Ending of Cujo

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I heard Stephen in an interview answer "Cujo," when asked (paraphrased), "Is there any book you'd think about changing the ending of?"

I have an idea of what Stephen might change about the ending, but I'm not sure how to talk about it without a huge spoiler.
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Bryan Shining

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Here is my basic idea of how Stephen might change the ending of Cujo, if he wanted to based on my previous reading (note: I don't necessarily think he should change anything about the book, but when he was asked the question, I guess he felt some answer was warranted):

I think he might allow Tad to live. It seems that Stephen favors children getting out alive in other books. I actually expect that Tad would do so and his mom would end up mauled by Cujo, or rabid and shot by police.
 

skimom2

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Here is my basic idea of how Stephen might change the ending of Cujo, if he wanted to based on my previous reading (note: I don't necessarily think he should change anything about the book, but when he was asked the question, I guess he felt some answer was warranted):

I think he might allow Tad to live. It seems that Stephen favors children getting out alive in other books. I actually expect that Tad would do so and his mom would end up mauled by Cujo, or rabid and shot by police.

He might mean that. And he would be wrong. The ending was wrenching and horrible, and absolutely likely. As a parent, I can't read that book anymore--it tears me up too much. But a writer of a story seated in the real physical world (even if it has fantastic elements) has to be true to what he's written earlier in the narrative and physical realities. I always admire the ones who don't 'truckle to fashion' (one of my favorite King phrases), even when it would be easy to do so.
 
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Doc Creed

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He might mean that. And he would be wrong. The ending was wrenching and horrible, and absolutely likely. As a parent, I can't read that book anymore--it tears me up too much. But a writer of a story seated in the real physical world (even if it has fantastic elements) has to be true to what he's written earlier in the narrative and physical realities. I always admire the ones who don't 'truckle for favor' (one of my favorite King phrases), even when it would be easy to do so.

100% in agreement.
 

Bryan Shining

Member
Jan 30, 2015
21
113
Cincinnati
He might mean that. And he would be wrong. The ending was wrenching and horrible, and absolutely likely. As a parent, I can't read that book anymore--it tears me up too much. But a writer of a story seated in the real physical world (even if it has fantastic elements) has to be true to what he's written earlier in the narrative and physical realities. I always admire the ones who don't 'truckle for favor' (one of my favorite King phrases), even when it would be easy to do so.
It would be interesting to know what was in King's mind when he named Cujo as the ending he might redo (again, I still don't think he would!). However, it seems that the ending it currently has is the most realistic, given the situation.

Of course, Stephen would never actually say what alternate ending he might have meant, and that's as it should be.
 

skimom2

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I have a thing about watching SK movies. I have seen a few (The Shining, Delores Claiborn, Misery), but I generally don't like to. And never before I read the book. :)

Do you remember what the ending was?
The mom killed the dog, found the kid limp in the car, splashed a little water on his face and he miraculously revived and everyone was happy slappy. Stupid ending.
 

muskrat

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Nov 8, 2010
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He might mean that. And he would be wrong. The ending was wrenching and horrible, and absolutely likely. As a parent, I can't read that book anymore--it tears me up too much. But a writer of a story seated in the real physical world (even if it has fantastic elements) has to be true to what he's written earlier in the narrative and physical realities. I always admire the ones who don't 'truckle to fashion' (one of my favorite King phrases), even when it would be easy to do so.

blueribbon-507x1024.jpg
 

Dynamo

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I'm a sucker for happy endings but the ending is probably the most interesting thing about Cujo in my opinion. Not that I dislike the book but it's also not one of my favorites. Without the ending I don't think I would like it though as the ending ties the whole thing together as a slow-motion trainwreck/tragedy. I can think of quite a few kids who died in King's novels that I don't think he has too much of a problem disposing of them. I almost always expect kids and dogs in his books to meet a terrible end. The main thing about it I'd change is the supernatural aspect. I don't remember exactly but the book does more than just imply that there's some sort of underlying evil causing this to take place doesn't it? The monster in the little boy's closet which may or may not be associated with Frank Dodd. I think a rabid Saint Bernard is a frightening enough antagonist that the boogeyman angle is unnecessary. It's a scary scenario because it's so real and doesn't need any help from the supernatural world.
 

