When I posted 10 Superb Opening Book Lines, I received a suggestion to also provide 10 last lines.
On the one hand, this could be dangerous. For I HATE HATE HATE when famous book plots are revealed to me in media and art, though I understand that there is a point at which a certain amount of time has passed and the knowledge is now “common” or “general.” The Simpsons has almost ruined much for me, though I love the show. For example, most people know how The Empire Strikes Back ends, even if they have somehow avoided seeing it. More recently, the shocking ending of The Sixth Sense was revealed in an episode of Scrubs in a face-off between the Janitor and Dr. Cox. I even feel animosity toward book jackets that reveal an event that occurs a few chapters into the book (After the death of her mother…).
I have decided, however, that the title of this post will deter those who fear spoilers (as I do); additionally, most of the books I’ve chosen are at least fifty years old. I have also taken the liberty of expanding the defintion of “last lines” to include up to five short sentences. Enjoy!
-o- “Clang. The gate was shut. Sam hurled himself against the bolted brazen plates and fell senseless to the ground. He was out in the darkness. Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1954)
-o- “Thus around the shores of deserted earth, while the sun is high, and the moon waxes or wanes, angels, the spirits of the dead, and the ever-open eye of the Supreme, will behold the tiny bark, frightened VERNEY – the last man.”
Mary Shelley, The Last Man (1826)
-o- “Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
-o- “In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)
-o- “Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1964)
-o- “The gunslinger waited for the time of the drawing and dreamed his long dreams of the Dark Tower, to which he would someday come at dusk and approach, winding his horn, to do some unimaginable final battle.”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (1982)
-o- “The cannons of his adversary were thundering in the tattered morning when the Majesty of England drew himself up to meet the future with a peaceful heart.”
T. H. White, The Once and Future King (1958)
-o- “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
-o- “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
-o- “He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)