A Sense of Hope in Shawshank Redemption, a Book by Stephen King
The only motivating factor for a prisoner of Shawshank is hope. For convicted murderers, the hope of getting free by the legal process is all but nonexistent, at least in a time frame that would matter to them. However, despite the brutal facts of prison life, Red and Andy develop a sense of hope that could not be trifled, and by the end of the novella, both have received what they truly desire.
Red is an interesting character. In the beginning of the novel, he states that he is a murderer, and has no idea what the word rehabilitation even means. However, he also states that, if given a second chance, he would not commit the crime again. He has received three life sentences, and therefore, does not hope to leave the prison. However, he still does see the beauty in life and always hopes to create a better life for himself that what he has now.
“Looking at them, I felt the warmth that any man or woman feels when he or she is looking at something pretty, something that has been worked and made.” (King 40)
As Red sees the hard work that Andy has put into his chess pieces, he feels a sense of hope. He recognizes that beauty can flourish in the worst of circumstances, even in the very prison he calls home. If Andy can create something so creative from such simple objects as rocks from the yard, then Red has to believe anything is possible. At this point, he does not hope for escape or redemption, but to simply enjoy his life that he has created for himself.
“I felt my heart leap up in my chest as it never had since the truck drove me and four others through the gate back in 1938 and I stepped out into the exercise yard.” (King 47)
In this quote, Red looks back to his past to the time when he first arrived. It can be inferred that at this time, he had almost no hope, because he was just one of many prisoners that were in the exact same situation. However, at this moment, his heart is lifted for a new reason. He sees the power that Andy has over the guards, even though he has no weapon or secrets. This fact provides a kind of humorous hope in Red, because even though the guards were clearly superior in every way, Andy still somehow had the high ground on them.
“I opened the envelope and read the letter and then I put my head in my arms and cried.” (King 106)
When Red reads the letter from Andy, he feels an extreme sense of hope and desire. Unlike the character that developed in the beginning, Red now feels a new kind of hope, one for leaving Shawshank and joining the world again.
This final quote recognizes that Red has truly gained hope; to meet his friend, see what Andy has talked about for years, and to begin his new life as a free man. It is this renewed hope that will guide Red through his next journey, of rediscovery and redemption.
Unlike Red, Andy always had a different kind of hope. Whether guilty or not, Andy did not act, speak, or look like a murderer. Andy hoped for redemption, either for the crime he committed or for the one that he did not.
“His eyes never got that dull look. He never developed the walk that men get when the day is over and they are going back to their cells for another endless night—that flat-footed, hump-shouldered walk.” (King 73)
In prison, your mindset will drastically change. A tedious life can turn a lively man into a dull, lifeless creature that lives day by day. This was not Andy. As stated in a quote from Red, Andy never receded to this common state. He never developed the walk of a prisoner, like most of the others had. He was always optimistic and hopeful that his day of redemption would come.
“When I get out of here,” Andy said finally, “I’m going where it’s warm all the time.” He spoke with such calm assurance you would have thought he had only a month or so left to serve. “You know where I’m goin, Red?” “Nope.” “Zihuatanejo…” (King 74)
When Andy first announces his plan to Red, the reader can recognize the eternal hope that is present within Andy. Even in a prison, he continues to have hopes that any ordinary man would have. By this point in the story, Andy’s hope is evident, simply by the way he talks.
“All at once he must have realized that, instead of just playing a game, he was playing for high stakes in terms of his own life and his own future, the highest.” (King 97)
When Red speculates about Andy, he realizes how he could have been so hopeful. When Andy realizes he may be able to escape, this completely renews his optimism. This little game he has been playing no longer was for fun, but now he could realistically escape and start a new life. This optimism is what makes Andy the hopeful character he was.
“Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” (King 106)
This quote essentially proves to the reader that Andy never really gave up on his hope. He came into the prison with redemption on his mind, and left feeling he had accomplished this. He feels that his hope is what led him to what he is now, and therefore is the “best of things”.
Stephen King’s Portrayal of Jack Torrance’s Terrifying Role as Shown in His Movie, The Shining
The Horror Genre Essay
Jack Torrance is one of the most unsettling and terrifying characters that has ever been portrayed on film. This is because, at first, he seems like a normal working man and father, but he slowly turns more sinister during the Shining as he pushes normal roles to the extreme and the hotel has an impact on his sanity. Possibly the creepiest part about Jack is that he was this way the whole time and he didn’t just go crazy when he got to the hotel.
