Quiz: Can You Guess the Last Lines from These 10 Classic Novels?

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Grace Lapointe

Senior Contributor

Grace Lapointe’s fiction has been published in Kaleidoscope, Deaf Poets Society, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and is forthcoming in Corporeal Lit Mag. Her essays and poetry have been published in Wordgathering. Her stories and essays—including ones that she wrote as a college student—have been taught in college courses and cited in books and dissertations. More of her work is at, Medium, and Ao3.

As a kid, I went through a phase of reading the first and last lines of books before starting to read the book. I already loved to write and was interested in story structures. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to your reading or writing habits, of course. Still, I don’t recommend this. The final page can be the biggest spoiler of all! I wasn’t even trying to play myself, but that’s what I ended up doing.

Worse than spoilers, though, this habit lessened the emotional impact of those final lines. When an author sticks the landing, a line that might seem banal out of context is shocking. Some last lines from novels have stuck with me for many years, even more so than their first lines. An intriguing first line promises a great story, but a perfect conclusion seems inevitable and often haunting. Some of these might seem tricky or mundane.

For a list of all the results, plus an answer key, please scroll down to the bottom of the quiz. The correct answers for each quote are bolded. Have fun! I hope this quiz reminds you why these books are considered classics or inspires you to read or reread some of them.

Answer Key:

“For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”
A. One Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous
B. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
C. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
D. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe

“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”
A. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
B. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
C. Dracula by Bram Stoker
D. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

“Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?”
A. Black Boy by Richard Wright
B. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
C. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
D. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

“Centuries after, she heard the strange man saying: ‘Death by misadventure, I’m inclined to believe. Let’s go up and have another look at that window.'”
A. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
B. Beloved by Toni Morrison
C. Passing by Nella Larsen
D. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

“I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.”
A. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
B. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
C. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
D. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
A. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
B. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
C. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
D. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“We were alone with the quiet day, and his little heart, dispossessed, had stopped.”
A. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
B. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
C. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
D. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
A. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
B. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
C. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
D. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

“…and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.”
A. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
B. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
C. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
D. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

“She called in her soul to come and see.”
A. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
B. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
C. Sula by Toni Morrison
D. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Test Your Literary Knowledge Even Further!

Try more last lines from classic novels!

Show off your knowledge of fairy tales!

Or, if you want a different type of quiz, which fictional librarian are you?