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denouement - vocabulary

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denouement - noun

The final resolution of a plot or play; also used to describe the ultimate outcome of a doubtful series of events.

A young professor I watched in action at one of our large eastern colleges used to stand with his back to the class and mumble explanations of blackboard problems. He was “let out” at the end of two years because students refused to attend his classes. He was given an evasive reason for his dismissal and he left with justifiable bitterness toward the administration. If someone had told him the truth he could have avoided this denouement. Sometimes professors go on for years without any conception of remediable faults which irritate their listeners.

—Mary Barnett Gilson What’s Past Is Prologue (1940)

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