Posted in From The Editor's Desk, Literature, Writing

Favorite Closing Lines in Literature

Some books just stay with you. They haunt you. You dream of the characters, and of what would be if it just ended differently. Sometimes the closing lines just make sense, and sometimes they hint of a path not taken.  Some give us closure, some are cliffhangers, yet they make me want to read the book again, and again. How about you?

Here are a few of mine.

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”

Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
“He turned away to give them time to pull themselves together; and waited, allowing his eyes to rest on the trim cruiser in the distance.”

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
“He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

Animal Farm
by George Orwell
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Memoirs of a Geisha
by Arthur Golden
“Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.”

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
“Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him—and it was still hot.”

Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“But that is the beginning of a new story – the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.”

In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
“Then starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind him the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.”

Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
“The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky – seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Hippos Go Berserk
by Sandra Boynton
One hippo, alone once more, misses the other 44.

 

What’s your favorite last line? 

Posted in From The Editor's Desk, Grammar, Writing

Choosing the Right Point of View for Your Story

Point of View

The Narrator’s personality and perspective helps shape the reader’s perspective, and how the story unfolds. The reader sees what the character experiences from their point of view (POV).

Why Point of View?

POV helps us understand motives, desires, and empathize with characters and what they are going through. Ursula Le Guin, in Steering the Craft says, “The technical term for describing who is telling the story and what their relation to the story is” (page 83).

First Person POV

Use of “I”, or, in plural first person, “we”. This is used in both autobiographical writing and narration

Examples: Charles Dickens’ character introduction in the opening of the chapter “I Am Born” in David Copperfield (1850).

‘Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night’ (page 1).

Second Person POV

Use of word “you”. Sort of a ‘choose your own adventure’. When I think of this, which is a very uncommon type of POV that we see, since it’s hard to write and keep consistent. Why do I say it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ type? Because the reader imagines themselves performing each action. One of my favorite books that showcases second person POV is Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler

Now you are on the bus, standing in the crowd, hanging from a strap by your arm, and you begin undoing the package with your free hand, making movements something like a monkey, a monkey who wants to peel a banana and at the same time cling to the bough.’ (page 7).

 

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Editor’s Note: For an interesting Study in Second Person and Calvino, check out DarWrites

Third Person POV

Use of words he, she, it, they. In today’s world, don’t forget about gender-neutral pronouns as well. Third person POV can stay in one character’s head, or move freely between characters.

Limited POV 

Only see what’s happening through the character that is narrating, very narrow, and only colored through what our character thinks/ feels / believes about the characters and events around him/her.

Omniscient

“Non-involved narrator”. Narrator sees all and knows all, including the character’s private thoughts and feelings.  Ursula Le Guin, in Steering the Craft’s chapter “Point of View and Voice” says, “the narrator knows the whole story, tells it because it is important, and is profoundly involved with all the characters.”

 

BONUS MATERIAL:
If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! Here’s an extra grammar maven tip that comes from my very good friend and fellow grammarian, Melissa Case about Reflexive Pronouns Me, Myself & I: How and How NOT to Use Reflexive Pronouns on Medium.

 

Featured image courtesy of grammarly