Last Lines

Back in February I wrote a post titled First Lines, then in April I followed it up with More First Lines.

Shirley, Charlotte Bronte, Literature, First LinesThis evening as I finished reading Shirley by Charlotte Brontë I started to think about how some novels end.

What started my mind wandering was not the actual last lines, but the beginning of the last chapter:

Yes, reader, we must settle accounts now. I have only briefly to narrate the final fates of some of the personages who acquaintance we have made in this narrative, and then you and I must shake hands, and for the present separate.

How often do we wish that an author would do this for us. We sometimes want to know what happens to all the different characters at the end of a novel. However, it is sometimes more fun to wonder what happened to them and make up our own future stories.

So what are the last lines of Shirley?

The story is told. I think I now see the judicious reader putting on his spectacles to look for the moral. It would be an insult to his sagacity to offer directions. I only say, God speed him in the quest!

Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte, Penguin Popular Classics, First LinesCharlotte’s sister Anne Brontë is more succinct in the ending of her novel Agnes Grey.

And now I think I have said sufficient.

The End

The first lines of these novels by the Brontë sisters were featured in previous posts. Agnes Grey in First Lines and Shirley in More First Lines.

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Last Lines, Pip, Estella, Ms. HavishamOne of my favorite novels is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The end of the novel was revised several times, but since the title of this post is Last Lines, I decided that I would share the last ending that Dickens wrote. It is also my favorite of the endings.

I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.

I may have to read Great Expectations again soon.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, Novels, Last Lines, Samuel ClemensI like the ending of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

…. and so there ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it and ain’t agoing to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

The End

Yours Truly,

Huck Finn

Huck here says that making a book is trouble and he ain’t agoing to no more. However, he goes on to narrate Tom Sawyer, Detective and Tom Sawyer Abroad.

Chrime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Penguin Popular Classics, Last LinesCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky also has an interesting ending:

But now a new history commences: a story of the gradual renewing of a man, of his slow progressive regeneration, and change from one world to another — an introduction to the hitherto unknown realities of life. This may well form the theme of a new tale; the one we wished to offer the reader is ended.

Does this make you wonder about a new tale? Would you want to read a sequel with these themes?

I don’t think that I have given away the ending of any of these novels. However, I may have you thinking about what preceded these last lines.

Do you have a favorite last line of a novel?



This entry was posted in Books, Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Last Lines

  1. Tim Shey says:

    Here are the last lines from “The Dead” by James Joyce:

    “A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

  2. Pingback: September Book Acquisitions | Braman's Wanderings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.