What’s in a Curse?

The British Empire looted cultures around the world. It is almost comical (if not terrifying) how many priceless and sacred artifacts from the Americas, Asia, and Africa are currently stored away in the bowels of the British museum or shown behind glass as prominent sites of conquest. And yet across time and genre, literature often features these objects without reverence or pride.

Take Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone, for example. The narrative introduces its titular gemstone through the language of historical myth, wherein “The deity [Vishnu] predicted certain disaster to the presumptuous mortal who laid hand on the sacred gem, and to all of his house and name who received it after him.” (Collins 12). Although the narrator expresses skepticism towards the Indian tale, he states “I am influenced by a certain superstition of my own in this matter. It is my conviction, or my delusion, no matter which, that crime brings its own fatality … [Herncastle] will live to regret it, if he keeps the Diamond; and the others will live to regret taking it from him, if he gives the Diamond away.” (Collins 16). Regardless of whether the moonstone holds any actual curse, this language foreshadows future conflict similar to a curse. In doing so, the narrative communicates some sort of cosmic anti-colonial and vengeful power that deters the diamond from invading forces. This should raise several key questions: Why does the language of curses and mysticism appear alongside colonial artifacts? How does the language of curses reflect and critique ongoing and past colonialism? How did colonialism affect the British cultural psyche regarding the emergent capitalist ideals of property and ownership?

In order to avoid a tangent on its full history and extensive controversy, let us start with capitalism. When I speak of the capitalist ideals in Victorian society, I posit two core values: 1) Profit in the form of capital serves as a measure of social and economic quality. 2) Respect in the private property rights attributed to Individual entities.

Colonial curses represent a repressed anxiety over wrongful land acquisition. The act of conquest undermines respect for private property, in and of itself, and loot from conquests serves as the most visible representation of imperialism for the British public. For example, a British citizen would not have to travel to India in order to see the Koh-I-Noor Diamond after Victoria put it in her crown. These physical objects, such as the moonstone, become sites in which British Imperialism and Capitalist values come at odds. At the same time that the working classes of England saw factories, tools, and large plots of land fall into private enterprise through either legal or financial means, they also witnessed facets of Empire consistently returning to the mainland. As products of conquest, these objects represent the potential force has in acquiring and usurping power, including landed power. And as such, their presence in England creates tension between core capitalist values and imperialist attitudes. In short, this brand of imperialism is inconsistent with the capitalist ideology imposed upon the British public, and so these objects must be cursed.

O Moonstone! My Moonstone!

In chapter 9 of Moonstone, when the family sees the Moonstone for the first time the scene insinuates a higher, potentially religious, power associated with the stone. In its physical likeness, the stone is compared to the “harvest moon” from the “light that streamed from it” (74). Additionally, Betteredge details “when you looked down into the stone, you looked into a yellow deep that drew your eyes into it so that they saw nothing else” (74). In this way, the stone is compared with the “heavens themselves” and its being tangible was so “unfathomable” to the onlooker that could barely comprehend its presence (74). The family also sets the stone in the darkness, to which they discover it “shone awfully out of its own brightness, with a moony gleam, in the dark”, another fantastical element to the stone’s description that suggests its containment of some type of magical property that allows it to glow in the dark (74).

Aside from the physical descriptions of the stone, the family’s reactions to its glowing beauty are portrayed in emotions and actions of awe, emulating religious stories of being in the presence of God. Betteredge bursts out an “O” himself and Miss Rachel is enamored with the stone (74). Even Mr. Godfrey, who, although is the only one “who kept his senses”, wraps his arm around his sisters’ waists “looking compassionately backwards and forwards between the Diamond and me” (74). The family gawks at the stone in such a way that is similar to that of biblical descriptions of when God reveals himself to his followers through objects, like the burning bush. In this passage, the Moonstone is held with such high regard it sets a contrast between Betteredge’s later description of the stone and its effect on the family upon its being lost. 

As the novel progresses, this passage sets the tone of the family’s interaction with the stone. In their first encounter, it seems they become obsessed with the stone. Although this is not explicitly described, the fantastical tone upon their first sight of it suggests the fascination and obsession with the stone that begins to tear at the bonds of the house upon its going missing. Later in the novel, when the stone is discovered to have gone missing, Betteredge blames the stone for creating a deep negative energy in the house that causes Rachel to shut herself off from everyone, his lady to be in constant distress, Penelope to be on edge and defensive against accusations made of her, and insults the servants to being the subject of repeated searches. Betteredge and the family’s love for the stone turn the household cold and tense, despite initial descriptions of the warm, yellow, “light of the harvest moon” radiating from the stone (74).

