Epilogue: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Andrew Sedillo

Andrew Sedillo has taught Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology at a middle school level. He currently holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Education, Master's of Arts Educational Learning Technology, and a Graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Learning.

Learn the definition of an epilogue and see a famous example of an epilogue in literature. Understand how to create an epilogue for your own writing.

Introduction

Have you ever read a book with an ending that keeps you wondering what's going to happen next? Doesn't that drive you crazy? If so, you are one of many readers who feel this way. Most authors are aware of this situation. Sometimes they'll throw readers a bone in their quest for clarity by writing an epilogue. That's what we'll be looking at in this lesson.

What Is An Epilogue?

An epilogue is a literary device found at the end of a fiction or nonfiction story, to serve as a provider of additional information in relation to the ending. This helps clarify the ending for readers, and provides them information about what happens after the finale of the story. There are no limits for how long an epilogue can be, but typically the author will keep it concise enough to bring some sort of conclusion for the reader. By bridging these gaps, the reader is left satisfied.

How to Apply An Epilogue

The first thing you should do is decide whether or not your story needs an epilogue at all. Think about your ending: is there more that you can tell the reader? Did your ending fully conclude your story? If you feel that these questions still need to be answered, then maybe you should consider writing an epilogue. It is important to note that your epilogue should never be a repeat of your original ending, but provide brand new information to the story. Make sure that you think about the information you will be adding in advance, to avoid losing writing focus. The list below provides suggestions for writers who are looking for possible reasons to use an epilogue:

  • The writer may want to add new things that are related to what happened in the story.
  • The writer may want to add a new event that will happen in the future after the ending has taken place.
  • The writer may want to provide a clue that there is a possibility for a sequel.
  • The writer may want to put an official ending to their story by providing readers with a conclusion that will leave them satisfied.
  • The writer may want to take time to connect the reader to the story by drawing comparisons from the events of the book to their own lives.

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