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indexBoth “It’s Bad Luck to Die” and “Sweethearts” are conclusion-heavy stories. As I kid I grew up reading a lot of love stories and know that the ending is often where the reader gains the most comfort and closure. These stories are no different. Though both are tragic and do not have a “happily ever after” ending, they do bring about a sense of peace in the final lines. It is also worth noting that both stories end with the repetition of the final line.

“Sweethearts” has three pages of the eighteen-page story devoted to the resolution. It begins with Russ and Arlene thinking back on the fate of Bobby and the conflicts he brought upon them. The passage begins to feel almost omniscient as Russ distances himself from the actual action of the story and instead shares life advice in the grand perspective of things. As it trails into Arlene saying, “We don’t know where any of this is going, do we,” the story starts to wind down. “I knew what love was about,” Russ says, “It was about not giving trouble or inviting it. It was about not leaving a woman for the thought of another one. It was about never being in that place you said you’d never be in. And it was not about being alone. Never that. Never that (68).”

The ending in “It’s Bad Luck to Die” starts on page nineteen of the twenty-two-page story. The climax is still going strong, though the narrator has distanced herself from the events. Instead of telling the story as if it were happening, Lois adds her perspective as if she’s evaluating the events in the context of her life in general. “Do you feel finished?” Tiny asks her. “Yes,” she responds, going on to think about how her life will change without him in it (21). “I am not a museum, not yet, I’m a love letter. A love letter (22).” The stifling silence this last line creates gives the reader something to remember.

Both stories leave the listener with a demanding ending that, because of the repetition, forces the reader to remember the message.

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