The Long Walk The Long Walk question

The ending
Willy Willy Dec 30, 2012 09:06PM
What do you think happened to Ray after he chose his prize, and what was his prize?

Would he ask for his father (if he was still alive)?


Would he ask for the Major's head for what he did to them and Stebbins?

I'm not sure that he necessarily died, but even if he didn't, he was well on his way to be fitted out for a tight, canvas jacket with straps. He wouldn't be in a state of mind to claim his prize. A winner, but at what cost? The Major ends up being the only winner.

It seemed to me that he walked right into the arms of the Angel of Death.

Don Welty me too.....King was young when he wrote the book and I don't think there's much beyond what's on the surface - we all begin a forced march and we don' ...more
Jun 15, 2014 11:21PM · flag
Nancy Hudson The angel of death indeed and all his fallen comrades were beckoning as well.
Oct 11, 2014 05:33PM · flag

Victor (last edited Jun 27, 2018 05:37PM ) Jun 27, 2018 05:31PM   2 votes
SPOILER ALERT: Well, a spoiler in my opinion, anyway.
Its mentioned several times that the race is a "joke on the walkers", a kind of death wish, "The Major is the real winner", etc .... telling me that the "long walk" is simply a gruesome event (eg walk yourself to death) on which bets on who dies last are made. So no, Ray dies. And the figure behind the Major is Death himself. And the only people to qualify are, and I mean this in the most respectful of ways, "losers" - blue collar, fatherless, poor, married young, bad grades, some kind of abnormality, etc.. There wasn't anybody from high society or fashion models in the walk, were there?

This may have been an allegorical tale of the very poor working class. Work themselves to death hardly seeing their family while pining for a happy retirement.

I think he died. And I think that ending was the most suitable. The closer I got to finishing this story the more concerned I became about reading some glorious ending where the winner gets a prize and a relentless round of applause. So I was happy with the way it ended.

Although all signs point to a bleak ending (death or insanity), I do appreciate that there's enough ambiguity to make up one's own ending.

Maybe he ended up following the figure through a portal into Mid-world or the territories and was nursed back into health.

After all, King himself said that once a book is published, the story belongs to the reader.

So sometimes when I reread this and feel glum, I make up a happy ending.

Isabel (last edited Apr 29, 2018 12:12PM ) Apr 29, 2018 12:04PM   1 vote
I think that the dark figure at the end was death. He saw all the boys in it, all the boys who died. The figure was beckoning him to come closer, it wanted him to die. As soon as it touched him he ran away from it because he didn't want to die. I think he saw all the boys faces in it because the figure had "consumed" them, the dead had become apart of this figure of death. I bet that he ended up dying in the end just do to exhaustion. After all, the mayor is the only winner.

I always thought that he died. If he lived, I don't really think it matters what his prize was, it just wasn't that important to the story. The running at the end was him breaking free from a society that not only allows this brutal race, but celebrates it. It was a story about the human spirit.

I really hope he got the mayor's head or the ending of the long walk. But I haven't read the book in awhile.

I don't know if he died right away, he might have just gone insane first but I think death wouldn't have been too far for him.

This one is totally open to interpretation but I found the thought of this guy who was soooooo tired and exhausted finding the strength to run an incredibly powerful ending and image.

I think he is alive but he has lost his mind. I imagine him running and the guards chasing him down and gently steering him back to his family only for him to be desperately looking over the shoulder at the figure he sees, and will see for the rest of his life, in the distance.

Absolutely mind blowng ending very similar to "Running Man"

The only thing I know about the ending whatever he asks for, he won't enjoy it. He probably won't even live long enough to but even if he does, he's been scarred for life from the Walk.

Erin (last edited Apr 25, 2013 09:52AM ) Apr 25, 2013 09:52AM   0 votes
Willy wrote: "What do you think happened to Ray after he chose his prize, and what was his prize?

Would he ask for his father (if he was still alive)?

Ray's father is definitely not alive. He wasn't kidnapped, he was executed.

Put me on Team "Ray Died".

I don`t think Ray ever got his prize nor was capable of asking for anything in the end. During the walk many of the contestants admitted they were damaged goods and had a death wish resulting in them either giving up in body or mind. I think Ray was still trapped in that struggle even at the end, incapable of letting go perhaps a metaphor for end of life struggles many of us have whether religious or not.

Dead or insane doesn't matter at all... as Stebbins repeated on and on, only one is the winner. The Major. you can't come out from all that with no harm (in body and above all in mind).
And Garraty died, in my opinion, because I'm too optimistic to think that he survived all the horrors he saw.

I don't think he died, at least not right then and there. I think he went insane. He had been talking nonsense for a while and the only one that actually managed to keep him grounded was McVries. And since McVries died just before Stebbins, Garraty just lost it.

