Open ending  

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"I recently gave the concept of a happy ending some attention in a post concerned with feelgood films and romantic comedies. When I was writing that post I was thinking about the concept of 'open endings' but could not find much (the nearest being cliffhanger plot device in serial fiction). Robert Schweik comments on 'open endings' in 19th century novels such as Madame Bovary (1857) The Sentimental Education (1869) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Robert Schweik[1] quotes Robert Martin Adams' when he says that the artist and the audience were willing to accept 'a major unresolved conflict with the intent of displaying its unresolvedness'. For example, in both Madame Bovary (1857) and The Sentimental Education (1869), "Flaubert gave the final words to a character who speaks simplistic banalities that leave the reader with no concluding authorial overview which might create a surer sense of resolution." Dickens wrote multiple endings to Great Expectations (1861), one which would have denied readers the sense of resolution."--Sholem Stein on open endings

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An open ending is an ending where the reader is left unresolved as to what will happen after the story has ended.

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