Happy endings?

TalkDystopian novels

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Happy endings?

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Nov 9, 2016, 11:26am

A conversation turned that way, as they do, and I couldn't think of any examples off hand, but I'm sure there are - of Dystopian fiction that all turns out all right in the end? Happy ever after? etc?

The context was it's a bit grim at the moment, and I'd rather read utopian fiction, only it's almost by definition, stale changeless and boring. But there must be a dystopian world where it does all come good?

Nov 14, 2016, 8:29pm

Hmm. "Happy ever after" "and all come good"? I think survival is often the best case scenario, but I don't think the point of dystopian novel is to comfort the reader by providing a happy ending. I find dystopian novels some very thought-provoking pieces of fiction for one reason or another.

**SPOILERS**(general, not specific)

Sometimes dystopian novels are "awful warning" novels. The Handmaids Tale, according to Atwood, was meant to show the dangers of conservatism. 1984 clearly was about the dangers of Fascism or Communism. Ambiguous ending for the former, pretty bad ending for the latter.

Then there is the personal struggle or challenge for the protagonists, like in the Carhullan Army or The Unit, both meet their challenges but it doesn't guarantee a happy or positive ending. There are, of course, always obstacles & challenges for protagonists, these two novels come to mind as more narrowly focused)

Seems Veracity had a sort of positive ending, in that things were better or promised to be better at the end. Maybe Fahrenheit 451 could be considered as having a happy ending, again, in that it suggests things will be better. Or maybe children's and YA dystopias have happy endings? It seems Juliana Baggott's YA SF trilogy (Pure, Fuse and Burn) ends with the promise of a better world, and if my memory serves me right, so also does the City of Ember trilogy.

I think you might find that movies with dystopian settings might be more apt to end happily, especially American ones. One can use the differences between the various cuts of Gilliam's "Brasil," as an example.

Nov 15, 2016, 11:10am

Depending on your point of view, Brave New World has a happy ending for a great many of its citizens, if not for the chief protagonist.

Nov 15, 2016, 1:21pm

I think YA dystopias are more likely to end happily than adult ones. The Hunger Games and The Giver are other examples that at least end with hope for the protagonists, even if the happiness is low key.

Nov 15, 2016, 8:01pm

>4 konallis: I was thinking about The Giver, too, though I think that ending is pretty ambiguous.

Nov 15, 2016, 9:09pm

After thinking about the various and numerous dystopias I've read, I think I prefer ambiguous, unexpected or disturbing* endings that keep me thinking long after the book is over.

*by "disturbing", I don't so much mean "horrible", but something "unsettling" that takes me out of my comfort zone so I will look at something in a different way, and subsequently change me.

Nov 28, 2016, 10:19am

I thought I would note that there was an earlier discussion of "life-affirming dystopias" on an earlier thread HERE

Mar 27, 2020, 9:47am

I think The Testaments might work.