endings, yet again

following from a couple posts and the discussions that followed, I have tried to sort things out with a table. I haven’t included definitions of what constitutes a satisfying tragic or optimistic ending to a novel or a film, because, well, that would be too much work just now. And also, you can take yourself down to the rest of the discussion to see what was said there, if you’re really wondering. One other proviso: to say that an ending was somehow successful doesn’t mean that the whole novel or film was without flaw. The converse is also true: a flawed ending can sometimes be forgiven if the rest of the work is strong enough. And of course this is all a matter of opinion and interpretation.

Because I’m working with little space, I didn’t include author or screenwriter, and I’ve color coded novels and films. Many novels and films won’t fit into any of these categories, of course.





The Hours
Lost in Translation

A Soldier of the
Great War

Saving Private Ryan
Cold Mountain
In the Cut


Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park
The Pursuit of Alice Thrift


Fight Club