Study Guide

Cutting for Stone What's Up With the Ending?

By Abraham Verghese

What's Up With the Ending?

The very last scene in the novel has Marion, now a middle-aged man, calling up his father, Dr. Thomas Stone. Marion is in Ethiopia, and Stone in Boston. Marion has finally found the mysterious missing letter written by Sister Mary Joseph Praise the day before he was born, and he wants to tell Stone. The last line reads: "'Stone here,' he said, his voice sounding so very close, as if he were there with me, as if nothing at all separated our two worlds.'" (4.55.13). So what's up with that?

The phone call crosses the Atlantic, from one continent to another, and also crosses generations, from son to father. The miracle of the telephone might be the only thing making Stone's voice sound "so very close," but we think it's more that the two men have finally, after many years of being estranged, come together. Sister Mary Joseph Praise's love for and forgiveness of Stone allow Marion to forgive him as well. There's no more anger and hate between their hearts.