Study Guide

In The Woods What's Up With the Ending?

By Tana French

What's Up With the Ending?

Out of the Woods

Rob is so comically bad at his job, we'd classify In the Woods as a comedy if it weren't so darn tragic. Rob loses everything in the end: his job, his partner, his friend (they're the same person), and some of his memories.

Cassie manages to snag Rosalind, but because Rob never verified Rosalind's age (she's actually seventeen) her confession is inadmissible. This is one of Rob's many screw-ups that get him demoted. And because he turns against Cassie after sleeping with her, Cassie stops being friends with him. She also transfers to a different unit, and it's unlikely they'll ever see each other again.

In the novel's final scene, Rob revisits the woods one last time before the bulldozers take it down. He talks to a construction worker who gives him an arrowhead (check the "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" page for more on this). Rob jokingly asks, one last time, if the construction worker found any dead bodies—it's one last attempt to solve Jamie and Peter's disappearance.

But it'll never be solved. Here's the novels last line: "I watched for a long time, until my mobile began vibrating insistently in my pocket and the rain started to come down more heavily, and then I put out my cigarette and buttoned my coat and headed back to the car" (25.149). 

We're not sure who's calling, but what we do know is that Rob is finally accepting what happened to him and walking away. He's putting his past, and the woods, behind him.