Monday, May 23, 2011

Endings Are Important, Too: MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins

People are always talking about the importance of a book's beginning lines.

    Well, sure, that's definitely true.  I mean, what else is supposed to keep a person reading?  (I'd take a strong, interesting opener over a flowery weather forecast any day -- The rain slashed across her window pane.... Cliche alert! Cliche alert!)

    But no one ever really mentions how important the ending is. 

    I don't necessarily mean the general ending, what happens, but the last couple of lines.  Since that's the last thing you really take away from a book, I think it's just as important -- if not more, in some ways -- than the beginning.

   For me, the best ending line ever comes from Mockingjay, the third installment from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  (You probably shouldn't read on if you haven't read these books.  Also, you probably should read these books.)  But hey, the whole last piece is great, so I'll throw in the last two paragraphs.  It helps you get a better feel for the conclusion if you've never read it before, anyway:

     "I'll tell them how I survive it.  I'll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away.  That's when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've ever seen someone do.  It's like a game.  Repetitive.  Even a little tedious after more than twenty years.
    But there are much worse games to play."                       
   I really only need one word to sum this up:  Amazing.  The reference, of course, ties back with the title of the first book and a major plot point throughout the series.  It has a certain sense of finalty to it -- read it out loud.  Hear that unspoken "the end" quality it has?  That's what I'm talking about.  The whole section has a bittersweet mood going on, which I love, because that fits perfectly with the book, the series, the main character.  It somehow wraps up the beginning of the first book and the last thing, plot-wise, that's happened in the last book, and ties them together with some kind of grace and ease that I've never seen before in any other piece of writing. 

    Obviously, I'm in awe of Suzanne Collins' ending (even if she read the exerpt for Mockingjay's beginning with a hick accent -- I must be pretty forgiving).  In fact, I'm kind of wondering if she's even human, because the ending definitely wasn't. 

    Sometime soon -- probably tomorrow -- I'll go over another series' ending.  Maybe the seventh Harry Potter?  Anyway, what do you think is important for an ending?  Have any ending in particular that really strikes you?

1 comment:

Jenna Cooper said...

You already went over my favorite ending.
I guess, for me, it all depends on the mood of the book. The ending of Mockingjay was perfect given the theme of the series. Other stories need a happier ending, and others darker. I think the most important thing is that it fits the mood of your book.