Problematic Endings In 3 British Novels

679 words - 3 pages

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, and The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howell all have problematic endings that may not logically follow any preceding action in the novel. Many critics find themselves asking the same question regarding Twain's Huck Finn: Does this ending belong to the novel? The conclusion does not seem to fit the critical scheme. Many factors contribute to this ongoing debate. The appearance of Tom to save the day is uncalled for. By the time Tom appears, Huck's character has sufficiently progressed so that Huck could have saved the day by himself. By bringing Tom back into the book, Huck's character takes an enormous bound backwards. He is again rendered Tom's devoted sidekick. The most perplexing factor of this asymmetrical novel is the colossal mood shift from quiet dignity to painstakingly extreme, but comical, in chapter 31. It was unheard of to break the unspoken rigid rules of consistency stating tragic or comical moods must be uniformly maintained. The entire narrative seems to be leading up to an electrifying finale, however, by reading on, the reader is left with the same lingering notion: "That's it?!?!?" What happens to Huck and Tom? How did Jim feel about being liberated? Will Huck and Jim continue to stick together? "Tom's most well now and got his bullet around his neck on a watch-guard and a watch and is always eyeing what time it is, and so there aint nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it, and ain't a-going 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." (chpt. 31) Samuel Clemens is tremendously fortunate that his novel became...

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