Why is the story called ''Happy Endings''?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Margaret Atwood's story "Happy Endings" is titled as such to make an ironic statement on the nature of conventional marriage.  In the story, John and Mary get married, and after the initial introduction, there are several choices of how their marriage may have turned out based on cause-and-effect situations.  Some of the endings are stereotypically "happy" yet the characters do not seem particularly happy, while others end up a bit more disastrous.  Atwood uses the nonstandard structure of the story to make a statement about the nature of relationships.  No one knows what time and fate are going to bring, and the strength of a couple lies in their ability to manage whatever might come their way.  Starting off by simply looking for a "happy ending" trivializes the marriage, and is destined to lead to a most "unhappy" ending.

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Happy Endings

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