Guide to Literary Terms

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What is closure in a story?

Closure in a story is the resolution at the end of a literary work that conveys a sense of completion.

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Last Updated May 26, 2023.

Closure refers to the sense of completion or resolution that readers experience at the end of a story or a particular narrative arc. It involves tying up loose ends, answering lingering questions, and providing a satisfying conclusion to the narrative. Closure can bring the reader a sense of fulfillment, emotional satisfaction, or catharsis, allowing them to feel that the story has reached a natural and meaningful endpoint.

To Kill a Mockingbird demonstrates closure with the following passage:

Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. 'Your father's right,' she said. 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

This quote serves as a symbolic closure in the novel, symbolizing the innocence and purity of certain characters, such as Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. It emphasizes the idea that causing harm to innocent beings is a sin. The mention of the mockingbird early in the story comes full circle in the end, reinforcing the theme of empathy and understanding, providing a sense of closure and resolution to the moral messages of the narrative.

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