In most stories characters can over come an obstacle to gain happiness of some sort. However this isn’t possible in some cases. Maybe the obstacle is too great or the right solution can’t be made, but somehow a positive ending isn’t in site.
In the story “Sonata for Harp and Bicycle” the theme love transcends love or love begets love would be appropriate. Our protagonist Jason Ashgrove and his co-worker/lover, Bernice Golden find themselves falling in love while trying to reunite two kindred spirits (who are haunting Grimes Building) after death and 50 years apart. The fact that Jason and Bernice are falling in love is ironic in the fact that they are trying to reunite someone else.
Jason must overcome a curse in which he received by seeing the Wailing Watchman or William Heron, and is doomed to kill himself in the same manner that William did 50 years ago. However Jason receives a good idea on how to escape the curse, by getting a parachute a jumping off of the building. At that moment Jason and Bernice signified their love by sharing a kiss at 10 minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve.
Another story that involves an obstacle that needs to be cleared is “The Invalid’s Story”. In this story the imaginations of two grown men gets the better of them. When one man brings a corpse onto the train and accidentally gets it swapped with a box of rifles, then a bag of Limburger cheese is placed on top their imaginations begin to run wild. The two men think that the rotting corpse is the source of the smell and they try several silly ways to get rid of it including standing outside in sub-zero temperatures to escape the smell. However several trips in and out of the cold weather cause one character to become ill. Now this person is horribly sick because his mind got the better of him.
In this story, the character couldn’t reach happiness. His health was lost and now he will die all because of his imagination. This is an example of an unhappy ending, one that is most unfortunate.
In the story “The Necklace” a woman’s need to be fabulous results in a bitter irony when she ends up becoming her worst nightmare. She became a working, strong, self-sufficient, undesirable, poverty stricken woman and all because of a foolish lack of self-esteem. This story is a classic example of how greed and pride can have terrible effects.
A sad and undesired ending is the only one that can be seen in the story. All because of a dumb lie and a need for glamour Mathilde Loisel is living the life if something she has always feared; a pauper.
All three of the short stories show how obstacles can be overcome and either have happy or sad endings. These endings always reflect the characters decisions made throughout the book. Whether they are good or bad decisions, the characters always get what they deserved.