The Ending of An Imperial Affliction
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
I understood the story ended because Anna died or got too sick to write and this midsentence thing was supposed to reflect how life really ends and whatever, but there were characters other than Anna in the story, and it seemed unfair that I would never find out what happened to them. (4.6)
Can you imagine reading a book that ends mid-sentence? What is this, The Sopranos? (Oops: retroactive spoiler alert.)
The frustration is even stronger for Hazel because Anna's story in An Imperial Affliction is kind of like Hazel's own story. And just like she's dying to know what happened to the other characters in Van Houten's story, Hazel is also dying to know what will happen to the characters in her story when she passes away.
In a way, her transatlantic search for the ending of An Imperial Affliction is motivated by her desire to know what will happen to her loved ones when she eventually dies. She wants to know that Anna's mom will be okay, just like she just wants to know that her own parents and loved ones will be okay.
And in the end, when she learns that her mother has been taking classes to become a Support Group leader, she's ecstatic. That's exactly the ending that she was hoping for—one in which her parents could keep living their lives. Especially after meeting Van Houten, she sure doesn't' want that to happen to her parents.
Uncertainty can be one of the toughest parts about sickness, and An Imperial Affection captures that perfectly.