What do you think Cormier's purpose is, other than not giving us a happy ending? Couldn't he at least have given some hope that Jerry felt his struggle was worth it in some way?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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To me, this novel feels like an honest-to-goodness tragedy. It's a tragedy because the protagonist's strength leads to his defeat and to the lesson that most tragedies lead to - one person cannot stand up against the power of nature/god/society. 

The ending has to be dark because the message is dark. When you step out on your own against the group, bad things could happen. 

We've got plenty of books where the individual is rewarded for his/her integrity and nothing bad happens. Fahrenheit 451 and Huck Finn come to mind...

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