The Last Page
There is nothing worse than arriving at the final page of a novel and getting sucker punched. You know the feeling–the dust and ashes flavor of having a writer destroy and demoralize a perfectly good novel with a horrible ending. I refer not to writing in itself that is bad, but creating an ending which yanks hope from the reader by killing everyone off, or having the hero fail, and the kingdom fall.
Superman dies, Gollum doesn’t save Frodo, the whole world is flooded, and even the ark sinks.
Not a pleasant prospect, even if it does reflect some aspects of reality. However, I don’t read books for the realism. I read books to escape. If I discover a “gloom-and-doom” author who specializes in dark, depressing, and hopeless, I never read them again. Most of the time I can tell within the first few pages and I put the book down or delete it from my Kindle. What galls me is the author who captivates a reader with great writing, then destroys everything at the end.
Don’t get me wrong. I love action/adventure and tense thrillers. What I despise are the types of books that portray life as completely cruel and hopeless. Yes, there is cruelty in life and hopelessness, but I do not believe that life is completely hopeless. The good guys do win ultimately and acts of bravery and kindness supersede horrible circumstances.
Books influence culture; therefore, it is imperative that writers be responsible for the types of worlds they create. If we want people to be heroes, we need to portray heroes as overcomers. If we want people to succeed, we need to offer role models who refuse to quit when obstacles are thrown in their path.
Maybe the reason our current culture despises heroes is because heroism is the last remnant of a secular culture with ties to Christianity. If we no longer believe in heroes, then we no longer have to believe in any kind of faith. The light gives way to darkness and baser instincts become law.
Yet even in the blackest night the stars still shine. The smallest spark of light obliterates darkness. Ultimately, heroes still exist. Faith still wins. Good prevails. My Redeemer lives and on the earth will stand again.
In the end, I find myself feeling sorry for those writers who’ve lost their faith and turned their back on the light, who live in darkness of any kind and don’t know the joy and strength of a hero who can overcome all odds.
Like Naruto, no matter the circumstances, no matter how bleak or terrible or painful life becomes, I will continue to believe in heroes, I will hold fast to that which is good.