The Last Paragraph of On the Origin of Species
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Posted by fairest at 10:37
The Last Paragraph of Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape
What is love? Great minds have been grappling with this question through the ages, and in the modern era, they have come up with many different answers. According to the Western philosopher Pat Benetar, love is a battlefield. Her paisan Frank Sinatra would add the corollary that love is a tender trap. The stoner kids who spent the summer of 1978 looking cool on the hoods of their Trans Ams in the Pierce Elementary School parking lot used to scare us little kids by blasting the Sweet hit "Love is Like Oxygen"you get too much, you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love bites, love bleeds, love is the drug. The troubadours of our times all agree: They want to know what love is, and they want you to show them.
But the answer is simple. Love is a mix tape.
Posted by fairest at 21:11
The Last Paragraph of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking
I think about swimming with him into the cave at Portuguese Bend, about the swell of clear water, the way it changed, the swiftness and power it gained as it narrowed through the rocks at the base of the point. The tide had to be just right. We had to be in the water at the very moment the tide was right. We could only have done this a half dozen times at most during the two years we lived there but it is what I remember. Each time we did it I was afraid of missing the swell, hanging back, timing it wrong. John never was. You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that.
Posted by fairest at 21:09
The Last Paragraph of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road
"It's just that they were a rather strange couple. Irresponsible. The guarded way they'd look at you; the way they'd talk to you; unwholesome, sort of. Oh, and another thing. Do you know what I came across in the cellar? All dead and dried out? I came across an enormous box of sedum plantings that I must have spent an entire day collecting for them last spring. I remember very carefully selecting the best shoots and very tenderly packing them in just the right kind of soil -- that's the kind of thing I mean, you see. Wouldn't you think that when someone goes to a certain amount of trouble to give you a perfectly good plant, a living, growing thing, wouldn't you think the very least you'd do would be to--"
But from there on Howard Givings heard only a welcome, thunderous sea of silence. He had turned off his hearing aid.
Posted by fairest at 14:03
The Last Paragraph of Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son
All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.
Posted by fairest at 14:02
The Last Paragraph of Denis Johnson's Angels
It was Frederick's understanding that that prisoners had a story: that each night for months, at nine precisely, a light had burned in a window on the town, where the men on one cell block's upper tier could see it and wonder, and imagine, each one, that it shone for him alone. But that was just a story, something that people tell themselves, something to pass the time it takes for the violence inside a man to wear him away, or to be consumed itself, depending on who is the candle and who is the light.
Posted by fairest at 14:01
The Last Paragraph of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
And they are dancing, the board floor slamming under the jackboots and the fiddlers grinning hideously over their canted pieces. Towering over them all is the judge and he is naked dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant. He never sleeps, he says. He says he'll never die. He bows to the fiddlers and sashays backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the judge. He wafts his hat and the lunar dome of his skull passes palely under the lamps and he swings about and takes possession of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling all at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.
Posted by fairest at 13:56
The Last Paragraph of Philip Roth's Sabbath's Theatre
And he couldn't do it. He could not fucking die. How could he leave? How could he go? Everything he hated was here.
Posted by fairest at 13:52
The Last Paragraph of Don DeLillo's Underworld
And you can glance out the window for a moment, distracted by the sound of small kids playing a made-up game in a neighbor's yard, some kind of kickball maybe, and they speak in your voice, or piggy-back races on the weedy lawn, and it's your voice you hear, essentially, under the glimmerglass sky, and you look at the things in the room, offscreen, unwebbed, the tissued grain of the deskwood alive in light, the thick lived tenor of things, the argument of things to be seen and eaten, the apple core going sepia in the lunch tray, and the dense measures of experience in a random glance, the monk's candle reflected in the slope of the phone, hours marked in Roman numerals, and the glaze of the wax, and the curl of the braided wick, and the chipped rim of the mug that holds your yellow pencils, skewed all crazy, and the plied lives of the simplest surface, the slabbed butter melting on the crumbled bun, and the yellow of the yellow of the pencils, and you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow, its whisper of reconciliation, a word extending itself ever outward, the tone of agreement or treaty, the tone of repose, the sense of mollifying silence, the tone of hail and farewell, a word that carries the sunlit ardor of an object deep in a drenching noon, the argument of binding touch, but it's only a sequence of pulses on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensivea word that spreads a longing through the raw sprawl of the city and out across the dreaming bourns and orchards to the solitary hills.
Posted by fairest at 19:36
The last paragraph of James Joyce's "The Dead"
A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, on the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
Posted by fairest at 16:51