Endings: To be happy or not to be happy?

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I was watching an interesting program today, even though I should have been doing something else, and I became rather interested in something I saw, so much so that I actually want to write a story that incorporates a similar idea (it’s a documentary). The thing is, it’s dealing with a grim subject that I’m going to set in the future and, given that, I’m not sure if I want it to end happily.
So my question is this: does a story (and in particular a short story) have to end happily? Could one end a story at an extremely low point, perhaps with some resolution to certain aspects of the story, but with the main character not technically achieving his or her main goal?
What do you all think?

(Don’t click the read more, there isn’t any more after this!)

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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