Sunday, July 24, 2011

Closure

Closure means something that was opened, investigated, looked into, discovered, has been brought to some kind of a moment of understanding.  The understanding may reflect frustration as in, this is all we can expect to know at this time.  The understanding may reflect a sense of finality:  Well, that's it, he's really done it this time, in spite of all our warnings.

The moment someone in the story says no, it isn't over, it's still closure, but it is also the opening of a new story, with a different perspective and/or point of view.

It is perhaps a holdover from the old days of The Unities, which said that among other things, a story should take place in real time, and that when a thing was over, it was probably because in those days, when a thing was over, everyone was dead.  Shakespeare went against grain in Hamlet, leaving two characters alive at the very end.  But in a sense, wasn't he giving a nod to the Chorus by allowing Fortinbras and Horatio to tidy things up after the rest of the cast had been pretty well worked over.

Closure has to be manipulated to give the sense that some if not all the characters are willing to pick up such pieces as were dropped, then get on with things, leaving it to the audience/reader to take the final hit, the realization that things are not as over as they seem, perhaps even guessing an epiphany or some lesser form of realization will come to one or more characters.

Even "And they all lived happily ever after" isn't the closure trope it once was, our suspicions and cynicism as readers creeping into the most romantic of experiences, the most closed of closures.

We read fiction to see things of chaos put away in some kind of satisfactory order.  You like to speak of closure as negotiated settlements, which means a communal sense that we might not have gotten as much as we'd wanted, but no one in the ensemble cast got away with a steal.

We call some closures poetic justice, by which we mean someone least deserving was going to walk away with a huge coup, only to have a last-minute pigeon fly over that character's head and let loose with some conveniently released poetic justice.  We want the Universe to be friendly, even though we realize is is more often neutral, on some occasion a tad spiteful.  We want the Universe to care, thus we go about in it on quests for visions that will bring us guides, mystical operating instructions that show us where to look, how to concoct the magical elixir.

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