In the end what really happens?

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At the end of "The Birds," Daphne du Maurier  fails to present her readers with a true resolution to the problem of the murderous aviaries.  Instead, she allows the reader to draw his own conclusion; the Hocken family simply does its best to end a day in a fashion comparable to what would have been the norm before the birds began their attacks.  Although Nat and his wife do discuss the possibility of American intervening, they simply attempt to feed their children, Johnny and Jill, a supper of soup and bread (scavenged from the home of their deceased neighbors) and put them to bed.

...The cottage was filled with stores, with fuel, with all they needed for the next few days.  When he had finished dinner he would put the stuff away, stack it neatly, get everything shipshape, handy-like.  His wife could help him, and the children too.  They'd tire themselves out, between now and a quarter to nine, when the tide would ebb; then he'd tuck them down on their mattresses, see that they slept good and sound until three in the morning.

As the head of the household, Nat Hocken remains steadfast and calm.  He formulates a new plan for protection against the birds even as he goes about his nightly routine.  In the last paragraph of the story, Nat merely throws an empty cigarette pack into the fire, which may be seen as symbolic (emptiness equals hopelessness and/or death, burning equals end, etc.).

 

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