Graham Swift creates a vivid description of many generations in a bleak, desolate location known as the fens in his novel Waterland. His character of Dick Crick plays an enormous role throughout the novel, but Swift ends his novel with Dick drunkenly diving overboard into the water so vital to the rest of the novel.
Toni Morrison creates an almost mythical story in a vivid time period and location in her novel Song of Solomon. Her character Milkman goes on a quest of discovery, uncovering many unknown truths about himself and about his own family, and she ends with him leaping from a cliff and into the air, becoming part of the legend that his family is based upon.
Waterland's ending can be easily seen as a suicide as Swift leaves no other option open to Dick's character. Prior to the suicide dive, Tom Crick confronts Dick with two major shocks to his life. One that his father is also his grandfather, and that Tom is the father of the baby Dick assumed was his. Swift has Tom stating that Dick, "Wants releasing"(Swift 318), as if Dick sees no logical conclusion besides his death. Dick, Swift also writes, has had his experience congealed around him into imprisoning solidity. There is no way out for this poor character, and so Swift ends the one way that he can, with Dick's suicide. Dick is a `potato head' and there is literally no other life available to him eve...
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...is family, and while at first he simply assumes that they are folklore, his gradually accepts the fact that perhaps his ancestors could fly, and perhaps he himself can fly, rejecting any thoughts of suicide or revenge in his mind.
These authors create exits for characters, which flow seamlessly with the preceding storylines. The concluding scenes of these novels, while similar in the suicide theme are worlds apart when viewed through direct evidence of the characters actual feelings and past. It is interesting to note that both are basically suicides, but one becomes a clear suicide while the other becomes a liberating jump into family heritage. By using evidence written in specifically for the readers, both of these authors make it very clear how their endings should be understood, so that finally all ends well, understood.
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