I was digging through some of my old graduate school manuscripts. One of my instructors had commented that the story I’d submitted should have a more ambiguous ending. I have no doubt she was right, but this got me thinking about endings. I couldn’t help but reflect on my current work. Did the ending need more ambiguity? Could I make the ending of my novella more ambiguous?
I suppose I could. I suppose there could be more of the unknown or unknowable there. I suppose I could have some mystery hovering over the relationship of the protagonist and his lover.
But I think it would be more subversive to have an unambiguously hopeful ending. This is because the novel is a queer story; the protagonist is queer, and so is his relationship with his lover.
Queer stories, for anyone who knows, are impossibilities when it comes to endings. You have two paths and two paths only: the one which leads to a happy ending, and the other which leads to an obscene tragedy of some kind,
Guess which ending is most common, even today.
So I prefer the unambiguously happy ending. It’s more powerful, more subversive. And it gives queer people much needed hope.
Ambiguity can have its place in fiction, certainly. But, when it comes to endings, I think queer people deserve more than tragedy or ambiguity.