The simple answer to that question is … No. Many fairy tales (look no further than they Brothers Grim) were originally written with horrible, gruesome endings. The philosophy behind that was to scare children into good behaviour?
The next question is why did modern society deem it necessary to alter the original stories and have, “and they lived happily ever after” at the end? This now appears to be the common practice, with all children’s stories having a happy ending. Are we as parents trying to shield our children from any sort of disappointment? Would it be detrimental to their young psyche if the hero/heroine suffered a tragic / sad ending?
Perhaps our modern parenting methods of wrapping our children in “cotton wool” and pretending that all is good in the world has created the anti social / misbehaviour of youth today? The alteration of fairy tales and the happy ending stories have prevented the child from developing their ability of coping with difficult, real-life problems. Another problem with the “happy ever after” scenario is our deepening discontent with our real lives and our build up of false expectations.
Yes, we all enjoy the feel good factor of losing yourself in a book with the comforting background thought in our heads that all will be good. Saying that, I can think of a few books / movies that have ended on a sad note and I can remember how I felt. I can remember those feelings better than the feelings I feel after reading a happy ending. I was left feeling sad, sometimes in tears but never disappointed or disillusioned. I somehow felt at home.
So now I am thinking …. What if?
What if I write a story with a shocking twist at the end?
What if I revert to the style of the Brothers Grim and throw in some gruesome ending?
Would I shock the reading public?
Would they want to read what I write?