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Endings

I don’t mean to be brief, but that’s exactly what Okparanta’s ending to “Grace” was. In her normal style of writing Okparanta’s stories follow a typical arc with an ending that is often more tidy than what life really has to offer. Perhaps it is because of the nature of the story and the fact that a solid resolution is impossible given the traditional values of Grace’s family that Okparanta is unable to bring it to a close in the way she normally would. Instead, this ending feels more akin to something Steven Millhauser would have ended a story with. He has a way of stepping away from the conflict of the story, and stepping instead into the little details of life showing the peacefulness and the devastation, without actually saying outright what the issues are.

Okparanta does this as well in her ending to “Grace” by letting the narrator look around and survey her surroundings. Instead of offering her immediate internal reaction to the hopeless situation, instead the reader becomes privy to the private, intimate details of her past relationship and also the idea of the woman she sees herself as. By focusing in on fishing, the reader becomes aware of the immense feelings the two women share for each other, but also the understand that the relationship they hope for is impossible in many different ways — the student/professor relationship being forbidden and certainly the forbidden-ness of the female/female relationship as well.

One Response to “Endings”

  1. tleech12 says:

    Jenny, I liked your review of Grace; I shall certainly look for Steven M, as I don’t know his work.
    I appreciate the input!
    Linda