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The Hour of the Star
The Hour of the Star
by Clarice Lispector

What’s Up With the Ending?

The book ends with a very short two-paragraph chapter. Rodrigo S.M., the narrator, now done with his story, lights a cigarette and goes home. A bit surprised, he recalls that people die (this, after the tragic death of his heroine), and that this includes him. He reminds us that this is the season for strawberries. And the last sentence of the book returns us to the very first sentence: "Yes" (8.463). The cycle is over. The very first sentence reads "Everything in the world began with a yes" (1.1); apparently, everything ends with a "yes," too.

Okay, so this is weird. We just finished a dramatic, drawn out, many paragraph scene of Macabéa's death, and now just get a matter-of-fact and abrupt dismissal, like, "Thanks for reading! See ya next time!"

But you know what? That's what happens. People die every day, and yet every day we go on living as though we're immortal. That's why Rodrigo is so surprised to remember that he, too, is going to die—because no one lives as though death could be just around the corner in the form of a big yellow Mercedes. How could you live that way?

Instead, despite the horror and despair all around you, you have to live with affirmations—at least, that's how we think you should read the end, although obviously there are other possibilities. It's even strawberry season, late spring or early summer, the moment when the world is giving forth its harvest. And strawberries, if you've ever had a perfectly ripe one in a good year for strawberries—are basically the gustatory equivalent of a resounding "yes!"

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