“Every novel must tell a story,” it begins. “And there are three types of story, the story that ends happily, the story that ends unhappily, and the story that neither ends happily or unhappily, or, in other words, doesn’t really end at all.” (Lodge, 224)
In this point, Lodge explains that all stories either end happily, unhappily, or neither. Paradise of the blind fits into the description of the third category, it does not end at all, it merely opens the door to a new story. This new story involves hang going against her aunt Tam’s wishes and selling her belongings. Hang’s story does not reach a resolution because it is unclear what happens after she makes the decision to leave.
James himself pioneered the “open” ending characteristic of modern fiction, often stopping the novel in the middle of a conversation, leaving a phrase hanging resonantly, but ambiguously, in the air. (Lodge, 224)
This point also applies to the ending of Paradise of The Blind. The final paragraph of the novel lingered, it ended in “…” leaving the reader with something to ponder. The last statement was “I sat down, cupping my chin in my hands, and dreamed of different worlds, of the cool shade of a university auditorium, of a distant port where a plane could land and take off…” (Huong, 258) All the reader knows here is where she is going, the true ending of the novel remains ambiguous.
Perhaps we should distinguish between the end of a novel’s story – the resolutions or deliberate non-resolution of the narrative questions it has raised in the minds of it’s readers – and the last page or two of the text, which often acts as a kind of epilogue or postscript, a gently deceleration of the discourse as it draws to a halt. (Lodge, 224)
This idea becomes evident once the last chapter is reached. The novel’s story does not offer a resolution, but it does offer an epilogue in which we find out the plans hang has made for her future. It also shows the actions she has taken in order to commit to those plans.
– Rashele Alradaideh