Almost every reader expects the same image at the end of any romantic book. Lovey-dovey promises, tender looks, passionate kisses – and then they lived happily ever after, despite unpaid bills, routine and unhealthy food habits. There is nothing new about marriages and sweet book endings, though sad endings and divorces do not sound especially unfamiliar as well. Well, why do we love happy endings so much?
Some Hope Required
Because they reassure us and make us a promise of happiness and better future. If to explain it from the biological point of view: every time we read a story, that ends with a marriage or, at least, with a hint of a marriage possibility, our subconscious gets another proof of the future existence of humankind on Earth. However, if to explain it from the psychological point of view, we often view marriage at the end of the book as a sacred symbol of peace, harmony and serenity. And it is so pure and wonderful that the author doesn’t even dare to describe it any further. It is well known that in reality it is quite a rare phenomenon when the marriage indeed becomes a shelter, where the couple can rest from cruelty and injustice of our world. But we want to believe in that rare phenomenon so much, because it is exactly what we need in our lives – a relationship, a place, that will make everything seem right, at least for the time being.
Professional Point of View
Francine Prose, a famous American writer, shared her thoughts about happy endings and book marriage in her article, called “How Does the Classic Marriage Plot Stand Up in 2014?”. She wrote the following: “Whenever I hear the phrase “happily ever after,” I visualize the Don Martin cartoon I first saw in Mad Magazine and have loved since I was a child. The frog has been kissed and transformed into the handsome prince; he and his bride are riding off into the sunset. But in the next frame, a large housefly buzzes past. A long, ribbonlike tongue shoots out of the prince’s mouth and snags the delicious insect morsel. How will the princess’s happiness be affected by her husband’s unusual dietary preferences?
So while the romantic thinks “happily ever after,” the realist thinks “housefly.”
The Present and the Future
Except for the“housefly” bitter aftertaste, the problem of the happy endings that feature marriage is how old-fashioned they are. This world is not a place it used to be in previous centuries. It has changed. People have began to value their personal freedom way much more than before. Women have became less dependent in both economic and social meanings. Nowadays marriage is simply not necessary for those, who love each other and want to be with each other – they do not need to fear that somebody will judge their behavior, they can simply stay together. Well, perhaps writers should reconsider their concept of happy endings and replace marriage with love and nothing more?