In the beginning, Jack shows signs of his insanity in his control and anger issues. The first we notice Jack’s issues are when his wife is on the phone with the doctor explaining Danny’s “accident.” We find out that when Jack came home he found Danny had messed up his work papers all over the floor so he yanks him up by the arm and injures danny. The second time we notice there’s an issue is when Jack is “working” in the hotel study and his wife comes to check on him and he yells at her, telling her to never bother him when he is working. Both of these incidents show that maybe Jack is not as stable as we thought before.
Once they move into the hotel, we see a drastic escalation of Jack’s erratic behavior. He isolates himself, rarely talking to his wife when they get to the hotel. He treats her like a nuisance and alienates her further. His crazy behavior turns to paranoia when he starts suspecting that his wife is telling danny that he would hurt her and Danny. The situation continues to escalate rapidly when Danny is hurt again and Wendy blames it on Jack, which causes Jack to go look for alcohol. The alcohol drives him deeper into madness, and when Wendy comes to Jack and tells him that Danny was attacked by an old woman, he questions her sanity. He then goes to investigate the room where the woman was sighted and he sees a naked woman there. He is seduced and kisses the woman, only to find out he was kissing an old decaying corpse. He never questions his own sanity, and he lies to his wife, telling her that nothing is in the room.
A few other instances that show Jack’s decline into insanity are when Jack is standing in front of a window staring menacingly at his wife and son who are playing in the snow outside; when Jack is talking to his son and telling him he can’t sleep because he has too much work to do; and when he tells his son that he loves it at the hotel and he wishes they could stay there forever and ever; and Jack dreams a violent nightmare during the day about killing his son and his wife. Each of these incidents shows the viewer that Jack is becoming more and more entrenched in the madness of the hotel and his own insanity.
However, Jack’s true character is revealed to the audience when Jack’s wife comes to talk to him about their son and she makes the horrifying discovery that all Jack’s “work” was really just the typed words: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again. It is even more unsettling for the audience to see that there are pages and pages of nothing but those words repeating. So when Jack started to work as soon as they moved into the hotel, he’d begun typing these words only. Jack was disturbed even at the beginning of his stay at the hotel before the audience even suspected there was anything wrong.
Finally, the breaking point comes when Jack meets Mr. Grady who informs Jack that he (Jack) has been the caretaker of the hotel all this time. This episode convinces Jack, by some trick of the imagination, that he must “correct” his son for bringing help to the hotel. So Jack tries to kill his son and his wife. All of these occurrences added together with Jack’s disturbed mind show how he was “wired” this way going into the hotel scenario, which only made the whole situation worse. Therefore Jack was deranged before entering the hotel, only the audience wasn’t in on the information.
A Literary Analysis of The Onion Article Bangor Police Bring in Stephen King to Help Track Demonic Car That Killed Woman
The article that is being analyzed is a mock press release from The Onion. The headline says it all “Bangor Police Bring in Stephen King to Help Track Demonic Car That Killed Woman.” Indubitably, this is an allusion to his bestselling novel and movie “Christine” about a car possessed by supernatural forces.
The article begins by Bangor Police bring in Stephen King to help track down a demonic car that killed a woman, detectives “confirmed they are hoping King’s specialized insight will help them locate the bloodthirsty and allegedly homicidal vehicle.” The article uses anthropomorphism by the usage of “bloodthirsty and allegedly homicidal vehicle” The article also states that due to King’s knowledge of demonic cars he was able to set the scene and determine what happened when the Bangor P.D. didn’t.
In the third paragraph The Onion depicts King with a “cane” and “hobbling”. King uses repetition by saying “So you’ve got no means, no motive, and no opportunity…” In the following the police chief says the “celebrated novelist and longtime Maine resident has assisted with a number of high-profile cases over the years, including one in which a telekinetic teenager destroyed a local high school gym and another in which a bloodsucking undead being and his elderly caretaker conspired to turn all the residents of a nearby town into vampires.” Clearly the writer is talking about another one of Stephen King novels “Salem’s Lot” and “Carrie”.
The article comprises of personification by saying the car has “…a taste for blood, it’s going to start seeking revenge on anyone it feels may have wronged it.” “That means the clock’s ticking if we want to prevent another murder. “Is another literary device that King uses instead of actually saying hurry up before another murder takes place. The article makes sure the reader recalls that King is an author, by stating “the award-winning writer”, “bestselling author”, and “the author”.
