' The most effective endings lead us to think again about what we have finished reading,' this is a true statement of the novel Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux, as the ending is imperative to actually push the point of the novel.
Paul Theroux masterminds the novel by leaving it to the very end to let the reader fully understand Allie Fox's character and personality. Throughout the novel Allie is constantly under Theroux's microscope. The reader is getting information and shreds of evidence constantly, to help determine Allies character for themselves. Half of the time believing him to be how Allie sees himself, as a saviour for his family, and the rest, a genius warped by insanity. Theroux leaves it up to the readers to make their own final judgement at the end.
Towards the end of the novel, Allie starts to show that he is losing the respect and control of his family as well as his mind.
He is starting to make rash decisions and generally being tyrannical towards his family. Eventually losing their trust, enough so that eventually Charlie and his brother have to restrain their father and tie him up so he can no longer torment them. This leads to a shootout with the missionaries where Allie is shot and wounded.
Paddling with their father and husband downstream on the Patuca River, in a quadriplegic state, his limbs not working, Allie is only able to speak and scream. Due to Theroux's guidance of Allies character throughout the novel, for the reader it seems likely that he could jump up and regain control over his family and the direction of the novel at any moment. Here, Allies character is used very well to make the reader afraid.
Not only does Theroux use Allies character to its peak of effectiveness, but Charlie's character is used well also. Throughout the novel Charlie has been trained by Allie to overcome any obstacle put in front of him. The reader knows this and can see it very fitting, yet ironic, that in the end, Charlies greatest challenge is to overcome his father, his mentor.
Allies final scene on the turtle beach on the Mosquito Coast is the one that Theroux thinks out extremely well. The Fox family had paddled downstream, after their encounter with the missionaries and Allie had been unaware of the direction. Allie had stated throughout, that to go with the current downstream was to give up, to take the easy way out, to go downstream was to die. For Allie, upstream had been the desired direction, and on the families 'barge-boat-house' going upstream and fighting the current was to prosper, to live on and to succeed. When Allie finally sees the ocean birds above him, he cries out in anguish and hate towards his family and their betrayal of him.
The final words spoken by Allie are to his son Charlie. He says ' Christ is a scarecrow.' This sentence is the point where the readers can clearly now form their opinion about Allie. In this one terrible line Allie manages to sum up why the ending is imperative to the actual story. Is Allie Fox simply an evil man with warped ideas, or in fact a misunderstood gifted man with the true intention of saving his family from the coming problems of the modern world? Paul Theroux orchestrates the entire novel with such direction that whatever you final opinion of Allie Fox, the ending is indeed most effective because it makes you not only think about what you have read, but makes you 'want' to think about what you have read.