Isolation and exile in Great Espectaitions

I will be discussing the ending scene of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and how the different themes within the ending attribute to the biblical story of the fall of man. To fully encapsulate the various similarities between the biblical story and that told by Dickens, you first have to start at the beginning. In the beginning of Great Expectations, Pip and Estella are portrayed as the young and innocent individuals. This mirrors the beginning of the story of the fall of man where pure and perfect Adam and Eve live in the garden of Eden together. The story of the fall of man continues on to have the two, Adam and Eve, tempted by the snake with the promise of knowledge only to end up as impure beings and to be exiled from the perfect garden that they were created in. I believe that in Great Expectations, Magwitch is representative of the snake who tempts Pip into helping him only to give him his wealth in the end. This wealth then in turn leads to his fall in morality and overall treatment of others making him the impure man. His exile from the garden can be represented by the ending in that it ends with him and Estella alone in the graveyard together. The fog in this scene is used to further represent the isolation of the two from the rest of the world and Pips statement about never seeing a future without Estella mirrors the story of man in which Adam and Eve are left to find their way through a new world with only each other for company. This, I believe, represents how they alone are left to carry the burden of their mistakes and the choices they have made through their lives. While Joe’s wife may have met her “divine justice” in receiving a major head injury that left her unable to continue to abuse Pip and Joe, Pip and Estella are forced to be alone with each other till the end. 

The Gothic as a force of randomness in a cartesian world

“So!” she said, without being startled or surprised; “the days have worn away, have they?”

“Yes, ma’am. To-day is —”

“There, there, there!” with the impatient movement of her fingers. “I don’t want to know. Are you ready to play?”

“I was obliged to answer in some confusion, “I don’t think I am, ma’am”.

“Not at cards again?” she demanded, with a searching look.

“Yes, ma’am; I could do that, if I was wanted”.

“Since this house strikes you old and grave, boy,” said Miss Havisham, impatiently, “and you are unwilling to play, are you willing to work?”

I could answer this inquiry with a better heart than I had been able to find for the other question, and I said I was quite willing”.

The Satis House is the emblematic place of contradiction. A site of continuity and discontinuity. A scenario of the preparation for life and the stagnation of life. Pip and Miss Havisham hang on a spectrum, whose edges go from joviality and naivety to dullness and stasis, respectively. However, they do share something in common: both of their lives have been deeply affected by great expectations.

In the passage that I selected above, Pip is visiting Miss Havisham one more time. We can see the torpidity in Miss Havisham’s behavior, because she asks about the quick passing of time without being surprised. However, now that she has Pip as a visitor, her stasis transforms itself in impatience or even eagerness. She wants Pip to play again with her and Estella. The conversations are short and straightforward. Miss Havisham insists on playing with Pip, even after he said he didn’t think he was ready to play. She suggests then that he should work with her, and he agrees. Some moments after this passage, Pip goes inside the party room, where there is a rotten wedding cake. Everything is in a state of putrefaction in the room: no air, no sun, an excess of yellowish fabric everywhere, worn by time.

Miss Havisham was hours away of getting married when her husband-to-be abandons her. Time has stopped for her, because she stopped seeing meaning in life. She was in love, she wanted to build a happy life alongside her future spouse, but her great expectations were broken by the unpredictable hands of fate. She wants Pip to play with her as a way of compensating for the lust she missed. She wants Pip to work (and that means, going around the cake table many times with her), because she wants to imagine what it would have been like if the party had actually happened. She doesn’t want to face reality, she is forever stuck in time, wondering and wandering, projecting her own hypothetical scenario towards Pip.

Pip is in the Satis House, but, in opposition to Miss Havisham, he is being prepared for his great expectations. He gladly wants to work, and he even considered playing again, although not being that willing. The house works differently for Pip: its stagnation doesn’t affect him, and it actually represents a rite of passage. He goes several times to the mansion, and slowly learns about love, sexuality, masculinity and the labor world.