In summation, through the use of satirical rhetorical strategies The Onion created an overall witty and humorous article. Despite the fact that King is just an author not a certified crime scene technician but still the Bangor Police used the author to solve a crime similar to the plot of one of his novels.
The Use of Irony to Emphasize Human Nature in Stephen King’s Popsy and Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron
Response to “Popsy” & “Harrison Bergeron”
In Popsy, by Stephen King, irony is used to make a point about human nature. Though this story is unrealistic and somewhat far-fetched, details make it seem realistic until the very end. The story begins with the main character, Sheridan, arriving to the Cousintown Mall. We soon discover that he is looking for a child to kidnap in order to pay back gambling debts. Upon finding a prime target, Sheridan initiates contact, discovering the boy had lost his ‘Popsy’. After some work, he gets the boy into his van, handcuffs him, and drives off to deliver him to Mr. Wizard. First, we have irony in the ease with which Sheridan kidnaps the boy. Passers-by see him talking to the boy, and solely based on his appearance decide that the situation is okay, and that Sheridan is a good guy, saying “A woman headed in glanced around with some vague concern.
‘It’s all right,’ Sheridan said to her, and she went on” (Popsy). By saying this, King shows that not everything or everyone is what or who it seems to be. This woman seemed concerned, but after seeing this normal looking guy, and his saying that everything was fine, she deemed that the situation was okay. Ironically, this seemingly normal guy was in the process of kidnapping a child. Also ironically, the boy continuously warns Sheridan about the capabilities of his Popsy, that he is very strong, can fly, and will find him. Sheridan’s disbelief becomes ironic once Popsy literally lands on the moving vehicle and we find out that Popsy can, in fact, fly. The boy had tried to tell Sheridan, but he had not listened to his warnings. This story also points to the fact of human nature, that people will do whatever it takes to survive. Sheridan owes money to the wrong people, and the only way to save himself is by kidnapping children and delivering them to Mr. Wizard. Though there are signs that he does not like doing this, ultimately the message is conveyed that he, and humans in general, will do whatever is necessary to survive.
Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut, also uses irony to say something about human nature. This story, though more of a sci-fi story than horror, also uses details to make a futuristic, unrealistic story seem realistic or relatable. Set in the future, this story tells the reader of a world where everyone is equal. No one can be better than anyone else, and anyone born with a skill or talent has it taken away from them by the government. However, everyone is accepting of this world since they believe it is better than the old way, saying of the past “Pretty soon we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?” (2). They refer to the past as the ‘dark ages’, implying its horridness, and also point out that neither of them would wish to be back in that time. Ironically, though they describe the past as horrible, the world that they currently live in is actually horrible. However, they are accepting of their new world and do not wish to break from it. This is seemingly part of human nature, not wanting to break from the norm or be different.
What I learned from these stories:
From these stories, I learned that it is possible to write of incredible things or fictional futuristic worlds, while still seeming realistic to the reader. King and Vonnegut somehow describe in great detail these things that do not exist, and still make them easily imaginable. Such as in Popsy, when I read the scene that Popsy lands on the van, it did not seem crazy or far-fetched, it just flowed with the rest of the story.
The Characterization of Roland in The Gunslinger, a Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
“An impressive work of mythic magnitude…may turn out to be Stephen King’s greatest literary achievement” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. World renowned author Stephen King, never fails to deliver with his masterful storytelling, and “The Dark Tower The Gunslinger” is no different. King spends an incredible amount of time building this world, a kind of post-apocalyptic landscape, he describes as “a world that’s moved on,”and immersing us in it, giving us every smell, taste, sound, everything to make us feel as though we are standing next to Roland (even when we don’t want to be). Speaking of Roland, King gives us a good idea of the kind of man our main character is right off the bat, we know from the beginning that he is stern and unrelenting, he has a single mission in life and he will do whatever it takes to finish it. However it isn’t that simple, we learn through the inner-monologues Roland has and even through his actions that he’s very complex, like all humans should be, he’s not simply some “strong, silent type” character troupe, he has a lot of depth to him and is constantly struggling with inner turmoil, as we learn about Roland’s past we sympathize with him and realise that, though he may not act like it, he’s just as human as the rest of us.
