Your thoughts about the end? *SPOILERS*

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Jul 24, 2014
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#1
I don't know why I was thinking this way but my feeling through the entire book was that the best way to end it would be with Garraty getting a ticket near the end of the race. The only reason I can think of is that it would have completed the cycle of going from a strong physical a mental specimen at the beginning of the race to competently broken down (both mentally and physically) thus completing the cycle that 99 boys go through from a first person point of view. I imagined Garraty just falling down exhausted and unable and or unwilling to go on with his last sight being the flag flapping over the half track as the solider shot him. Did anyone else imagine the book ending this way?
 

do1you9love?

Happy to be here!
Feb 18, 2012
7,621
55,308
Virginia
#7
The only other Steven King Book I have read is the Novella " The Body". I really did like the ending of that one. It was also more clear cut what happened at the end.
The Body is another good one, but you are right, very clear ending. If you stick with SK, you will find that many of his stories have a very ambiguous ending, to say the least. I, for one, enjoy those for making me think about what could/will be for a while after I have finished reading.

Enjoy the boards, and happy reading!
 
Jul 24, 2014
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#8
The Body is another good one, but you are right, very clear ending. If you stick with SK, you will find that many of his stories have a very ambiguous ending, to say the least. I, for one, enjoy those for making me think about what could/will be for a while after I have finished reading.

Enjoy the boards, and happy reading!
I didn't dislike the ending. I just imagined something different while reading the story and wanted to know what other people thought of the ending I imagined.
 

AnnaMarie

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2012
6,974
28,795
Other
#10
...given that he was a very young man, and budding author when this was written, I found the ending quite stellar....
That it actually has an ending is stellar. Lol

Is that a change with age? Is it his early work that has endings and as he matured he left things more open?

~~~

As for the original question in this thread, your ending is more what I expected. But King's ending is so much better.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
80,880
306,691
56
Cambridge, Ohio
#11
That it actually has an ending is stellar. Lol

Is that a change with age? Is it his early work that has endings and as he matured he left things more open?

~~~

As for the original question in this thread, your ending is more what I expected. But King's ending is so much better.
...that, and as he got older-his viewpoints reflected that...there are lot of "young-manisms" in that story....
 
Jul 13, 2014
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#13
I just finished the The Long Walk - I enjoyed it in a way but it felt like a long read and that I was on the journey with them - simultaneously tired me out and kept me from sleep most nights - but then I suppose that's the point. I knew more or less from the beginning it was going to be one of those stories that didn't really explain anything, the 'whys' of them being there etc, so I just put that from my mind straight away (usually unexplained things annoy the hell out of me)

However, does anyone know if there's a definitive 'ending' because to me it was, as said above, ambiguous
- he could have died and that release meant he could suddenly "run" again OR he felt the grim reaper's touch and ran away from it...i.e he survived. It might have been more clear if they'd had him ambling off reunited with his fellow walkers - they're dead but back together again in spirit
. Knowing King's novels it's probably the former but are we meant to wonder or has it been confirmed over the years what his actual intention was? Perhaps it's just down to whether you have a hopeless or hopeful viewpoint.

I actually thought that Garraty might
sacrifice himself at the end to let one of the others win. I thought he'd be last three and then he'd step back and leave the 'race' to the others, someone more deserving
 
Mar 8, 2012
5,428
25,620
NJ
#14
I just finished what I think is my first reread of this book. I know I definitely read it when The Bachman Books first came out way back when, but can't remember ever rereading it. That said, I had forgotten what an amazing book this is. I stated elsewhere on this site that it is a tough book for me, since though I love to walk, I have no arches (flat feet) and just the thought of walking at that speed nonstop for so many days is exhausting to me. I literally would have to put the book down at times while reading it to get my strength back. And don' get me started as to what it is like for me to read it on the treadmill!

I believe I read that SK has stated that The Long Walk was written a number of years before Carrie. Amazing! It is such a well written and finely crafted book. In a way, I kind of miss the SK of "old" who wrote shorter, tighter novels. (Maybe that is why I loved Joyland so much.)

As for the ending, while I had a few scenarios in mind (since I could not for the life of me remember the ending from my original read) I think the one SK wrote was perfect.
 

blunthead

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
80,756
195,331
Atlanta GA
#15
The Long Walk ended in such a surprising way that I sat stunned, breathless, and maybe grinning. I think sK simply chose to write an ending which forces the reader to decide what must have happened. It's a daring thing for an author to do because there are times when it's appropriate - it works - and probably many more times when it doesn't. After remaining in shock for a while, I decided that I think it works brilliantly in this case. Another of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, did this in Sphere and Prey. When asked about Sphere's ending he said he wanted the reader to decide about a certain important thing. The ambiguity still causes me to study the rest of the story for clues. The Long Walk's ending doesn't cause such a need for me; the mystery is of a less subtle type than that in Sphere. sK's is more of a shock, a surprise. But I enjoy the challenge to my imagination when an author is brave in this way. I find it stimulating.

My personal decision, as it was an sK homework assignment of sorts...
...is that due to the hatred he has developed for The Major, who symbolizes all that's evil in an authority governing a morally warped society, Garraty, faced physically and psychologically with a choice, chooses to die instead of acknowledge that society's perverse demands. A fellow member PMd me not long ago, asking if I thought I saw a correlation between The Long Walk and the Vietnam War. I had not thought about the story in that way, but I have since.
 

Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
2,906
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#17
It's open to interpretation, which is a fined thing, indeed, for an ending to be.

I read the Long Walk thus:

The nature of The Walk forced the Walkers into themselves for survival, which is the exact opposite of what human nature dictates when you are in peril for your life. That's why the Musketeers wanted so badly to help each other, but knew that -- ultimately -- they shouldn't.

This is the horror of the story to me:

Your heart tells you to make these strangers your comrades, but you can't "win" unless you abandon them . . . and if you abandon them, then haven't you abandoned yourself along the way?

It doesn't really matter what the thing at the end is (or if it is even real), something has to be there . . . there must be one more thing to chase . . .

Elsewise, what the hell have I been doing for the last three days?
 
Apr 16, 2017
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#19
I literally just finished reading this book again, for the fourth or fifth time. I was thinking hard about the meaning of the end. To me it seemed that
the figure Garraty sees at the end of the walk is death. He is so deep into the walk that all that is left to him is the walk itself. He lost all his hopes, his dreams and likely had before the walk even started. The walk was a giant death wish and he was going on till he met it. It was a wish for death for all of them and he was the one who had yet to meet it.
 
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