The Most Powerful Closing Lines in Literature

The world of literature has many amazing and unique writings that readers appreciate. We can all agree that the opening of any piece of writing is important as it has the ability to captivate the reader. In like manner, a good end to a novel is just as important and will keep the reader thinking even after it is finished. The last words of the author can be so profound that it evokes great emotion and causes deep reflection. Let’s take a look at five powerful last lines in literature that do just that.

1. From The Great Gatsby

The novel, “The Great Gatsby,” is one that speaks about a young man, Jay Gatsby, who sets out to reinvent himself. Fitzgerald, the author, focuses on themes such as justice, power, social stratification, resistance to change, greed and the all American dream. The closing line in the novel said by Nick states, “So we dream on, boats against the current, borne back carelessly into the past.” It alludes to the futility of our attempts to get past the past while simultaneously focusing on our future.

2. From Gone With The Wind

The novel “Gone With the Wind” written by Margaret Mitchel, is a story about civil war, starvation and heartbreak which certainly aren’t associated with hope. However, this book features a ruthless and optimistic character, Scarlett O’Hara. The concluding statement says “After all tomorrow is another day.” It implies that even though one has recently had a negative experience, it is important to be confident or hopeful that life will significantly improve in the future. We should all take a page or in this case, a line from this book.   

3. From Animal Farm

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which,” is the closing line in George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm. It is about animals and humans living in a society where there is great injustice. Orwell observed that humans abused animals in the same way they abused weaker members of their own species. In the end, the pigs behaved just as cruel and oppressive as the farmers. This novel is a commentary on the development of Russian communism expressed in allegorical form. The humans represented the capitalist and aristocrats and the animals represented the people.

4. From The Catcher in the Rye

The work of author JD Salinger in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” surrounds the life of Holden Caulfield. In the end, Holder says “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” He’s suggesting that developing deep relationships and lasting attachments will ultimately result in loneliness and sadness. Holden’s terrible history has trained him to maintain his distance and aloofness for others as a psychological safeguard. He remains introverted and represses his feelings out of fear of losing another significant person.

5. From the Book Thief

“The Book Thief” is the fictional writing of Markus Zusak, that focuses on the adventures of Liesel Meminger at a time of war in Germany and is narrated by Death, that is made tangible and gives a unique perspective of victims. The novel closes with the line, “I am haunted by humans.” Throughout the book, Death reflects on humanity and its attempt to come to terms with both the extraordinary brutality and tenderness that humanity is capable of. While man seems to be afraid of death and its unknowns, Death is haunted by the contradictions and intricacies of human nature.   

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