“The Gunslinger” is the first book in “The Dark Tower” series. While each book does stand on its own, King has described the series as “never really separate stories at all, but sections of a single long novel called The Dark Tower,” and it shows, as the plot, at first, isn’t very apparent and the majority of this book is about giving us background to the world and the characters (especially Roland). Even so, that doesn’t make the book boring, not by a long shot, there are a few exciting action moments, as well as some shocking and unsettling descriptions of events that will most definitely peak the reader’s interest (for better or for worse). To put it short, the first story in “The Dark Tower” is a fantastic read, I believe most people will be hooked by this fascinating world and unique personalities that King spends so much time developing, and people will stay to see where it all leads, to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and they won’t be disappointed with what they find.
A Comparison of The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe and The Cat from Hell by Stephen King
Depicted in the acclaimed short story “The Black Cat” (1843) by master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe and “The Cat From Hell” (1977) by contemporary horror brilliance, Stephen King is a composition of suspense strategies, which engenders fear and curiosity that allows authors to manipulate their audience. Both pieces were initially published in an American magazine, Poe’s in an issue of the United States Saturday Post during the Romanticism and King’s in Post-Modernism Cavalier. However, despite the fact these tales give the impression of being abundantly alike in terms of feline revenge, the application of techniques in “The Black Cat” vastly differs from that of “The Cat From Hell” as a result of the authors’ contrasting background and respective time period.
To begin with, both tales incorporate an unusual situation where in a cat is ‘responsible’ for vengeance. King and Poe are both seen to favor descriptive language and personification to build a visual image of his characters and furthermore hint its paranormal symbolism. An instance would be from the latter’s tale where the speaker accuses the cat of plotting murder against him, “The cat,-, nearly [threw] me headlong.” In King’s piece, the speaker uses descriptive language in “Its face was an even split: half black, half white.” With context of his Post-Modernism period, this is a plausible reference to how the cat’s appearance mirrors the balance of the scale of justice.
Another unassailable instance of resemblance is that both stories render an unusual character. Both narratives use characterization to cast a personality that is unreliable, developing a sense of uncertainty and confusion in the audience. Poe’s speaker confesses how his attitude had completely aggravated through fiend alcohol addiction. In a 1977 publication (“Grappling with the Monster”), author T.S Arthur states how alcohol was deemed an anathema thus preventing individuals from thinking lucidly in the mid-19th century. Similarly, King’s Drogan- who deems the cat demonic- is also head of the biggest drug company in the fictional world. His corporation supplies Tri-Dormal-phenobarbin, which allegedly contains “mild hallucinogen” and is “habit-forming”. This suggests that Drogan might have been consuming his own goods and therefore hallucinating everything.
Despite these patent similarities, the two seemingly same tales of horror in fact share a handful of pivotal differences.
One evident difference is the respective authors’ take on an unusual setting. In “The Black Cat”, Poe uses limited to no imagery with regards of communicating the setting except its darkness. He is well aware that ambiguity can manipulate the audience into discomfort as information is being withheld. On the other hand, King extensively incorporates visual, tactile and auditory imagery majorly using descriptive language to build a vivid illustration of a bleak and abandoned setting. The contrast may be a consequence of their respective eras. As a part of Romanticism, Poe’s stylistic choices include less direct, poetic imagination and romantic irony to remain prosaic. Post-Modernism horror on the contrary, relies on graphic descriptions in order to level with animation and films.
Another dissimilarity that is present is the application of ironic devices. Although both tales convey situational irony, “The Black Cat” manifests duality in harming the pet (Pluto) the speaker once claimed to be his “ favorite pet and playmate”. On the other hand, King’s piece depicts the element of surprise as a domestic cat annihilates a professional hit man. With both authors coming from a relatively broken home with the absence of a father figure, the human-feline relationship that occurs in the story perhaps is how Poe and King perceive and approaches their past relationships with their family.
A final difference encountered within the stories is the implementation of foreshadowing. In Poe’s piece, the gallows formed from the white section of the second cat’s fur foreshadows the speaker’s death; hung as a consequence of murdering his wife. He takes this sign seriously and does not let his guard down. On the other hand, King’s character, Halston, felt that cats were designed specifically as “killing machines” and were the “hitters of the animal world” but decides to neglect this thought, preferring to think logically. This eventually leads to his death. Poe’s isolation-triggered psychological deprivation in his childhood is a possible inspiration of the paranoia seen in his speaker. As for King, he is seen to be more inclined to characters that the general audience would relate to in order to increase sales, as that is how he makes a living.
