Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Responding to an Open Ending

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We talked a lot today about the open ending of Push. It made me think of a conversation we had in my Introduction to Hinduism class on Tuesday. We just finished reading a novel called Samskara, which has a surprisingly open ending. Throughout the whole book, there is one primary conflict that binds all the separate events together. However, the novel ends abruptly, before this conflict is ever even remotely solved, and there are a ton of loose ends. Because of this, I didn’t really see Push as open ended at all. Just because a novel leaves a lot for the imagination doesn’t mean that it is incomplete. 

I’d also like to compare the open-endedness of Push to the way that The Street was also left open. In The Street, Lutie kills a man, abandons her son who will probably be thrown in juvenile detention for a crime he didn’t know he was committing, and she runs away to Chicago to try and start over. In Push, Precious has escaped her parents, is living in a place where she will be taken care of until she can support herself, and has people to help take care of her son while she goes to school so she can get her GED. I feel like either of these situations could end well, or end badly. It is the tone of the novel that causes us to sway one way or the other. The Street was progressively negative, it seemed that every corner Lutie took she fell deeper and deeper into the poverty that was holding her back. However, in Push Precious starts out in a bad situation, she’s illiterate, is being raped by her father and molested and beaten by her mother, and nobody at school seems to care. But when she begins attending the alternative school, things start to look up, she has a positive attitude about everything and eventually ends up away from those who have been hurting her and she is determined to make her life better. The Negativity in Lutie’s life causes us to think it will be the same situation, different city once she arrives in Chicago. It is the drive that Precious has and the new people that she has met and that are helping her that cause us to think that things may turn out well for Precious in the long run.

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One thought on “Responding to an Open Ending

  1. Thank you for letting me see The Street and Precious as similar but yet different. You’re right, both narratives seem to technically descend into darker circumstances – but in Precious’ case, she is finding a family for herself and developing her literary skills. Although we know things don’t go well for Precious, we as readers are still left with something if not hopeful, at least something almost tangibly wonderful about human connections and creative ability.

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