Atwood Happy Endings

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James Nuyen
Professor Julie Allen
English 125
11 February 2011
“The True Ending”
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In her short story “Happy Endings”, Margaret Atwood uses different literary techniques that can alter the interpretation of the story’s theme. The story starts off with a generic “fairy tale” ending in which a husband and a wife live a happy life together and eventually die. However, as the story progresses, Atwood’s style and tone makes the alternate scenarios of John and Mary give off a sense of uncertainty of what main ideas she is trying to convey. Good opening and thesis.

Atwood displays her feelings about not only the art of creative writing, but also the equally artistic act of living one's life to the fullest. The unique manner in which the story is structured, that of a mixed-up summary of events, begins by saying, "If you want a happy ending, try A," Atwood seemingly gives the reader a choice. It is implied that Story A is the “happy ending and ahead await endings that are much more sinister. Following the first version of the “ending” are various endings, all of which seem to be quite depressing, but nevertheless end with "everything continues as in A." What is the meaning? Remember to show us why your evidence supports your claim.

There are five different adaptations of the “end”; however all of the characters eventually end up at Story A. This shows Atwood’s cynical attitude about the insignificance of life and is evident in the third story when she explains that the reason John purchased a handgun is "the thin part of the plot and can be explained later". Atwood does not place impact on the events leading to death, but instead concentrates on the "happy ending" itself; for all that matters is that the ill-fated lovers do die and it does not matter how. This reinforces Atwood's notion that life is simply a means to the "happy" end. Good!

Both of the main characters, John and Mary, are underdeveloped and Atwood...
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