On the surface, techniques these influential authors used to build suspense in stories “The Black Cat” and “The Cat From Hell” are akin to one another, but scrutinized, they share numerous contrasting elements under the circumstances of their respective context and period. Although both stories apply likewise unusual situations and characters, Poe’s implementation of unusual settings, ironic devices and foreshadowing distinguishes itself from that of Stephen King’s. Nevertheless, both short stories display a plethora of valid devices and techniques that encapsulates the ideas and environment of two distinct yet equally legendary macabre geniuses.
A Contrast Between the Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell and ‘salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Rationalizing the Supernatural in Horror Novels
Stephen King, often declared the greatest and most successful contemporary horror novelist wrote that, “the great literature of the supernatural often contains the same ‘let’s slow down and look at the accident’ syndrome.” (King, Nightshift xv). This refers to the guilty fascination readers feel as they are captivated by the gruesome details of horror literature. Both Alden Bells’ The Reapers are the Angels and Stephen King’s own ‘salem’s Lot rely on the phenomenon to create an enthralling story. Most people cannot deny that they feel compelled to admire a tragic wreck that is completely out of the ordinary, and this same instinct makes horror literature, like those mentioned, so successful. When in a car wreck, survivors are concerned with their safety and survival and can’t fully take in the details of the situation. Others who drive by, however, tend to slow down and look at the wreck, because they aren’t in danger and have the mental capacity to look at the details of the wreck. They can consider and comprehend the terrifying accident that happened. Similarly, horror novels allow readers to experience the supernatural and the morbid without being overwhelmed by their own fear, but rather they can inspect and approach the supernatural and morbid rationally.
Alden Bell’s novel, The Reapers are the Angels takes place in a world of morbidity. Temple fights for survival in a world that has been mostly taken over by the undead, where “slugs” or “meatskins” are hungry for human flesh. She encounters fellow humans, some who help her and some who are enemies, as she moves nomadically throughout the United States. She is distant from characters and rejects living in one home, after the death of her younger brother, Malcolm, who she felt she was solely responsible for. Her world involves constant running and fighting, displaying constant fearlessness as most readers would not survive a day among the undead. Morbid images, involving human flesh, blood and carcasses are a reality for Temple. There are many parts of the horror novel that go into great detail of how a human body is torn apart, something that an ordinary person would never see or experience. One example of this is when part of Temple’s pinky finger is chopped off, and she is fixing it up again. “It’s gone just above the first knuckle, a clean cut through the bone that shows as a yellow twig poking through at the end. She uses her other hand to draw the skin up over the end of the bone and pinch it shut like a foreskin… now just run a thread through there a few times and tie it off. It’ll be okay.” (Bell, The Reapers are the Angels Ch. 4) This is situation is really out of the ordinary for most readers, who most likely wouldn’t be able to thread half their finger closed without getting sick. However, Temple’s tone makes this seem like a very normal occurrence. This tone is also expressed when she kills Abraham Todd, thinking, “Why do the livin and dyin always have to be just half an inch apart? She goes to the desk and takes a ballpoint pen from the drawer and puts the tip of it in his nostril and drives it upward sharp and hard with the heel of her hand to keep him from coming back.” (Bell, The Reapers are the Angels Ch. 3) Most people aren’t murderers and would be extremely shocked in such a situation; probably too shocked to recount memories or make snarky remarks. Throughout the book, Temple is constantly facing dead bodies and other extremely morbid things, which she describes in great detail to readers. Her responses and feelings during these situations are rational and calm, or at least calmer that any regular person would react. She describes horrifying situations with great detail so that readers can understand and experience the situation; neither Temple nor the reader is too overwhelmed by fear to comprehend the situation of fear. Rather, readers are fascinated by the situation, as Stephen King suggests we do in his forward to Nightshift.
