Analyse The Ending Ambiguous And The Essay
Towards the end of the novel as Vernon faces the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit, he has an outer body experience.
The ending is indefinite as the reader is left questioning whether Vernon is alive or dead. The uncertainty of Vernon’s fate is worth exploring.From chapter twenty-six onwards, a chain of events alter Vernon’s fate, leading to the culmination that he doesn’t die. The lead up to the ending creates a sense of anxiety for the reader for the outcome of Vernon.
‘Little – your pardon came through’ suggests that Vernon has been proven innocent just as the anaesthesia of execution comes over him. This creates uncertainty for the reader as to whether Vernon really is a ‘free man’ again, because just when it seemed definite what would happen, the plot transformed into what ostensibly appears to be a happy ending. Vernon’s ‘vision dissolves’ which creates imagery of Vernon slowly slipping away, the world ‘dissolves’ suggesting that Vernon’s senses are fading. However, Vernon finds himself ‘still alive’ which signifies his struggle and determination to stay alive and fight his cause.
After this, the resulting chapters subject the reader to a course of dramatic visualisation which explores Vernon’s outer body experience, suggesting he did die. A stream of consciousness makes the scene more visual to the reader because Vernon’s interior monologue is written as fast as it comes. ‘I feel myself slipping away’ suggests that Vernon is dying. Pierre’s use of present tense makes the reader more involved as if we were there. ‘I’m transported, clear as day, back home’ shows the use of prolepsis – in which Pierre jumps the narrative forward to represent events which Vernon imagines will happen in the future. Act 5 is named ‘Me ves y sufres’, meaning ‘you see me and suffer’ which suggests Vernon brings pain and suffering everywhere he goes, with connotations that he should cease to exist so other’s can be happy.
Pierre links this to Vernon’s own thoughts. We were introduced to Vernon’s ‘art project’ earlier but it seemed insignificant, until ‘I take off my shirt’, where we learn of its implication in that he died with these words engraved into him, further reinforcing the idea that he should cease to exist and that causing suffering is an integral part of him.The first person narrative perspective breathes life into the novel, and in Pierre adopting the voice of Vernon, we are submerged immediately into his world. Vernon thinks he can ‘do it when I get back’, which suggests nothing is ever complete with Vernon, This portrays a metaphorical reference to heaven because he feels he can complete trivial things such as locking the door in his afterlife, showing he believes he can resolve things later. An analogy of ‘metal balls’ in which Vernon likens his life to having a chosen destiny, and how every action has a ‘cause-and-effect-‘, implies death for Vernon as being inevitable. ‘The one’s I gave my clacker-balls too’ metaphorically suggests that Vernon gave his fate away in dying.
Pierre uses pathetic fallacy to reflect the mood of the day, ‘It seems gray and cool out’. ‘Gray’ connotes a dark, hazy, and foreboding prospect. ‘Cool’ shows how Vernon is calm because he believes his ending is beyond his control. Pierre’s use of asyndeton creates a feeling of urgency. Pierre constructs sentences without conjunctions, where the clauses run into each other. ‘Bless the motherfucker to hell.
Bless his bones smashed…bless his mouth.
.. ’ which shows the urgency of Vernon and how his thoughts are running away with him.Pierre makes references to Vernon making himself cry to seem innocent.
‘You want toothpaste, or you think you can make it on your own?’. This suggests Vernon needed to make himself seem like the victim, which symbolises his struggle to prove himself innocent even in his dying moment. Vernon’s ‘last meal’ is ironic – Pierre portrays him as being complacent with ‘Chik’n’Mix’, which shows Pierre’s use of structure to make the reader reminisce to the beginning of the novel, where Vernon was condemned guilty from the start. ‘Now I’m the fucken meat’ shows how Vaine picked him apart as if he was food, and the execution shows Vaine got what she wanted. Pierre makes us sympathise with Vernon.
‘I am so afraid of dying’ shows how Pierre uses song lyrics to echo Vernon’s fears. Pierre uses a simile to liken Vernon to an animation. ‘Like the hole left after a cartoon character crashes through the wall’ connotes imagery of childhood and innocent times, unlike Vernon’s situation. It’s also ironic because the cartoon character always survives, whereas Vernon may not.Pierre deliberately portrays the vagueness of Vernon’s fate for many reasons. Since the novel is written in the first person narrative, the narrator is unreliable and possibly dishonest because we read only what Vernon tells us.
Everything we’ve been told before is not necessarily true and so there is no evidence to prove that his ending, whether it be dying or surviving, is true. Life for Vernon is confusing all along, ‘what kind of fucken life is this?’, and the uncertainty of the ending is a continuation of this – Vernon seems to muddle his way through life. We have warmed to Vernon throughout because we see what he feels, and since he feels everyone is against him, we sympathise with him, and become compassionate of his situation. This means we would want to believe that he doesn’t die, and in leaving his fate ambiguous, it allows us as a reader to do so. A sudden happy ending would be unrealistic in the context of this novel, despite the element of perverse humour Pierre uses. The entire story is reflects a mire of corruption; from the corrupt justice system, his warped relationships, his fate, and oppressive Martirio.
Pierre’s dystopian vision of the American dream, in Vernon’s eyes, means that for Vernon to survive it simply wouldn’t fit, and leaving his fate vague pleases this along with the feelings of the reader. His receiving the ultimate punishment for a crime he didn’t commit, ironically reinforces the corruption.Pierre has created an ambiguous ending so we can choose Vernon’s own fate. If Vernon dies, he’s a martyr, and if he survives, the hero has won.
I personally believe that Vernon died because I think a happy ending would be too sudden, and in him dying it completes the narrative instead of simply ending it. I empathize with Vernon and think dying would be an option for him to escape his misery and the corruption enveloping.