From that day onwards, Jacob learnt his lesson and dared not play with matchsticks again.
Since then, Richard vowed to keep his eyes on the road at all times.
Samantha learnt to be more considerate in the future. Once bitten, twice shy.
All’s well, ends well. You have developed most of your story well and it is time for you to end it. Some children find writing the conclusion extremely challenging as they are unsure of what a conclusion should contain. Out of desperation, some children end up writing extremely short conclusions like the ones above which discount all their efforts in the earlier part of the essay.
What makes a good conclusion to a story? A good conclusion should show at least one of the following:
1. how you are aligned to the topic
2. how the conflict/problem is solved
3. what happens to the main characters in the end
4. a connection to the beginning
An effective conclusion will engage the readers to the very end and help them to tie up the entire story properly.
If you are unsure of what you need to include in your conclusion, here are 4 suggestions as to what your conclusion can tell the readers at the end:
1. Tells what happens in the future
This is commonly referred to as the “crystal ball” view as writers allow readers to have a glimpse into the future of the main characters.
Questions to think about: What happened after a period of time after the incident? Did the person succeed?
Possible Problem: A teenage delinquent almost shoplifted under the influence of bad company. His kind neighbour, Uncle Lim, stopped him and advised him to achieve his dreams.
Years later, a neatly-dressed young man holding an envelope stood in front of the noodle stall. After the fateful incident, David had left the gang and stayed out of trouble. Bearing Uncle Lim’s words to work hard in mind, he had enrolled in a culinary school. Through sheer hard work, he managed to complete his course and was finally graduating. Taking in a deep breath, he approached the familiar elderly man to express his gratitude by inviting him to his graduation ceremony. Without Uncle Lim, he would not be who he was.
2. Tells what has changed (or not)
The problem or event in a story can cause a change in the main characters. Think about how the character may change at the end of the story or if the character had remained the same in a similar situation. For such conclusions, there should be a clear contrast to the character’s earlier behaviour.
Questions to think about: How has the character changed compared to the beginning? What shows the change?
Possible Topic: An Accident/ A Close Shave
Problem: Richard, a deliveryman crashed into a car as he was distracted by his mobile phone.
A few days later, a van with the words, “Joyous Bakes” was cruising along the highway. Richard’s mobile phone was ringing incessantly on the passenger seat. Just as he was about to reach for it, he retracted his fingers and held on tight to the steering wheel. Recalling the accident that he had a few days ago, he was not going to put his life at risk again.
OR How the character has remained the same?
A few days later, a van with the words, “Joyous Bakes” was cruising along the highway. Richard’s mobile phone was ringing incessantly on the passenger seat. With an irritated grunt, he reached for the phone and placed it beside his ear. “Hello, what do you want?” grumbled Richard as he manoeuvred the steering wheel with a bandaged hand. It was going to take more than an accident for Richard to change his dangerous habit.
3. Tells what has been learnt + decision/ resolution
After a significant event, the main characters might have learnt a lesson. Did the character learn a particular life value e.g. being responsible, vigilant, to not take safety for granted etc. and did he make a decision to not have such an incident happen again? This conclusion may also be useful for pupils who like to restate the theme of the composition (e.g. being considerate, an embarrassing incident) explicitly at the end.
Questions to think about: What are the life values learnt? What is the decision made to not encounter such a problem again? How can the theme of the composition be tied in with the question?
Possible Topic: An inconsiderate act/ A fire
Problem: Granny Lin refused to clear her cluttered corridor despite her neighbours’ advice and a fire started one day. Her neighbours helped her during and after the fire.
Looking at the charred walls and how her neighbours were working together to tidy up her flat, a wave of remorse swept over Granny Lin. That day, she learnt how she should have heeded others’ advice to keep the corridor clear and more importantly, how fortunate she was to have neighbours who cared for her. She wiped away a tear and made the decision to show more appreciation to her neighbours from then on.
Possible Topic: An embarrassing incident
Problem: Charlie, split his pants during his birthday party and was utterly embarrassed.
As he buttoned his pants with his sausage-like fingers, Charlie made up his mind to have a new goal on his birthday. He would not eat so much again and that would be the first and last pair of pants that he would tear in his life.
4. Tells the consequence of the main character’s action
Depending on whether the main character has done a positive or negative thing, the conclusion can be used to give the appropriate consequence.
Questions to think about: What are the consequences e.g. punishment, praise etc of the main character’s actions? How does the main character’s action affect people around him?
The next day, as a punishment, Daryl had to clear the entire camping area of litter after they packed up. He did it without protest because he knew he should not have tried to take revenge on the girls. James felt a little sorry for Daryl because not only did his prank backfire, but none of the girls were even aware of what he tried to do. They had slept through the night, deep in slumber. Still, it was definitely a camp worth remembering.
1. Dream / nightmare endings which are usually anti-climatic and kills the excitement of a story immediately e.g. David realised it was all a dream and got up to get ready for school. NO!
2. A short cliche one-liner which is not specific to the problem in the story. Once bitten, twice shy and Samuel turned over a new leaf. (How?)
I hope that with the above 4 ways of thinking about your conclusion, you will find it easier to write effective conclusions that tie up your stories well! All the best for your upcoming Paper 1!