Marty Coslaw

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100% in agreement.
Cujo is the 24th King book I've read (never re-read one), and of course, many of you guys in this thread have a lot more experience as Constant Readers. Cujo is also one of the earliest King books I've read, along with Night Shift, the Shining and Roadwork. I loved Night Shift and the Shining dearly, and liked Roadwork just okay. In the last month I've finished two others: Nightmares & Dreamscapes (loved it) and Different Seasons (liked it a lot). It would be fair to say that I like the King-style better than the Bachman, and that I'm a lot more familiar with his newer stuff. I know I'll be very much in the minority on my opinion here, but I'm hoping some loyal fan will give me an insight that will allow me to appreciate this book, whose story I thought I loved. I would compare Cujo, oddly enough, most closely with a very recent book, The Outsider. Anyone else read Cujo since reading the Outsider? Also, the opposite of Laurie, or even Elevation. Anyway, here goes, feel free to stop reading if you love this book.

I really, really hope I am missing something, but I have to adamantly disagree with that sentiment about the ending. First off, the ending of the book is not tragic--it's far, far from that--and the ending of the movie is not hollywood fluff. Let me qualify that--[ISPOILER]I'm super glad the kid dies. And it's so clearly not the mother's fault. Are we supposed to think it's some kind of infidelity karma? [/ISPOILER]. I mean, really. Did you actually like any of the characters in this book? If this were a Tales from the Crypt episode, everyone would end up getting killed or suffering some horrible fate and the nerdy old librarian would go on reading books as the credits played. They weren't tragically flawed, they were just bad people. And there was no lesson behind it--just, sometimes bad things happen, sometimes you win the lottery. Cujo, to me, came off as cheap torture porn:[ISPOILER] okay (wringing hands) here's a little redneck family trouble for ya, oooh and here's a cheating wife with an inferiority complex, oh and a dog gets bitten by a bat and there was a serial killer...back to the family cheating drama! ...and here's a pervert whose poor planning makes it a guarantee he'll be arrested before the end of the book!...and the dog rips out someones guts and gets his head smashed with a baseball bat....ooh and the pervert jerks off on the bed but still has an erection! (sure he does, thanks for that detail)...and the dog gets his head caved in and his ear is falling off...and....are you ready.....the kid is DEAD!!! [/ISPOILER]
I know for sure I'm missing whatever context we're supposed to get out of the William Wolfe SLA reference. And after that experience I really don't care. Death to Donna Trenton.
 
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Sweet One

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Cujo is the 24th King book I've read (never re-read one), and of course, many of you guys in this thread have a lot more experience as Constant Readers. Cujo is also one of the earliest King books I've read, along with Night Shift, the Shining and Roadwork. I loved Night Shift and the Shining dearly, and liked Roadwork just okay. In the last month I've finished two others: Nightmares & Dreamscapes (loved it) and Different Seasons (liked it a lot). It would be fair to say that I like the King-style better than the Bachman, and that I'm a lot more familiar with his newer stuff. I know I'll be very much in the minority on my opinion here, but I'm hoping some loyal fan will give me an insight that will allow me to appreciate this book, whose story I thought I loved. I would compare Cujo, oddly enough, most closely with a very recent book, The Outsider. Anyone else read Cujo since reading the Outsider? Also, the opposite of Laurie, or even Elevation. Anyway, here goes, feel free to stop reading if you love this book.

