Continuing on with the decision from class today, the ending for the book while poignant and more realistic is not the best ending or most hopeful. Theron after his "transformation" from mild mannered minister to a complete jerk leaves the audience with a bad taste in their minds in concerns with him as a character. He is clearly unlikable to the characters in the book or he would not have been dumped repeatedly by almost every main character, but he is also unlikable to the audience who is forced to read his pathetic and self-centered thoughts. This is seen when he discusses his "new" found views or when he repeatedly accuses Alice of being unfaithful with Levi. Even when he is clearly broken by Celia, he appears more pathetic and self-centered instead of pitiable.
His only almost decision after the events at the end may have marked him as a stronger man and in turn made his character actually slightly redeemed and endear pity from the audience. The almost suicide which occurred, while highly weak and an easy way out, makes the most sense in terms of the most people being happy at the end and might have made him even a slight bit selfless. Not to say that suicide is the answer, but his death, on purpose or by accident, would have been the best possible outcome. Alice would be able to marry Levi and live a happy life, where she would be cherished and happy. Celia, Father Forbes, and Dr. Landsmar would feel the weight of their guilt in terms of their manipulation of Theron, and the people of Seattle, Washington would not be forced to endure the likes of Theron Ware. So, as powerful as the ending is in the book, his death would mark the complete illumination/damnation of the character.