Happy Endings Essay

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In Happy Endings, Margaret Atwood satirically mocks the concept of a modern day love story, leaving behind no originality or integrity, thereby exposing a cliché happy ending as the universal bottom line. Happy Endings is essentially a group of love stories combined into a short story, yet it makes a point about all traditional storylines without actually stating it outright. She conveys the idea that a happy ending can never be defined by the literal conclusion. An ending is without value unless it relieves the audience’s anticipation and reveals a truth in the consequence of the complications that arose in the beginning and middle. Atwood states, plots “are just one thing after another, a what a what and a what. Now try How and Why.” This shows how events only provide stories with a plot, not substance. A plot is almost useless without character development because the quality of a story depends on how well it arouses emotion and conveys an artistic meaning.
Happy Endings proves that plots cheapen the art of storytelling by presenting stories that greatly lack emotion. The first story, A, is a very boring. John and Mary fall in love, get married, buy a house, have children, retire, and die. She lists the events in a very dull matter of fact tone. Atwood presents this cliché happy ending to represent all major aspirations of middle class society. Later, she explains that the only true ending is death. However, an audience that really craves a happy ending rarely thinks about death because it is not happy. In Happy Endings, death is neither happy nor sad because the characters are very underdeveloped. One cannot connect with a story if the characters are not relatable. Even the pleasant parts of the couple’s lives seem insignificant. The transition from dilemma, tragedy, mystery, or triumph to conclusion makes no resonance without intrigue. A story cannot intrigue an audience without character development. Atwood exposes how common it is for stories to...

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