Both characters expect change in their lives, but both are carried away by unpredictable events. Miss Havisham had great expectations for her life after her marriage, but they didn’t happen. Pip has great expectations (he wants to live a different life from the one he has in the countryside), and he is suddenly taken to the Satis house, being subjected to adults’ decisions. This space, so gothic, represents the unpredictability and mystery of life, in a society which praised science and rationalism. Dickens ultimately wanted the Victorian reader, who was excited to this fresh, revigorated thinking, to be aware of life’s randomness.

Great Expectations is a Romantic Comedy

Could Great Expectations by Charles Dickens be considered a romantic comedy? There are many people who have interpreted the novel as a romance novel, but it is never clearly defined to be one. If we were to follow some of the rules of a romantic comedy, Great Expectations could be considered one. When deciding the rules of a romantic comedy, I look to the seminal Nora Ephron classic When Harry Met Sally. The rules based off of that film are as follows; an invested interest in the two main characters’ romantic plot line, either a near break up or a complete separation when they are either still friends or in the relationship, and a grand gesture.

Readers are drawn into Pip’s story almost immediately. The first moment we meet our main character, he is in a graveyard describing how he has learned his family’s history through the gravestones of his deceased parents and siblings in stating that he learns his family’s “name on authority of [my father’s] tombstone…” (Dickens 3). This part of the novel does two things in favor of Great Expectations being a romantic comedy. First, it adds an air of mystery and intrigue surrounding Pip. Why does he spend so much time in a graveyard? What happened to the rest of his family? These are questions that we never get answered, but it is not necessary for them to be. Their only job is to draw the reader in. Second, it’s comedic. What child learns his family history from gravestones? It gives us as readers something to laugh at. As for Estella, she is more of a mystery. We have no clue who her family is and how she came to live with the eccentric Miss. Havisham until much later in the novel. We as readers are curious as to how the relationship with Pip and Estella will play out and are intrigued to learn more about Estella’s unknown past and Pip’s unknown benefactor. 

The separation is more of a natural separation compared to most romantic comedies. In When Harry Met Sally, the main characters end up sleeping together and get into a verbal argument that albeit gets physical when Harry receives the most deserved slap in human history, and their relationship splits apart. In Great Expectations, Pip receives a large sum of money from a mysterious benefactor and moves to London, away from Estella, thus creating their big separation. The break in time Pip and Estella spend together is a moment that is in most romantic comedies where romantic interest is fostered in either both of the love interests, or is beginning to be reciprocated by the second love interest. 

The last major rule of a classic romantic comedy is the big romantic gesture at the end of the film or novel. In When Harry Met Sally, the gesture involves Harry running across the city of New York on New Year’s Eve to tell Sally he loves her just in time for the new year. For Pip and Estella’s big romantic climax, it is a much more subtle gesture. Pip finds Estella near the now destroyed Satis House. As they talk, they catch each other up on their lives and leave with Pip seeing “no shadow of another parting from her” (483). This gesture is small but still a heartfelt one and provides us with a happy ending to the novel.

Great Expectations is a classic novel filled with love, heartbreak, passion, and Dickens’ wacky commentary — all characteristics of a rom com. With an ending that is left open to interpretation, people have classified the novel in multiple different ways. I thoroughly believe that it is a romantic comedy. The novel hits the three big marks of a romance novel; two main love interests that draw the readers in, a split or separation between those two characters, and a big romantic gesture. Add in Dickens’ comedy, the novel becomes an early version of a romantic comedy.

*Attached are the two aforementioned scenes for context*

The iconic slap/big breakup from When Harry Met Sally

The big gesture from When Harry Met Sally

Miss Havisham’s Legacy and the Liminal Woman


Great Expectations rarely opts for subtlety with Miss Havisham. As discussed in class, Miss Havisham sections demonstrate the novel’s most gothic element. Her character acts as a ghost, anchoring Pip and Estella to her history of tragedy even if its activators are long gone. Still, Miss Havisham stands as a unique gothic figure as her dueling status as an aristocratic woman and “the Witch of the place” (Dickens 85). Yet, the basic archetype of Miss Havisham, or the aged, corrupted distortion of the aristocratic maiden archetype has maintained itself throughout ensuing time.

