One of the main messages that the author, Margaret Atwood, is trying to send, is that every story ultimately ends the same way, with death. John and Mary go through a variety of different versions of their relationship together, but ultimately, they all end the same exact way. This piece is very experimental in that it tries out different plot lines, with the same beginning and ending but different "middles." It also sends the message that a fictional story is just a telling of events that an author made up. It is a hard thing to write a work that is realistic and authentic, and Atwood explains at the end that the ending of a relationship is not achieving marital bliss or love, but the couple's death. She writes, "The only authentic ending is the one provided here, ‘John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.’ "