Documenting misery, Chartist fiction tends to end miserably. Instinctually collectivist and bent on stressing that only radical political change could constitute resolution, it refuses to demonstrate the efficacy of individual heroics or just narratives that work. The non-fictional prose and much of the poetry surrounding the stories in the periodicals cannot be characterized in the same way as the fiction; it is largely optimistic, even conspicuously triumphant. The discontinuity implies that the fiction had the special function of counteracting the moralist message of mainstream fiction, where endurance or effort or kindness make better worlds, despite registering no sign of a truly better world. But not all Chartist fiction conforms to the rags to ruin formula. A number of stories end happily. Importantly, the happy endings are not the result of individual activity and agency, nor do they confirm a just social system that offers opportunity for success to those who can pull up their socks or roll up their sleeves. Rather, in a number of Chartist stories, a deus ex machina rescues protagonists from what otherwise would be inevitable victimization. In this way, Chartist writers could continue to counter the narrative norms of the day but offer more digestible fiction. Perhaps it would have been asking too much from the reader to tolerate their representatives getting killed off in every bloody story. Because the resolution does not follow from the logic of the narrative, where all aspects of the social world demonstrably punish working people, and because the ending strikes us as odd, as a device or a way out, the resolution itself is called into question. With the enormous gap between the two ends of the contradiction, pleasant resolution within an unmodified social context, stress
falls on the gap itself and the dubious habit of realistic narrative attempting to resolve social tensions through narrative alone. By excessively denying history and process and by maintaining that the working classes have been alienated from the historical process, Chartist fiction again differentiates itself.