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Bookends is a method of storytelling that connects the end and the beginning of

Author of the article: Tatiana Zhakova
Journalist, linguist, teacher of storytelling with 10 years of experience
In 2015 she created and promoted her project about Nizhny Novgorod,, after which she created a course called "Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story" based on it. Over 4,000 students have taken the course.

A linguist by education, she quickly masters new areas. Now she is actively studying screenwriting and storytelling in movies/serials, and writes about it in her project's blog.
Bookends is a storytelling technique that helps make the story more memorable and compelling. It consists of starting and ending a story with the same element, thus creating a looping effect.

Bookends in books

Imagine a book that has a bridge on the cover. You start reading the story of the main character who moves to a new city and tries to adapt to his new life. He goes through various trials and finds meaning in life until at the end he returns to the same bridge where the story began.

This element, the bridge, is the bookend and helps create unity and finality in the story. Not only does it enhance the ending, but it also allows the reader to remember the story better.

You can also use bookends to emphasize the difference between the beginning and the end of the story. For example, if you are writing a story about a man who starts life as a poor man and ends up as a millionaire, you could use different elements at the beginning and end to show the difference in their status.

We see many examples of the use of this technique in the most popular books, in all parts of Harry Potter. However, they are not always used as directly as in the bridge example, but more often in a slightly more veiled way.

For example, in Prisoner of Azkaban, lots of owls bring Harry letters at the very beginning. And at the end, too, and even the first and last chapters are titled "Owl Mail" and "Owl Mail Again.
Ginny's first appearance is when she convinces her mother to let her go to Hogwarts. The last is her being persuaded by her daughter.

And here we see exactly how much things have changed in the life of the once very little redheaded girl!

Bookends in movies

The bookends technique can be used not only in books, but also in movies, stories, and any other form of art. In films, for example, it can be the repetition of a phrase, a musical theme, or a visual element at the beginning and end of a film.

One of the most famous examples of the use of bookends is the film A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick. The film begins with the main character, Alex, who rapes a woman, and ends with him, but in a different role as a victim of violence.
Another example is the series Lost, which begins with Dr. Jack opening his eyes, and ends after all the confusing seasons with the same thing.
As we can see, it is with the gaze that this technique is most popular. For example, in the cult movie "Avatar" both the end and the beginning - Jake opens his eyes.
But my favorite example is the "My house, my rules, my coffee" cup in the hands of the main character Martha in Get the Knives.

More examples:

- A provincial American town in "Beauty in America."

- children reading in the living room in "The Full Moon Kingdom".

- AIDS day in "Bohemian Rhapsody,"

- and in "Real Love" the action begins and ends at Heathrow Airport.

This technique is a bit like another technique, the circular composition, but still in the composition we are referring to a larger section of the script that is played at the beginning and the end, like the murder in "Elite" or "Big Little Lies.

Bookends in life

Below are a few examples of bookends that can be used in real life:
  • Public speaking: begin your presentation with a story or anecdote that sets the tone for the entire presentation, then return to that story at the end to close the circle and make closing remarks.
  • Product presentation: At the beginning of your presentation, you can use a short story that will engage your audience and help them understand why your product is important. Finish your presentation by returning to the story to emphasize its importance and convince your audience.
  • Job Interview: Tell a short story about how you solved a difficult problem in the past to demonstrate your skills and qualities. Conclude the interview by revisiting the story to emphasize your problem-solving ability.
  • A special moment in your life: Tell the story of how you met your other half or how you got your first job. Repeat the story in other special moments to create a connection between those moments and your life.
  • Commercials: Start your commercial with a short story that captures viewers' attention and conveys your product's message. Come back to the story at the end of the commercial to reinforce your message and convince viewers.
  • Social media: Start your storytelling in a Story or Rails with a picture of the beginning of your journey. Talk about the challenges you went through and what you achieved. At the end, show the same picture from the beginning and conclude what helped you get to where you are now.
The bookends technique can be an effective tool for authors, directors, and artists who want to make their stories more memorable and compelling. Don't be afraid to experiment with it to create something unique and interesting.