He said it himself, he was going to give up. The mind is a tricky thing, we have to remember that. 5 days walking, barely eating, no sleeping, and watching people die, some of them your friends. Yeah, not so easy. Winning wouldn't feel like a victory at all.

I think Garraty at the end was hallucinating, he thought there was another contestant walking, so he kept on walking because in his mind it wasn't over, if he stopped, he'd die.

I liked the end.

I think he goes insane. I don’t see how he would ever mentally come back from that, with the PTSD, survivor’s guilt, whatever likely permanent damage he’s done to his body. I can see how others think he dies, I just don’t like to think of him dying right away after all that. It’s a bleak ending for him no matter what. It’s implied in the book none of the winners go on to have a good life.

I always felt that he was seeing death and in his addled state, was running towards it. I envision him waking up in a hospital.
I feel like King could have easily written a second half with Garrity, as the winner making sure all the other boy's wishes were carried out. His interactions with people like the Major could have been great. King creates such disturbing characters that the SO's of the other walkers and the parents could have been very interesting.

I like the idea that he dies at the end. It feels more elegant, but it doesn't jive with all the crowds cheering and making bets on them and it being such a national event. If history had shown no one in the past coming out with the grand prize then the event wouldn't be such an inflated media monstrosity. There had to be footage of previous winners and I think I remember there being statues of previous winners. So, if he did die, it would be kind of a let down for the media in that world anyways. I still don't know though. Its not clear what happens to him.

I originally thought he went bonkers, but more thought makes me think he dies at the end.

Willy wrote: "What do you think happened to Ray after he chose his prize, and what was his prize?

Would he ask for his father (if he was still alive)?


Would he ask for the Major's head for what he did to t..."

Personally, I read this book as a fairly obvious metaphor for capitalism and greed. I heard King saying "This is what happens to greedy people" the entire time. For me, it makes sense that he dies because the punishment for being caught up in money as a replacement for happiness is being worn down to the bone, going completely mad, and dying a tragic, unhappy death.

I think it doesn't really matter what he would have asked for. The point is, whatever he could have asked for ultimately would not have made him happy. Even if he did ask for the Major's head, there would be a replacement Major. The Major was such a monster that he almost wasn't even human. He was the concept of society forcing you to give in to greed but then pressing down on you so hard that you eventually burst (get shot in the head).

I so wish this would have been unpacked a little more. I thought the ending was trite. It felt like it was supposed to be shocking. Oh no! He won the walk and now he can't stop! Oh the humanity! I thought this book had so much heart and emotion and to be left in the dust at the very end was annoying.

I don't necessarily think he died. I think he probably went insane though...I would hope that if he was able to ask for anything for his prize, he would ask for Baker's lead-lined coffin, for Scramm's wife to be taken care of for life, and for the long walk contest to be cancelled forever.

I have to agree with Simon. I don't think Ray "wins" the Prize, even though he "won" the race. I think Ray went bonkers, and likely needed to be restrained.

I like how one of the characters put it (I think it's McVries, and this is "condensed"): "There is no winner. When they get down to one guy, that take him behind a barn and shoot him."

I don't think that that action is wholly off the table in Ray Garrity's case...

I thought it pass this moment of ecstasy of a winner

It makes me consider how terrible a place this world must be to live in that the boys see the Walk as a desirable thing to be a part of. No matter what happened to Ray, those few moments of being a Rockstar were worth forfeiting his bleak future.

Definitely went insane. I love this book!

I want to think that the Long walk is a representation of life; people try to get what they want, money, fame, love.. they take risks and do wrong things to reach their goal. Most of them fail, only a minority succeed. But when they succeed they realize that it wasn't worth the sacrifice, and they are scared to live without a goal so they loose their mind.

I just wanna believe that he lived,even if he didn't get a prize. It would be so unfair for him to die after all he went through. He deserved a second chance.

I read through the story as more of a commentary on life. The ending to me just highlights the point that even when it is all said and done (life), when you have done everything you could or have tried a lot that you have wished, after everything is gone (the carrot and the mule analogy), so are you. Garraty finished his walk of life, and then ran into whatever greeted him after. Alive or Dead he had completed the walk and was free.

I always figured that he went insane, but the more I think of it the more i think that maybe he died. I think that the aftermath of there being NO winner of The Prize that year is a much more interesting (so more likely, maybe?) proposition than his going insane. If he went insane then the Major could hide it / gloss over it really easily, but it would be pretty hard to hide the fact that the last Walker had just died right there in the middle of road in full view...

The ending of this book was pretty lazy and meaningless. I think Mr. King got bored while writing this boring book and he just decided to end the story without an actual ending.

I'm not really sure about the ending myself. I've always thought that he died of exhaustion, but I've heard people say that the shadow he sees might be Randall Flagg from The Stand, their defense being that King said in an interview that all of his books coexist in the same universe.

Maybe this book is supposed to have an ending that everyone can interpret in their own way, like that of The Giver..

back to top