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Is there a word to describe when an Author doesn't fully explain a particular scenario, and leaves it rather ambiguous, so that the reader may decide what happened?

SPOILERS for Mockingjay and Life of Pi (mouse over to see):

For example: In Mockingjay, was it Gale who killed Prim?
Life of Pi: Was the whole story fake, with Pi substituting humans as animal form?

So yeah... The word for when an author leaves an ambiguous ending... Is it just called that? an 'ambiguous ending'?

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'Choose your own adventure'? –  Mitch Apr 23 at 11:21
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3 Answers 3

The term for that is an open ending.

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You’re right about your answer to the question, but it reminds me of a closely related matter. Some authors like constructing tales where the parts unsaid are the most important parts. For example, in the modernist first-person narrative style we commonly read in fiction, that narrator is implicitly unreliable, and therefore there can be much more to a tale than one gets in a casual rather than a close reading of the source material. For example, Gene Wolfe is famous for his intricate use of this particular device. –  tchrist Apr 23 at 13:19
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When part of a story is untold, and left for the reader to decide or figure out, you might say it's ambiguous or unstated or unresolved. It might be a cliffhanger if you expect a resolution in some future volume. TvTropes lists several tropes that fit this description, including Riddle For the Ages (warning: do not click on TvTropes links unless you have nothing to do today).

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Thanks for the disclaimer after your link, but I'm afraid it could fail for some reason... –  RomainVALERI May 30 at 9:15
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The term you're looking for is "do-it-yourself ending."

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