P. Loxias reports that since the novel was written, Bradley Pearson died of a fast growing cancer. Right before his death, Pearson asked Loxias if Octavian, the younger lover in Der Rosenkavalier, ever left the older Princess and found a young love of his own. After Loxias confirmed that Octavian did, Pearson tumbled into a slumber from which he never awoke.
Loxias additionally comments upon the nature of the postscripts written by the other characters. In particular, he calls attention to the way that Francis, Rachel, Julian, and Christian all try to promote and glamorize themselves. Furthermore, they all suggest that Bradley was partially in love with them. Loxias suggests that much written in the postscripts is not actually true.
Loxias wanted to publish Bradley Pearson's story because he wanted to give Bradley to opportunity to defend himself. Through Bradley's creation of a piece of literature, Bradley, with Loxias's assistance, is presenting the world with a form of truth, through art. Loxias rebuffs Julian Baffin's assertion that desire cannot motivate art, by saying that it obviously did for Bradley Pearson. In the end, Loxias offers this book as a form of truth in the world, which is something that all people seek and for which purpose art serves.
These fictional postscripts, like the forewords, comment upon the content of the novel. Particularly, the postscripts by the four characters—Francis, Christian, Julian, and Rachel—counter Bradley Pearson's story by reinforcing the unlikely aspects of his tale. Specifically, Rachel and Christian interpret events very differently than Bradley. Although their versions may be equally false, as their constant denials seem to be, their different accounts force us to question the concept of truth in Pearson's story. These postscripts remind us that there is no verified truth in the novel; everything told by Bradley is subjective fiction. These postscripts also attempt to counter our own tendency to give overzealous interpretations. Francis acts like one such reader when he offers an overblown Freudian analysis. While some of his interpretation may be correct, his insistence that much in Pearson's story symbolizes his parents or sexual imagery is ridiculous. By presenting Francis's interpretation in a comic light, Murdoch removes the reader's ability to genuinely offer a similar argument. The postscripts help to guide an appropriate interpretation of Murdoch's novel.
Bradley Pearson's postscript finishes his story by describing his trial and his life in prison. At the same time, it demonstrates the way in which he has genuinely changed. Bradley's tone shifts from that of a cold figure who plots a seduction of Julian to that of a gentler soul. Furthermore, his first truly selfless act is finally documented in this section: he fails to accuse Rachel of the crime of which he is convicted. Although there is ample evidence against Bradley, his paltry attempt to defend himself indicates his unwillingness to upset his beloved Julian by accusing her mother. Such generous behavior is not consistent with Bradley's earlier actions and personality. P. Loxias's account that Bradley died peacefully after hearing how Der Rosenkavalier ends also shows that his love for Julian has made him a gentler soul. The idea that the younger lover, Octavian, finds a new love means that Julian will find one also. Her ability to find future love gives Bradley the comfort he needs to die. Bradley's hope that Julian will live a happy, loving life indicates a full change from the jealous, lustful figure he is at the beginning of the novel.
The postscripts allow Iris Murdoch to directly comment on her philosophy of art, truth, and love. Iris Murdoch believes that truth can be touched on by religion or love and expressed in art. Now that Bradley has realized the same thing, he feels entirely at peace. His transformation in prison should be compared to a similar one in Camus's The Stranger. In both books, the characters accept the need to take action over their own lives and therefore become calmer, even though they are physically confined in prison until their deaths. Although not an existentialist like Camus, Murdoch seems to share the belief that most people, by refusing to understand their own power in plotting their lives, choose to live in virtual prisons. By writing his book and acting less selflessly, Bradley has freed himself. Even though he now lives in a true prison, he feels better than he did before, and is able to ultimately die in peace.