Stephen I. Perrine
Plot deals with where a story begins, and how it ends. Some of the twists and turns that occur might be part of it, but the basics of plot are according to Atwood in “Happy Endings” two people meet, a bunch of stuff happens and they die. The point Atwood is making is that plot, no matter how a writer contrives it, is in consequential; because, all endings are the same. Plot is nothing more than a what, and a what, and a what.
“Happy endings” starts with the main characters John, and Mary meeting, Atwood then asks what happens next. Atwood then suggests: “If you want a happy ending, try A.” (Beaty 26-28) Atwood wrote six different versions of the events that occur between John and Mary. Series of events A is rather boring; those events could have taken place in Beverly Hills CA, New Haven CT, so on and so forth. If you read the events in B, though you get a much clearer mental image of what sort of environment this is occurring in. In the end everything winds up going like the events in A.
I told you everything goes as in A. Well the events of A are in this case: John marries Madge, they have good jobs, buy a nice house, economy booms, they get promoted and can afford servants, have two children, have an okay sex life, friends whom are nice, go on nice vacations, retire, have nice hobbies, and they die. Originally this was what happened between John and Mary; however, a rather boring sequence of events. The events in B make for a much more interesting main part of the story with A being kind of a summary of what happens afterwards kind of an epilogue if you will. Sub story B makes for a more interesting tale for most readers, or if it was made into a movie/TV show viewers.
Atwood’s scenario B makes for a more interesting read because you get more of the details of the lives of John and Mary. John becomes a fairly typical man; not one whom you