The “Happy Ever After” Question

         With the slain dragon laying motionless in the distance, the beautiful princess gracefully leaps onto the back of the prince’s faithful steed. She places her hands on his hips and leans in to give him a very thankful kiss. They share this beautiful moment, then they ride off into the sunset, and they live happily ever after.

         It is a beautiful ending; one most boys and girls strive for as they pretend in the back yard. But as we move through life, as we grow up we lose this hope of a “happily ever after” and begin to see a more “realistic” ending. A happy ending is something we do not see very often in life, or perhaps we just do not notice them, but nonetheless, they seem absent. We can see this clearly in the stories we tell. In George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, the ending is left up in the air; and the audience never finds out what happens to Eliza and Henry’s injured relationship; we are not given a “happily ever after.” Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard’s 1938 film adaptation leaves us much the same way but with a little more possibility of reconciliation. In George Cukor’s 1964 film My Fair Lady, the musical adaptation of Pygmalion, the ending is even happier; the audience is left almost certain of reconciliation.

         This just goes to show how much we as people strive for a happy ending, we will even change stories to have them. The underlying fact is that we are not certain of a happy ending in our own lives, so we at least want them in the stories we tell. The happy ending is a beautiful thing, sure it may not be “realistic”; but I think that, if we stand back and look at the big picture and have a little faith, we will see life’s happy endings. Then we will see the opportunities for happy endings in our own lives.

Justin Wylie

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