A bitter Bickford takes his anger out on the college administration until Sarah recovers the book and gives it back to him. Ralph is living happily now, and advises Bickford to pursue his own happiness, saying, "There is no need to be so intense about everything". It's obvious at this point that Bickford has suffered some type of childhood trauma that makes him feel threatened by the idea of happiness.
Professor Adams (Cheryl Hines, Along Came Polly, Our Very Own, Waitress) shows up in the third act of the film as an opportunistic sycophant who offers Bickford a deal for a commercial release of his book. But Bickford sticks to his guns and rejects the offer because he has already found new meaning which cannot even be deciphered from the pages of his unfinished book.
The film comes to a touching conclusion as Bickford explains his refusal to publish the book, reconciles with the D&D group at the Golden Apple, and enjoys a happy romantic liaison with Sarah, for whom he writes an epic sex poem.