From Beethoven's 5th to Batman, Harry Potter to Hamlet, we want and expect satisfying endings that tie up loose ends and provide resolution. But real life doesn't often come tied up so neatly. Relationships and careers often evolve in tangled confusion with transitions that can leave messy legacies. And, as TS Eliot said, often things end "not with a bang but a whimper."

Is it our stories and narratives that are in error, or the way we run our lives?  Many have sought to create novels or films that have less defined or multiple endings but they have rarely succeeded. Is a successful non-narrative structure possible or even desirable? Then again, are weddings and birthdays, leaving parties and national holidays, a means to impose order on lives that are never ordered?Would we be better to impose more structure or should we accept our lives as fluid and in a sense unknown?

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