dreaming of Guatemala

happily trusting the Lord and learning Spanish while I wait.

The Green-Walled Chapel

Writings on Faith, Religion and Philosophy

To Be A Magician

A fiction blog of funny and dark stories

My music canvas

you + me + music

Eve In Korea

My Adventures As An ESL Teacher In South Korea

Luna's Writing Journal

A Place for my Fiction

Bikurgurl

Traveler, Foodie, Eclectic Unschooly Mama, Blogger, Outdoor-Seeker, Gardener, & Voracious Reader, sharing bits of my life at Bikurgurl.com

Upper Iowa University

Center for International Education

Here's To Being Human

Living life as a human

The Moving Quill

Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V

jenacidebybibliophile

Book Reviewer and Blogger

yuxianadventure

kitten loves the world

Strolling South America

10 countries, 675 days, 38,540km

It's All in Finding the Right Words

The Eternal Search to Find One's Self: Flash Fiction and Beyond

Reflections Of Life's Journey

Lessons, Joys, Blessings, Friendships, Heartaches, Hardships , Special Moments

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Chris Green

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Commendable Soap

"...the manufacture of stories... a business safe and commendable as making soap..." Willa Cather, 1920

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Unmapped Country within Us

Emily Livingstone, Author

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

The art of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

BJ Writes

My online repository for works in progress

wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/

she is confidence in shadows.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

obBLOGato

a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More

Mondays Finish the Story

This is a flash fiction site where you finish the story!

Sketches By Boze

An ongoing exploration of faith, culture, myth, life, art. An advocate for all who are trapped in nightmares.

Tiffys World

A diary type blog following the life of a Forensic Science Student

San Diego Professional Writer's Group

A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

%d bloggers like this: