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Sometimes, a book’s closing line has a way of sticking with you, leaving you with a lingering sense of disturbance. These endings might make you rethink everything you’ve just read, leaving a mark that lasts for days. Here are 15 final lines in books that have that haunting effect.
“1984” by George Orwell
Orwell’s classic dystopian novel concludes with the haunting line: “He loved Big Brother.” This chilling affirmation of Winston’s complete submission to the oppressive regime leaves readers questioning the nature of freedom and control.
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
In this post-apocalyptic tale, McCarthy ends with: “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand.”
“The Stranger” by Albert Camus
Camus concludes his existential masterpiece with the narrator’s reflection: “And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness.” This enigmatic line encapsulates the novel’s exploration of life’s absurdity.
“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel ends with Esther’s haunting realization: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” This powerful affirmation of survival follows a journey through mental illness and societal expectations.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
The final line of Márquez’s epic tale is: “Races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.” This poignant line encapsulates the cyclical nature of history and human folly.
“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
Huxley leaves readers with the disquieting thought: “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” This final rebellion against the dystopian world raises questions about the nature of human desires.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
Atwood concludes her dystopian novel with: “And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.” Offred’s ambiguous choice reflects the complex interplay of resistance, survival, and sacrifice.
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro’s novel ends with the melancholic admission: “We all know it. We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, winos, tramps.” This somber revelation about the characters’ origins adds a layer of tragic inevitability.
“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka
Kafka’s surreal novella concludes with the haunting image of Gregor’s sister, saying: “And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions when, at the end of their journey, their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body.” This bizarre transformation leaves readers contemplating the nature of change.
“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
The novel ends with the naval officer saying: “I should have thought that a pack of British boys… would have been able to put up a better show than that.” This final assessment of the boys’ descent into savagery forces readers to confront the darkness within humanity.
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Frost’s poem concludes with the contemplative lines: “I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” These lines leave readers pondering the impact of choices and the roads not taken.
“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield ends his story with: “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” This poignant reflection on isolation and loss lingers in the reader’s mind.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Carraway reflects on Gatsby’s story with the haunting thought: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This elegiac closing line speaks to the eternal struggle against time and the inexorable pull of history.
“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier
The novel concludes with the revelation: “And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.” This final image of destruction and rebirth leaves readers with a sense of eerie beauty.
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
Morrison ends her novel with the haunting statement: “This is not a story to pass on.” This metafictional reflection on the unspeakable horrors of slavery forces readers to confront the weight of history.
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Victoria Cornell helps women adopt a positive mindset even when the struggles of motherhood feel overwhelming. On her sites, Motherhood Life Balance, Neon Moon and Bookworm Era she writes about ways to reduce stress with mindset, manifesting, goal planning, productivity, and more.