If, as Charles May and others have insisted, the end of a short story gives meaning to all that preceded it, I really cannot give examples here.  Beginnings and excerpts are presented in the hopes of enticing you to take up the full story.  Endings have to be arrived at honestly.  Of course, not all endings are created equal, and the most fascinating ones to me are where the full power of the story seems to culminate in the final sentence.  Some of the best of these are listed below and only one could be said to be a trick ending – the rest could be said to be somewhat ordinary.  It is the stories themselves that lift them out of ordinariness, so that, as they give meaning to all that preceded, all that preceded gives meaning to them.

Guests of the Nation – Frank O’Connor
The Open Boat – Stephen Crane
The Third and Final Continent – Jhumpa Lahiri (OK, I’m cheating a little here – it’s the last two sentences)
The Star – Arthur C. Clarke
Jesus is Sending You This Message – Jim Grimsley
Hunters in the Snow – Tobias Wolff
Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Everything in This Country Must – Colum McCann
Sonny’s Blues – James Baldwin
Car Crash While Hitchhiking– Denis Johnson

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