Friday phrases: and it was still hot

Beginnings. Always tricky. Want to make a big entrance, grab your attention.

But what of endings? Also important. The time to make the big ‘boom’ at the end of the story, bow, and retreat, performance over.

Even though I seem to say more about In the Night Kitchen, I still love Where the Wild Things Are too. I’ve already written about the brilliant opening, but Sendak does more. He ends well too.

Part of the dreamlike effect of the book is the bendy wavy syntax and timescales that Sendak conjures up: the ‘days and weeks and years’ that it takes Max to get to the land where the wild things are.

What I love about the book is the way the spell reverses to bring Max home. We move from a year to a week to a day and Max is home.

But the true comfort comes with the return of the regular patterns of syntax, right at the end. Max is home – and the supper he missed through his wild antics is waiting for him.

Those final few words undercut the years and weeks and days. In Max’s world, it has been forever there and forever back.

But the magic, for him, what really matters, is that he does not miss out when he returns.


Where the Wild Things Are

“…Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye
and sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day
and into the night of his very own room, where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot.”

Maurice Sendak

[Read a little more of the ending, and about Sendak, at the link above.]

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