Denouement

Ardavan Ehteshami

Denouement: Every plot has a conclusion and majority of the time it entails with a result. The result and/or outcome of a plot is considered to be the denouement. Other words such as “final clarification, solution, and end” (Dictionary.com) are all incorporated in the meaning of the term denouement.

Example: The novel In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje portrays multiple uses of denouement. This book is separated into multiple parts with each specific section considered as its own mini-novel. There are three books within this novel that have either a minor or major relation with the plot; therefore it can be treated as chapters within a book.

An example of denouement can be found in Book Two, Remorse.  In this section of the novel, the protagonist Patrick is expressing his anger and remorse through violence. This example creates a climax within the novel that follows with a denouement. The conclusion of the scene begins with the narrator stating, “As he made his way to the rowboat, he checked the explosive hidden under the dock. Everyone on the blue evening lawn looked at the flames, dumbfounded… Some men saw him unhook the boat and pointed. Patrick stood in the boat and waved” (168). This example portrays a denouement, because a series of events lead up to a climax (Patrick sets fire to the hotel), and is followed by a calming result (Patrick in a boat waving).

One of the best examples of denouement is located near the end of the novel. Patrick is carrying out his motives by planting explosives at the filtration plant. The series of events following the ordeal causes a climax. When a climax is present in a plot, a denouement usually follows. On page 242, we find out that Patrick has paid a visit to Harris while the explosives are actively planted. Patrick falls asleep in Harris’s office and the denouement is then present when the authorities arrive. The result of the authorities arriving serves as the conclusion to the series of events, “He pointed to the man on the bed. – Take that blasting-box and defuse it. Let him sleep on. Don’t talk. Just take it away. Bring a nurse with some medical supplies here, he’s hurt himself” (242). Furthermore, the last page of the book reveals the final outcome of the novel. Patrick is situated in the passenger seat helping Hana drive the car to Marmora. Michael Ondaatje ends the book with the line, “lights, he said” (244). This quote can be expressed in many ways, but the last page is really showing the freedom Patrick has acquired. As a reader one can state that Patrick is a new character moving forward while leaving the past behind.

Work Cited

“Denouement.” Dictionary.com. Web. 01 Feb. 2011.

Flanagan, Mark. “Denouement.” About.com Contemporary Literature. Web. 31 Jan. 2011.

Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of a Lion. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1996. Print.

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