What is Denouement?
The denouement is the final part of the story. It is the point in the story where everything is explained. All the mysteries and confusion come to an end at this point. It happens when the loose ends are tied up, and the outcome is revealed. In the denouement, the reader is able to learn about the fate of the main characters and how their story come to an end.
The villains and antagonists usually meet with their downfall at the very point. In conclusion of the story, the themes and messages that the author wants to convey are typically emphasized. The denouement disentangles the mystery and suspense from earlier parts of the story. At the end, the readers feels satisfaction and are able to understand that what will happen next. Every important thing gets completed neatly and no confusion is left.
Common Examples of Denouement
Here are some more common examples of denouement:
- In a romantic comedy film: The denouement often shows the two lead characters finally getting together in a happy ending after overcoming obstacles to their relationship.
- The detective gathers everyone at the end of the story and explains that who committed the crime and how. In this way, he solves all the mysteries.
- The last part of an action movie, where the hero beats the bad guy and saves the person who was captured. It solves the main problem and ends the story in a good way.
- Final pages of a biography: The book covers the last years of the person’s life, what they’re remembered for, and any unanswered questions about how they died.
- The ending of a courtroom legal thriller has the verdict announced and consequences depicted – whether justice is served or a surprise twist emerges.
- In a tragedy, the denouement shows the aftermath of the key character’s downfall and death, depicting the reactions and sorrow of those they left behind.
- The final chapter of a novel set during a historical event will often epilogue by jumping years ahead to show how the characters and setting were impacted long-term.
Denouement Examples in literature
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“No, nor do I think it can ever be,” Jay Gatsby said, “so I’ll go to her once more. If she’d rather not–” He hesitated, and Daisy said, “No, Jay, I’ll go too.”
In the ending part of the novel, the denouement happens after a sad event. Gatsby and Daisy meet again because of a car accident where Myrtle dies. This sad moment makes them think about their past and their feelings for each other. Gatsby has always been in love with Daisy. Now he finally gets to be with her. But it is not a happy time because the situation is very serious and sad. This ending makes the story’s big ideas about love, social status and dreams even more powerful.
“The Murder Stone” by Louise Penny
“She brought her work toward completion, but the final outcome brought her only grief—loss of the child she still felt gestating inside her. She retreated into her notebooks, ceased writing, curtained windows, and grieved deeply. Her friends tried calling her, checked her mail, and grew increasingly concerned” [Sophie] stuck to her writing habits and went to college while getting her work published. But the responsibility of motherhood took a hefty toll on her freedom and time, which exposed her to a palectic of emotions, covering the entire spectrum of human emotions.
The ending part of the novel shows a big surprise. The child of Sophie comes back to see her, about whom, everyone thought had passed away. This is a shock to the friends of Sophie, as she never told them that her child was still alive. This reunion helps Sophie heal from her past sadness and guilt. It is a fresh start and a way for her to make peace with her feelings. This happy ending wraps up the story nicely. It gives the reader a sense of completion and hope for the future of Sophie. It is a good example of how an ending ties up the loose ends of the story in a satisfying way.
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte
The denouement occurs in the final chapter as Jane and Mr. Rochester reunite after he has been blinded in a fire. He is forced to resign from his position and depart for Europe.
“Here, then, closes my story; but however incomplete and unfinished I may think it, I hope it may, at least, be acceptable to those who, like me, have found comfort in recalling the past, as futurity grows darker around us. I can add nothing to myopcode—nothing to my reputation. When I write, I hardly know whither I drift; a pulse, a spark, which now and then beats or starts perceivedly in the stillness, would seem to guide me. I usually imagine that whatever is written, is written for Somebody else, and that the person addressed, is not less a stranger than any other unseen creature. The popularity or unpopularity of the production, is a thing entirely outside my conceptions: why should I care about it, in a world when Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, are all one token, in the hands of Him who permits a thousand mysteries daily to loose their colour and fade irrecoverably from our sight?”
Here, Jane reflects on the completeness and universality of the human experience, which suggests that the mysteries of life are ultimately outside of our control. This passage resonates after the climactic events of Jane and Mr. Rochester’s reunion as they move towards the future together. They acknowledge the uncertainties and mysteries that still lie ahead.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
This classic novel contains a denouement that occurs when Cooper, one of companions of Huck, reveals himself to be a runaway slave named Jim, who has been presumed dead. In the following paragraph, Huck describes the moment that Cooper returns and the denouement begins:
“It was daylight before we got out. I was pretty near gone with watchfulness, but learn’t from Ins’t that what kept me awake was hope, and not watchfulness. Directly after I dropped off to sleep the steamboat hove in sight, and presently I heard pap’s voice asking for me; and I waked up, and there was the Widow Douglas, and Miss Watson, and Uncle Silas, and aunt Sally, and mams’ Fred, and marm’s Joe, and mameLOUS folks, all around me, a-crying and a-hugging me; and I knowed platform speeches was going to be the order now.”
In this part of the story, Huck understands that he being alive gives hope to others. He also starts to see that many social rules are fake and not genuine. This shows how the story criticizes society for being hypocritical. It also highlights that how important is to have real connections, love and support from others. The ending of the novel is hopeful but it also shows in that world, where the characters live in, is complicated and full of challenges.
“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
“The harbor was very still and dark, and the moon, deep in the fronds of palm trees, did not cast any shadows on the water.”
The aforesaid line shows a calm acceptance of the current situation knowing all the hard times that have happened and finding peace in the quiet harbor. The moon seen through palm leaves symbolizes the nature quietly observing Santiago’s successful return. This part of the story brings comfort showing peace after a long tough journey. It is a good example of how Hemingway writes simply yet deeply, which makes the ending very touching and special. It also highlights the importance of being brave, strong and determined.
Foreshadowing is a literary device that is employed by the author to extend a hint at at the beginning of a story about. It gives indication that what will happen subsequently. It tells that how the story may end. It creates excitement and gets the reader ready for the ending. For example, the writer may show a character doing something early in the story, which reveals that what he can do in the most exciting part.
II- Falling Action
Falling action is the exciting part of the story, which leads to the final part and the resolution. It shows what happens right after the big conflict or problem in the story and its immediate impact. This part helps to wrap up the story and solve any remaining questions. An example is showing the main character handling the results of their decisions made during the climax.