The French Lieutenant's Woman

The Conclusions of The French Lieutanant’s Woman and the Author’s Clear Preference College

In general, we as humans like a sense of closure in regards to literature; ambiguous endings are usually seen as an easy way out of a novel. However, in John Fowles’s novel The French Liutenant’s Woman, ambiguity does not stem from a lack of an ending, but rather two endings for the same plot. At first, it would appear that Fowles simply could not make up his mind and decide on one ending, and the simplest solution seemed to be to add yet another. Upon further examination, though, one cannot help but ask why he would, seemingly out of nowhere, tack on another ending when the first is perfectly adequate and would have been more than enough to satisfy a reader. It is clear, though, that Fowles obviously does not approve of this overly cliché and stereotypical Victorian ending to his novel, and therefore feels the need to add a second outcome to the lives of Charles Smithson and Sarah Woodruff, the “French Lieutenant’s…Woman” (9). This somewhat needlessly inserted ending poses a question to the reader: does Fowles truly believe in the possibility of his first ending? If he does, then what is the point of adding the second? Quite simply, because of the insertion of the second ending as a complete juxtaposition to the first makes it...

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