SSHS English 9 Discussion questionsWhy might Stockton have left the ending of this story ambiguous--was he trying to make a particular point or create a particular effect? Explain whether you think...

SSHS English 9 Discussion questions

Why might Stockton have left the ending of this story ambiguous--was he trying to make a particular point or create a particular effect? Explain whether you think the ambiguous ending makes the story memorable.

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

That's all well and good , ask996--until he has to face an enraged, semi-barbaric, former-lover princess.  Wouldn't want to face that!  This story was originally published in a kind of magazine or newspaper form, and the public outcry was phenomenal.  Everyone wanted to know which was the "right" answer, and Stockton gave a simple answer:  I'll make people unhappy whichever side I might choose, so I choose neither.  He claimed he really had no idea, and that is, perhaps, believable.  If he had chosen any other women, the answer would have been the lady.  Given the history between them, though, the answer is anything but clear--and he liked it that way.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

You guys really think the ending’s ambiguous? I thought Stockton made it very clear:D LOL My favorite theory goes like this. The lady knew who the girl was. She knew what door the girl was behind. She hated the girl because she’d seen her lover and the girl flirting. So when she indicated what door her lover should choose it was the one behind which the tiger was located. After all she did have a barbaric nature. However, her lover knew her nature. He would know she would find out. He would know that she would not want him to be with another woman. He would know that she would send him to the door with the tiger, so, knowing her nature he chose the door opposite the one to which she directed him, and thus he ended up with the beautiful girl anyway.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I don't suppose we can know exactly why the author ended the story by not resolving the dramatic tension and providing a conclusion. One thing we do know, however, is that it is the ambiguous ending that has made this story very memorable and much discussed. It is the ending that has made this story so well known. Readers supply their own endings, based upon their interpretation of the context clues and their personal beliefs about human nature.

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