What Is The Meaning Of The Poem Happy Ending By Denise Duhamel

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Literature is a conversation between the author and the reader. Two different readers can read the same poem and come away with different meanings. Denise Duhamel’s poem “Happy Ending” is deliberately vague. It is in this ambiguity that different interpretations can form. I believe that the things not dictated to us in the poem are just as important as the things as the things we are told. One interpretation of the poem is that is tells the story of a girl who has been sexually assaulted in a hotel. This seems clear in the opening lines that tell us, “ lost my virginity in a hotel / although on the police report I said it was stolen” (1-2). However, it is unclear as to what actually took place in the hotel room. This uncertainty could be because it is playing off the idea that it does not matter if she was drugged and dragged back to the room against her will or if she freely went back to the room and changed her mind; because it does not matter when or how she said no, only that she did not consent. This is not, however, the only explanation. The speaker never tells us that she was raped, only that that is what she told the police. It is equally possible then, that the sex was in fact consensual and…show more content…
It is revealed that, “My mother cried she didn’t know me anymore. I was grounded till the mail came several days later” (17-18). Her mother clearly thinks less of her now that she is no longer a virgin. She clearly feels much is lost even though the only thing lost is a bit of skin. This illustrates that the importance society places on virginity is out of proportion to its actual significance. This is exemplified when her ‘honor’ is restored. She tells us, “Some kind stranger had sent me back my virginity / in a padded envelope” (19-20). This clearly illustrates the importance of virginity beyond the loss of her hymen. She cannot regain her virginity in the physical sense, but she can in the eyes of

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