In one lens, Miss Havisham demonstrates the somewhat sexist “mad” older woman trope, despite not being that old. Still, characters are rendered monstrous in their aging and their refusal to accept. And so, they exist as a “perversion” of maidenhood. Though lacking personal concern about age, Havisham still aims to defy time, and is rendered grotesqueness and uncanny in the process. For example, a witch implies an older disrupter, someone not bound by “normal” rules of reality. Miss Havisham’s faded white dress speak to uncanny perversion, too. The white wedding dress may connotate youth and purity, but its’ yellowing and shriveling connotates a distortion of the same effect. This “pure” thing isn’t as it “should” be. This archetype will not submit to time or societal demands, thus making this person a monstrous other in youth-oriented society.

One well documented descendent of the Miss Havisham archetype descent which even Wikipedia acknowledges also applies to the antagonist of the classic noir, Sunset Boulevard, which very name implies a prolonged ending. Norma Desmond is probably the most direct descendent of the Havisham archetype. Essentially, the film centers around former silent film star Norma Desmond’s attempts to get back into the film industry. However, her own incredibly volatile grip on reality and bitterness impedes her at every step. Like Havisham, Norma still mentally lives decades in the past, sustained by her bitterness. In the present day, she too lives in a decrepit mansion and spurns most human contact. Her “sick fantasies” include constant indulgent in the form of adoration and is much more directly sexual, rather than frustration by proxy with Miss Havisham. Still, both make innocent lives a misery because they are not willing to acknowledge the present. Still, as a quick IMDb search will say that Norma’s maddened reclusiveness was based on several reclusive female silent film stars, in a moment of art reflecting reality. Or rather, art and life reflecting the misogynistic societal constraints that do not metaphorically, or literally in Norma Desmond’s case, have societal roles for women beyond that “maiden” stage. But as Havisham and Norma show, the clock does not stop. The “choice” remains to either disappear and pass onto a more passive role or to simply cling to existence who would deny these characters the value associated with youth. Instead, Miss Havisham and all her descendants show how prevalent these ideas of thinking about women, age, and purity remain- and haunt- literature to this day.

Sunset Boulevard Movie Poster









Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Penguin Classics, 2003.

File:Sunset Boulevard (1950 poster).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Sunset Blvd. (1950) – Trivia – IMDb

Sunset Boulevard. Directed by Billy Wilder, prefromances by Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich Von Stroheim, and Nancy Olsen, Paramount Pictures, 1950.

What’s with the Fire?

Two passages I wanted to look at occur in chapter 40 and in chapter 49. Both passages convey images of a fire in a fireplace, which outside of providing warmth and comfort for the characters, leads to moments of contemplation, deep thought, and character development for them. On page 329 after Pip learns that Magwitch is his mystery donor, he sits in front of the fire and thinks about several different things to himself. “All this time I had never been able to consider my own situation, nor could I do so yet. I had not the power to attend to it…when I sat down again shivering, before the fire, waiting for my laundress to appear; I thought about how miserable I was, but hardly knew why, or how long I had been so, or on what day of the week I made the reflection, or even who I was that made it” (Dickens 329). In the paragraph before this passage, Pip lights the fire and falls asleep next to it for some time before waking up and contemplating to himself. In this passage, the fire serves as a space of comfort and warmth as it normally would but is also a place where Pip can quietly interiorize his conflict and emotions. We see Pip question how long he has been “miserable” and how he never had time to “consider his own situation.”

