Lester and Carolyn are bonds that no …show more content…
We can't be certain as to whether Carolyn will be better off or worse past the time of the film.
At the very end -- not speculating about what will or might happen after -- Lester is in some ways better off, since he did turn his life around and was, for a few moments, happy, and in some ways worse off, since he is dead.
Jane is in some ways worse off (her father has been killed), and in some ways better, due to her experiences with Ricky, and her still-continuing relationship with him.
Carolyn is worse off -- she's more miserable than at the start, and she just might have killed Lester herself, had not Fitts done it first.
For the Burnhams, the answer is simple: they are a family. The daughter is still a minor, so of course she will be living with one or both parents. The married couple no longer have much love for one another, nor are they physically intimate. They have emotionally shut one another out. So why remain together? Until she begins an affair with Buddy, she probably doesn't think there's anything much better out there.
Before: a lonely family filled with hostility, loneliness, spiritual emptiness, falsity, and superficiality.
After: a smaller family -- Lester has died, but at least he achieved some fleeting honesty and happiness. He connected with someone else, took charge of his