January 13, 2011

happy ending vs. sad ending

I think we all tend to like happy endings verses sad ones. But is one better than the other? I have read many books with both sad and happy endings.

In my personal opinion I prefer happy endings, but only if the rest of the book is quite unpredictable. I only like a happy ending when the rest of the book is quite sad. Then you have a sense that the characters deserved the happiness that ended that tale. But like I said, it is my personal opinion.

To me the kind of beginning and middle should determine the kind of ending. And if it's a happy ending, who is it for? I don't think a bad guy and a good guy could share a happy ending, although I have seen it done. ☺

And I do believe there are many different endings other than happy or sad. There are mysterious endings (Agatha Christie ends a lot of her books like this), there are neutral endings (ones that aren't happy or sad), no endings (A short storie, 'The Lady and the Tiger' makes you pick the ending yourself.), ect...

What kind of endings do you prefer?


Margaret Rowena said...

Last night, I finished a novel by Leif Enger called Peace like a River.
It was a poignant and bittersweet story throughout, and it ended with the death of the main character's father. I like sad endings quite a bit, but this one irked me. Sometimes, things happen without a reason. This father dying was one of those things, but I think that the author could have injected a bit more of a purpose for the MC's dad being killed.

Altogether, the ending was happy, even though the villain disappeared and the missing brother that was sought after for the whole novel never came back (for good reasons, though). But it was happy because life went on in an altered way. Things changed for every character, and if that doesn't happen to at least a few people at the end of a story, then it will have a hard time being satisfying.

Okayyy, I apologize for leaving such a tome of a comment, but I just had to get it out of my system. I love discussing the factors of stories, can you tell? :)


Koda said...

I agree that happy endings can only really follow an unpredictable story. Otherwise it just gets cliched. Dickens is great in that he has his story with a myriad of plots intertwining and just as you think it's all gone wrong it comes right... and then it goes askew again! I think I like those kinds of stories best because you have a happy ending for one character but not for another... it makes it complex and interesting but still uplifting :D

(we've been watching the BBC's Little Dorrit which was a christmas present but, because it came from the UK, it's got lots of bits that were cut out of the AUS version :D I hope the ending of the original is done well... the AUS version final episode seemed very rushed and condensed to the point of it being incoherent and didn't do the story justice.)

Ellyn said...

Margaret!! You finished it!!! :) *happy*

Yes, I like happy endings if they are kind of unpredictable, and if the rest of the book is unpredictable. :) However, any book that makes me cry is instantly a winner with me. There's just something so romantic about reading a book and crying. :D