Normally I would post fun and witty clips from either the Muppets or Monty Python, but today I decided to get away from it. Again. In all fairness last week was rather a big holiday, while today there really is no such reason beyond the desire to do something different and so I wanted to have a little chat about epilogues. While it’s true not over many works, certainly not the majority of those published, contain an epilogue it still begs the question of what purpose they might have. This is not to intend anything more than the very nature of a book and the subsequent understanding that an epilogue is supposed to be the “after story”.
When I was younger these things held great appeal to me; I was enamored with the happily ever after and the want of knowing in great, finite detail how far reaching that happiness was. In the interest of being completely and brutally honest I should say I wanted schmaltz no matter how ridiculous or absurd. Saccharin in books was my drug of choice and fulfilled fantasies I probably even now don’t even want to completely own up to having. As my tastes have become more sophisticated, my nature more skeptical and, at times, cynical, I find the epilogue to mostly be an insult to all avenues of intelligence I value within myself.
As an author I look at epilogues and think if the information were necessary and vital to the story then it would have been contained within the story – not laid out as an afterthought bent on having a bleeding heart pour itself upon the concrete steps of my home – and begin to wonder what on earth the editor is thinking in letting them be published. I understand that there truly is no hard and fast rule in the arts (if there were surely it wouldn’t be called art but coloring/writing/painting by numbers) but is there ever a reason for an epilogue? Have you read one that furthered the forward movement of the story? Please share.