The next example of a fire serving as a tool for character development and contemplation comes in chapter 49 when Ms. Havisham catches on fire and Pip must save her. On page 402, following the paragraph in which Pip notices the situation and rushes to her aid, Dickens’ writing suggests contemplation and lots of thinking from Pip as he is helping put out the fire. “I covered her, the more wildly she shrieked and tried to free herself; that this occurred I knew through the result, but not through anything I felt, or thought, or knew I did. I knew nothing until I knew that we were on the floor by the great table, and the patches of tinder yet were floating in the smoky air, which, a moment ago, had been her faded bridal dress…I still held her forcibly down with all my strength, like a prisoner who might escape; and I doubt if I even knew who she was, or why we had struggled or that she had been in flames, or that flames were out until I saw the patches of tinder that had been her garments, no longer alight nut falling in a black shower around us. ” (Dickens 402). The language and writing style in this paragraph was super interesting given the franticness and severity of the scene and the context of the scene occurring after Ms. Havisham apologizes for leading Pip on to believe she was this mystery donor. In this passage, Dickens uses words that evoke moments of thinking and contemplation such as “think, felt, thought, and doubt.” All these words suggest contemplation and interior thought which was interesting to find in this passage as Pip is helping save Ms. Havisham. Although the words suggest that Pip is contemplating and uncertain about the severity of the fire at the moment, we can also assume that he is contemplating Ms. Havisham’s apology and her comments about Pip professing his love to Estella. We see some of Pip’s character development amid the fire as he is able to forgive Ms. Havisham for so many lies and save her life shortly after. Perhaps the use of words like “think, felt, thought, and doubt” suggest the whirlwind of emotions Pip is feeling since Ms. Havisham’s emotional apology. Although this passage doesn’t explicitly show Pip contemplating during a scene with fire like on page 329, the scene alludes to his interior thoughts and shows his development as a character.

The Complexity of Mr. Provis

“To state that my terrible patron carried this little black book about the world solely to swear people on in cases of emergency, would be to state what I never quite established; but this I can say, that I never knew him put it to any other use. The book itself had the appearance of having been stolen from some court of justice, and perhaps his knowledge of its antecedents, combined with his own experience in that wise, gave him a reliance on its powers as a sort of legal spell or charm. On this first occasion of his producing it, I recalled how he had made me swear fidelity in the churchyard long ago, and how he had described himself last night as always swearing to his resolutions in his solitude (Great Expectations, 324).”

The “little black book (324)” mentioned in this excerpt by Pip is actually a worn copy of the Bible (which is referred to as a ‘Testament’), one that Pip assumes Mr. Provis swiped from court at some point during his being tried. The excerpt above establishes Provis’s character as one of a complexing nature, and it reminds the reader of Mr. Provis’s long-lasting impact on Pip’s coming-of-age experience.

Although it is merely an inference made by Pip, the notion that Mr. Provis carries this Bible “solely to swear people on in cases of emergency (324)” indicates Provis’s lack of religious knowledge or faith. Pip further states that “[he] never knew [Mr. Provis] put it to any other use (324).” This assessment is important to the development of Mr. Provis’s character, as it could be partial reasoning for his immoral and criminal patterns. This is not to imply that religion cures lawlessness, but rather that a knowledge and devotion to the religion associated with the Bible would denote Mr. Provis’s belonging to a society that, at the time, was heavily intertwined with the Christian faith. Pip goes on to say that the Bible in Provis’s possession “had the appearance of having been stolen from some court of justice.” The irony of a book as sacred as the Bible being illegally obtained by someone is crystal clear. It is indicative of Provis’s unique understanding of the Bible’s significance, which, according to Pip, derives from the legal tradition of solemnly swearing by the Bible before testifying in the court of law. Instead of valuing the Bible by its content, Provis values its symbolizing of trust and honesty. Therefore, trust and honesty appear as Provis’s prioritized qualities in every aspect of life, especially in his assessment of other people.

Pip recalls the time when Provis forced him to swear by the same copy of the Bible in the graveyard when he was a child (324). Along with his criminal record, Provis proves to be consistent in seeking honesty from other individuals. In addition, Provis’s early presence in Pip’s life was foreshadowing of Estella, his daughter’s, later appearance and significance in Pip’s life. This is highlighted by the parallels between the way in which Mr. Provis first appears at the beginning of the novel, a solitary, ragged figure, coming out of the woodworks of a graveyard (4), and the way in which Estella reappears for the last time at the end of the novel, “a solitary figure (471)” in a garden mist.

It was a dark and stormy night…Haunting in Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is a melting pot of many themes and types of plots. Class structures and social status are continually in question throughout the novel, most obviously during Pip’s rise to gentle-manhood. He becomes comfortable in his higher station, indulging in privileges reserved for higher society but punished in the lower classes, notably his reckless spending and lack of money sense. Pip benefits due to social stratification in London at the time, and those such privileges afforded to the rich. However, his comfort in this structure is shaken when he learns the source of his wealth: an ex-con, appearing like a ghost from Pip’s childhood. During Magwitch’s revelation scene, Dickens represents him in a haunting manner to emphasize the base fear Pip feels during his process of recognition and understanding; he realizes his expectations no longer coincide with those acceptable in society (and never did).

