What is an epilogue, types, tips and famous examples

what is an epilogue

Whether you're writing a book, or interested in all parts of it, you have to keep in mind what an afterword is. Wait, don't you know?

Now, We are not only going to tell you what an epilogue is, but we are going to tell you how many types there are, where it is placed, what its function is and some examples. that you should keep in mind. Go for it?

book illustration with cup of chocolate and hearts

We can conceptualize an epilogue as a section at the end of a work (understood by this book, play, cinema...) that will provide something more information about the final fate of the characters. In other words, we can say that it is something like a denouement of the end of the story, one more advance on how those characters end or live beyond the ending that is had.

Sometimes, that epilogue is not only used to give information about that final destination of the characters rather, it serves as an explanation or reflection of the history that has taken place in that work. We could say that it acts as if it offered a broader perspective or vision of everything that has happened in that work.

Now, we are talking about an optional element. That is, it may be there or not, that depends a lot on the author. In addition, it does not have a minimum or maximum extension. Sometimes they can be just a few letters, and other times as long as a chapter or more.

woman reading near the sea

Now that you know what an epilogue is, the next thing you should know is that there are several types. It is something that not many know, but if you are a writer, It is convenient for you to distinguish them to know, in each work, which is the best to use.

These are:

  • narrative epilogue: The main characteristic of this is to provide information about the outcome of the story or what happens to the characters in that work.
  • Thoughtful epilogue: In this case, it offers a reflection or interpretation (sometimes even a reinterpretation) of the story in general, or of the most important themes that have been narrated in it.
  • Of Transition: Do you remember those books that end and when you turn the page they say "x years later"? Well, that is a transitional epilogue, one that marks a change, that advances in time, in a change of place, etc. to put the finishing touch to the story (now, it can also mean that there is a new beginning (in a following book)).
  • dream epilogue: It focuses above all on one of the characters, usually the main one, in such a way that it shows either a fantasy or a dream, which reveals more about his wishes. Sometimes it can also be used as a prelude to the next book. And it can be from the main character or from another who takes the baton in the next one.
  • parodic epilogue: As its name indicates, it serves to parody or to find humor or irony at the end of the work.
  • Testimonial: In this case, the aim is to publicize testimonials or statements by experts or personalities. It is not widely used in fictional literature, but it does have a place in nonfiction.

At this stage, the function of an epilogue may be clear to you. It is useless for anything other than:

  • Give additional information about the characters or about the outcome that takes place in the story.
  • Offer an explanation or reflection on what has been read.
  • Give a more general perspective of what has been read.
  • Close and resolve plots that would have remained open in the work.

Indeed, the function of an epilogue is none other than to end the work so that the reader or viewer are satisfied and with all the fringes united in it.

Where does the epilogue go in a book?

All of the above said, there is no doubt that the place where this epilogue should go must always be at the end of the book. But, not necessarily. And it is that, when there are bilogies, trilogies... each of them can have an epilogue that at the same time serves as the beginning of the next book.

Another option is that the epilogue serves to separate one part of the book from another. For example, because a reflection is made and then several years are spent with other characters but in the same book and on the same topic.

woman reading in the field

Do you want to write an epilogue that really fulfills its function? Remember that It is not something obligatory in a work, there may or may not In case you do need it, what we recommend is the following:

  • Stay consistent with the work. That is to say, that it follow the same language, that there are no conflicts or contradictions in the work, or in the characters.
  • Don't make assumptions or predictions. The objective is to close the work, not to leave open something that could imply leaving the reader or viewer with another mystery (unless there is another work after).
  • Do not make a summary of the work. If you want to make a reflection, fine, but that doesn't mean you have to summarize it.
  • Try to have the same tone of voice that you had in the work so that it is not a very drastic change.
  • Don't prolong the epilogue. The best thing is that this goes to the point and is concise.

Keep in mind that you are going to "close" the story and you have to make the reader or viewer feel that it already has an end point and there is no more (unless there is, of course).

Examples of epilogues in books

To finish, we would like to leave you some examples of epilogues that you can find in some books.

  • "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" by JRR Tolkien: If you have it handy you can take a look at it and you will see that it has an epilogue in which it gives more information about what happens to the characters after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • "Kill a Mockingbird" Harper Lee: In this case the epilogue jumps 20 years over the story to give information about the characters.
  • «1984« by George Orwell: The epilogue in this book, unlike the others, is a reflection on the subject itself and how it affects today (from when it was written).
  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald: In it you can find both information about the fate of the characters and also a reflection.

Is it clear to you what an epilogue is?

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  1.   Janet said

    Thanks for the information, you have no idea what it was about, although I'm not a writer if it caught my attention.