Happy Endings

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Happy Endings” (1983)
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Short story

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) is a Canadian novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She is best known for her novel The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its more recent sequel The Testaments (2019) which won her the Man Booker Prize. Atwood’s works often deal with issues such as women’s rights and environmental problems.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


The message of the short story “Happy Endings” could point to the misconception some people have about success and fulfillment. The story shows that, even when some people achieve success on a personal and professional level, that does not mean they are going to be fulfilled or get a happy ending, and many unexpected things could still happen to them.

The author is also ironical towards writers who try to give happy endings to their stories, sometimes making the plot sound forced and far-fetched. The story tries to point out that a happy ending is difficult to achieve and might sometimes feel too idealized and simplistic.


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Happy Endings

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