The significance of endings in The Great Gatsby The Kite Runner and Auden’s poetry Essay
The significance of endings in The Great Gatsby The Kite Runner and Auden’s poetry
Write about the significance of the ways writers end their narratives in the work of the three writers you have studied.
In ‘The Great Gatsby’ Fitzgerald creates a sense of finality in the last chapter through the repetition of the word ‘last’, which suggests to the reader ‘the party was over.’ Also the repetition relates to the end of Nick’s experiences and relationship with Gatsby, creating a subdued tone in the ending of the narrative. Fitzgerald references the colour ‘green’ once more, which is symbolic of Gatsby’s dream, the use of it in this final chapter signifies the sombre end of the dream and pursuit of Daisy. Fitzgerald’s construction of a tone of finality within this final chapter in relation to Gatsby’s dream reflects the loss of hope, considering the dream has been a symbol for hope for the entirety of the novel.
Fitzgerald’s further utilisation of colour similarly reflects the loss of hope. The ‘motor-hearse’ was described as ‘horribly black’ which heavily contrasts the vulgar displays of colour in Gatsby’s life ‘pink rag of a suit’, this compounds the fact that Gatsby is indeed gone, thus ending the narrative in a pessimistic tone since neither Gatsby, nor his dream succeeded. Coupled with this is the pathetic fallacy, used to parallel the sombre feeling of death and loss, there was a ‘thick drizzle’ which has ominous connotations. Also, the fact the rain has only been described in one other instance over the whole narrative builds tension since it’s not an ordinary description ‘he spoke of the rain in a worried, uncertain way.’
However, despite this pessimism throughout the final chapter, Fitzgerald uses the final line to reference Gatsby one last time and reflect his passionate struggle to realise his dream. ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’ This metaphor shows that despite Gatsby’s life being full of obstacles ‘current’, nothing stopped him relentlessly trying to achieve what he wanted ‘so we beat on.’ Through this Fitzgerald references the reader and demonstrates the human need to dream and to be challenged and suggests to the reader that despite obstacles and hardship in our own lives ‘tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further’ and ultimately we should never give up until we have secured what we dream of. This ends the novel with a moral message directed specifically towards the reader through the character description of Gatsby, creating a sense of closure in the reader.
In ‘The Kite Runner’ Hosseini uses descriptions of how Amir’s ‘mind flashed back’ to his childhood with Hassan and the profound detail of Sohrab in the final chapter, in order to epitomise Amir’s guilt which spawned from ‘a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975’, and which has been the central aspect in the novel. Amir says his ‘hands are stained with Hassan’s blood’ and he prays ‘God doesn’t let them get stained with the blood of his boy too.’ The ‘blood’ is suggestive of Hassan’s rape which is the source of Amir’s guilt and the fact that Amir ‘pray(ed)’ shows how he feels utterly powerless suggesting he is overwhelmed with guilt.
Hosseini creates a detailed explanation of ‘Sohrab’s face’, his ‘slanting bamboo-leaf eyes so much like his father’s’, this comparison exemplifies Amir’s guilt over his cowardice and disloyalty towards Hassan which is compelling him to devote himself to his son in repentance. Alternatively this concern over ‘Hassan’s boy’ could reflect Amir’s genuine care and love of his friend and half-brother Hassan, especially since ‘blood’ is mentioned which has been symbolic for the brotherhood between the two characters Amir and Hassan. Hosseini’s description of Amir’s deeply rooted guilt in this final chapter ends the narrative positively since the reader ultimately sympathises with Amir, as his heavy conscience reveals his benevolence towards Hassan and presents him once more as an appealing character.
Hosseini also significantly parallels Amir and Hassan in the closing lines of the narrative to suggest that Amir did finally receive redemption for his betrayal of Hassan, this ends the narrative in a light hearted manner composing a positive ending. Hosseini says that Sohrab ‘took hold of the string’ of the kite which symbolises the bond now formed between Amir and Sohrab, since the kites always were an omnipresent symbol for friendship within the novel. Therefore Hosseini suggests that Amir and Hassan have reconciled through Amir’s bondage with Sohrab. The final line of the narrative ‘I ran’ shows how Amir running the kite for Sohrab, mirrors the actions of Hassan, suggesting Amir has at last been redeemed of his disloyalty, because he has changed.
He is running for Hassan’s son, the personal pronoun ‘I ran’ shows he is no longer selfish and his superiority demonstrated before has vanished. Similarly, Hosseini suggests Amir finally receives redemption since Soraya ‘had a glimpse of the mother she might have been’ in her eye, ‘had her own womb not betrayed her’ which shows she has finally become a mother and subsequently, Amir a father. This symbolises redemption because Amir’s infertility had been a symbolic punishment for his cowardice towards Assef during Hassan’s rape ‘someone…had decided to deny me fatherhood for the things I had done.’ However the fact that now he is able to be a father to Sohrab suggests he no longer needs to be punished.
In ‘As I Walked Out One Evening’ Auden uses the ending of the piece to consolidate the overall theme of the power of time, which permeates the poem. Auden describes the setting ‘late in the evening’ in the final stanza of the poem, which contrasts the beginning where the time frame was simply identified as ‘one evening.’ This suggests time has elapsed between the first and last stanza.
Then Auden says ‘the lovers they were gone’ which suggests that because of the passage of time their love has ended, ‘gone’ showing love to be fragile against the vast power of time. Furthermore the comparison between ‘the lovers they were gone’ and ‘the deep river ran on’ shows how despite the lovers perishing in time the ‘deep river’ has remained unchanged from the beginning of the poem where it was revealed to be a ‘brimming river’, a synonym for full or ‘deep.’ This rhyme between ‘gone’ and ‘on’ and the parallel description of the river from the beginning shows the ‘lovers’ haven’t impacted upon anything, which presents love as an inexorably insignificant force in life, a key theme within the poem.
In ‘O What is That Sound’ Auden uses meaningful absence in order to reflect the uncertainty in the voice of the poem and to create an exciting ending. In the poem Auden describes ‘scarlet soldiers’ en route to the ‘broken lock and splintered door’ where the voice of the poem is residing. Auden uses the final stanza as a climactic moment in which to suggest the soldiers have reached their destination and are about to harm the voice in the poem. The final line the soldiers’ ‘eyes are burning’ has ominous connotations and implies the impending doom of the voice.
Similarly the propounding ‘b’ sounds in ‘broken’ and ‘boots’ symbolises the loud movements of the soldiers which reflects their close proximity and subsequently emphasises their threat, creating a tense exciting ending as the reader fears for the fate of the voice. However the ‘b’ sounds could also reflect the aggressiveness of the soldiers and equally show their threatening presence.
Auden also rises the threat of the soldiers and tense tone of the poem at the end through the lack of questions presented in the final stanza. In the previous stanzas, two voices were present explicated through repetitive questions and answers, however in the final stanza there is only description of the soldiers ‘turning, turning’ which increases the pace of the poem and reflects the imminent danger since the voice is now all alone, which allows the reader to vicariously experience the situation of the voice in the poem, spawning an exciting ending.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 July 2017
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