Dickens structures Pip’s discovery like a typical haunting scene. Pip is describing the awful wind, rain, and darkness striking his home, when suddenly, “I heard a footstep on the stair” (Dickens 334). The “sudden” nature of the initial realization that he is not alone is comparable to a jump scare towards Pip. Pip’s comprehension of the situation dawns on him slowly, first recognizing Magwitch as the convict from his past, then understanding the true nature of his circumstances. Dickens describes his bodily reactions to this new reality as comparable to the fear of being haunted, “I could not have spoken one word…I seemed to be suffocating…I shuddered…he took both my hands and put them to his lips, while my blood ran cold within me” (Dickens 339-341). These somatic symptoms point to the reality that Pip is experiencing terror in this scene, despite nothing truly frightening occurring. Avery Gordon, author of Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, offers an explanation for this phenomenon, “…haunting is a very particular way of knowing what has happened or is happening. Being haunted draws us affectively…into the structure of feeling of a reality we come to experience, not as cold knowledge, but as a transformative recognition.” (Gordon 8). Thus, Dickens represents Pip’s recognition of his reality as a physical experience. He is confronted with information which prompts him to reframe his entire mindset towards his identity–past, present, and future. Rather than explicitly stating that his current life is essentially over, Dickens creates a haunting scene to demonstrate the transformation Pip undergoes once realizing he no longer has (and never should have had) a place in society. The over gloomy weather and Magwitch’s sudden apparition allow for a covert undercurrent of social status and class structure.

Great Expectations?

These two quotes are slightly different variations of the ending to Great Expectations. While they contain only slightly different wording, they may convey significantly different messages and therefore are well worth exploring. The first version appeared in the 1862 3-volume edition, and the second version was the wording that appeared in the 1861 serial publication and the edition that was first published in the U.S. This alone brings up the first interesting question about these quotes: if they were being published virtually simultaneously, and Dickens was endorsing both of them, do they mean the same thing? And if they don’t mean the same thing, why would Dickens endorse both? At first glance, one might say that of course they mean the same thing, because the wording is so similar. However, a closer look reveals that the differences in word choice could signify vastly different endings to the novel.  

For example, the first version, in saying that Pip saw “no shadow of another parting” from Estella, this could mean that he never foresaw leaving or parting with Estella again, now that they had been reunited. In this case, the “shadow” could be the looming possibility of another separation, the absence of which Pip is noting. In this case, the first version indicates that Pip and Estella stayed together for the rest of their lives. However, it is also possible that the “shadow” is already behind them, and that it refers to the separation that led to their current reunion, and Pip is not noting its absence, but rather saying that it is behind them. Furthermore, Pip might not be expressing a matter of certainty at all. He might be saying that at the time of this event, he did not predict that he and Estella would ever separate again, but they have since then, and although Pip didn’t see the “shadow” of their parting at the time, it eventually appeared, and they did go their separate ways. After all, Pip is telling this story from an unspecified point in the future.  

The first version of the ending is complicated, evidently, but the second version has its own complicated implications that are different from those of the first version. For example, the word “no” is not referring to the shadow in this case, but to the act of Pip and Estella parting. This creates new, different implications. This could mean that Pip, at the time of his reunion with Estella, could see the metaphorical shadow coming off of the rest of his life with Estella. Like the other version, this wording could also mean that Pip is not expressing a matter of certainty, and that he thought but didn’t know for sure that they would stay together. However, unlike the other version, this wording gives little to no indication that Pip and Estella ever parted, because the word “no” is attached to their parting, rather than the shadow. In this case, the “shadow” could represent a gloomy dread that Pip feels at expecting that he and Estella will remain together, or simply that, again, he sees the metaphorical shadow coming from this future event. Either way, this version at least strongly implies that they remain together forever.  

Based on this analysis, it is possible that Dickens was endorsing two different endings that meant vastly different outcomes for the characters of his novel. While we will almost certainly never know why he would do this, it is important to the study of this novel to consider this possibility to get a better understanding of what Dickens intended the reader to walk away with. Maybe he intended to confuse his audience. Maybe he meant to give two different endings to two different countries to see which was received better. Whatever his intentions, examining the two versions certainly leaves the ending up to interpretation.