I really, really hope I am missing something, but I have to adamantly disagree with that sentiment about the ending. First off, the ending of the book is not tragic--it's far, far from that--and the ending of the movie is not hollywood fluff. Let me qualify that--[ISPOILER]I'm super glad the kid dies. And it's so clearly not the mother's fault. Are we supposed to think it's some kind of infidelity karma? [/ISPOILER]. I mean, really. Did you actually like any of the characters in this book? If this were a Tales from the Crypt episode, everyone would end up getting killed or suffering some horrible fate and the nerdy old librarian would go on reading books as the credits played. They weren't tragically flawed, they were just bad people. And there was no lesson behind it--just, sometimes bad things happen, sometimes you win the lottery. Cujo, to me, came off as cheap torture porn:[ISPOILER] okay (wringing hands) here's a little redneck family trouble for ya, oooh and here's a cheating wife with an inferiority complex, oh and a dog gets bitten by a bat and there was a serial killer...back to the family cheating drama! ...and here's a pervert whose poor planning makes it a guarantee he'll be arrested before the end of the book!...and the dog rips out someones guts and gets his head smashed with a baseball bat....ooh and the pervert jerks off on the bed but still has an erection! (sure he does, thanks for that detail)...and the dog gets his head caved in and his ear is falling off...and....are you ready.....the kid is DEAD!!! [/ISPOILER]
I know for sure I'm missing whatever context we're supposed to get out of the William Wolfe SLA reference. And after that experience I really don't care. Death to Donna Trenton.

If you wanted the kid to die because you hated the kid, or hated Donna, or anyone, then you're not reading the story as King intended. It supposed to be terribly heartbreaking when Tad dies. That's the point. If it doesn't make you sad, what up with that?

And why do you hate Theodore, by the way?
 

Marty Coslaw

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May 19, 2018
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If you wanted the kid to die because you hated the kid, or hated Donna, or anyone, then you're not reading the story as King intended. It supposed to be terribly heartbreaking when Tad dies. That's the point. If it doesn't make you sad, what up with that?

And why do you hate Theodore, by the way?
I didn't want Tad to die in the story, but I would still say I was glad when he did. I can see how that might look like a dubious distinction. But it was because I resented so many plot elements leading up to that point like the masturbation scene (not because I'm horrified by vulgarity, just because like so many others it seemed gratuitous and illogical).

Most of all I resented the perfunctory treatment of the dog, which I just don't believe is anywhere near as robust or empathetic as a reader who enjoyed the book might. My reading is confirmed, not contradicted, by the author's compulsive need to remind us that "he was a good dog." Cujo's death is probably the best example of illogically, unnecessarily gruesome violence. I've read and watched a lot monster confrontations, and for me, this one does not work. I object for many reasons, but in literary terms, it destroyed any semblance of suspension of disbelief.

I find the implication of how the lottery winnings affect the Cambers as disturbing as the fate of Donna, who seems to suffer in what seems almost like penitence for her sin. Whether any moralistic themes were meant to be read into the story, certainly the juxtaposition of Donna and Tad's fate with Charity and her son's is disconcerting, if not nihilistic. Apparently some critics disapproved of the ending, and I can understand why. It felt like tragedy for tragedy's sake, and that's why I say I wish Cujo had gotten them both--the story would have been just as baffling and pointless, and I would have felt like there was some sense of justice in it that didn't make my skin crawl.
 
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Marty Coslaw

Low-BDNF Gork
May 19, 2018
177
720
34
DC
Here is my basic idea of how Stephen might change the ending of Cujo, if he wanted to based on my previous reading (note: I don't necessarily think he should change anything about the book, but when he was asked the question, I guess he felt some answer was warranted):

I think he might allow Tad to live. It seems that Stephen favors children getting out alive in other books. I actually expect that Tad would do so and his mom would end up mauled by Cujo, or rabid and shot by police.
I love the latter suggestion. That's a great ending.
 

Thay

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Oct 1, 2019
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Je pense que la fin dans ce livre est bien ficelée même si ça peut paraître extrême, SK aime nous choquer et nous horrifier


I think that the end in this book is well put even if it seems extreme, SK likes to shock us and horrify us
 
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