‘salem’s Lot exemplifies the author’s own claim about horror novels. Ben Mears, the main character of the horror novel, is an author staying in his childhood town to research for his new novel. During his stay he makes some friends and attempts to protect the people of the town as they transform into vampires. Without success, he leaves with the one other survivor, leaving the town empty of living humans. The detailed explanations that King uses to describe the morbid occurrences of the story create a novel that captivates readers. One of these occurrences was when Ben staked the vampire of Susan, his girlfriend. “Death had not put its mark on her. Her face was blushed with color, and her lips, innocent of make-up, were a deep and glowing read. Her forehead was pale but flawless, the skin like cream. Her eyes were closed, and the dark lashes lay snootily against her cheeks… Yet the total impression was not of angelic loveliness but a cold, disconnected beauty.” (King, ‘Salem’s Lot Ch. 14 Pt. 15) The undead are monsters that we expect to appear frightening, but we don’t understand why we would feel frightened by them, until an author like King describes the beauty of a vampire like Susan and we understand why we feel uneasy. Further in the chapter, as Ben is staking her body, “blood gushed upward from the stake’s point of entry in a bright and astonishing flood, splashing his hands, his shirt, his cheeks. In an instant the cellar was filled with its hot, coppery odor.” This description is fascinating to readers, because in the situation we would not be able to comprehend what was happening, as we would be overwhelmed by fear. When we read about this shocking scene of the story, we experience it without fear distracting us from the details. Readers can slow down the situation and inspect the details of it, similar to how one would slow down to stare at a car wreck.
The style and structure of the book itself is filled with extraordinary detail, even though the conclusion of the story is an empty town void of humans. The novel cycles through several different characters’ viewpoints and storylines. When looking at the storyline, many of the details and additional characters would not have actually been necessary in reaching the same conclusion. For example, the story of Dud Rogers, who lived by and maintained the Jerusalem’s Lot’s Town Dump, was described in painful detail. It described his introverted personality, his appreciation of setting the dump on fire, his angry thoughts and his habit of shooting rats (King, ‘Salem’s Lot Ch. 3 Pt. 10). References and connections between Dud and other community members were very rare and insignificant, and his fate was death and rising as a vampire like all the other people of the town, posing the question of whether his role in the book was important. Although it seems really distracting when following the story line, especially because he is only one of many minor characters that each carry their own complicated story and personality, he played a role in the overall effect of the story, along with all of these minor characters. ‘Salem’s Lot is not a story of some individual vampires or even the horrific death of a group of innocent people, but rather how an entire town died. The detail given to characters like Dud contribute to formation of the town. They are important in making readers realize that this is not Ben Mears and his friends’ story, but the story of ‘Salem’s Lot. The detail also contributes to King’s “slow down and look at the accident” syndrome. With this full understanding of the community, readers can also better comprehend the death of the town. Something so morbid and horrific as the fall of a town to vampires is really irrational and incomprehensible to people, because it is extremely out of the ordinary and in this case isn’t truly possible. The detail that King’s novel features creates an understandable explanation for this town’s unexplainable and terrifying status, and this is what captures readers.
In his forward, King explains why appealing to this obsession with morbidity is effective in attracting readers. Most of our fears are irrational, or the way we approach them is irrational. We know that vampires, zombies and the supernatural do not exist, but we are afraid of them nonetheless. The forward uses an example that most people can relate to; we make sure our entire body is under the covers when we are in bed, in fear of a cold hand reaching out from under the bed, and where this hand may drag us. We can’t comprehend this fear because we feel it despite knowing it is irrational. However, horror novels, like those mentioned, approach these fears in a very rational way, as exemplified by both The Reapers are the Angels and ‘salem’s Lot. The rational descriptions and approaches to supernatural horrors in some horror literature interest readers, because they can finally achieve comprehension of their irrationality. This is fascinating to readers not because they are fascinated by morbidity, death and the supernatural, but because they can understand fears that were previously beyond their understanding. These horror novels are an opportunity for readers to slow down and think about supernatural horrors rationally without being under the influence of their own fear.
Similarities Between The Main Character Jack Of The Shining And Its Author Stephen King
One of the most influential and arguably the most popular writer of suspense novels during the 21st century, King bears all his fears and secrets in the terrifying novel The Shining. King unknowingly writes à gothic autobiography as he projects his life struggles and ideals onto the character Jack from The Shining. He gives Jack his personality, his life struggles, his fears and his addictions. Jack and King have very similar lifestyles they both were school teacher who also coached the debate team but felt trapped and disliked their job as à teacher because it took too much time and energy away from writing. Both characters struggle with overcoming alcoholism and the fear of not being able to provide for their family.
Stephen King writes The Shining in front of à mirror as he relates events from his past such as his struggles with alcoholism, fears of being his father and the struggle to provide for his family to The Shining and projects his problems, past mistakes and regrets on to Jack Torrance The Google dictionary defines mirrors as “a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image. ” Stephen King doesn’t clearly see himself as the alcoholic raging father jack was, King subconsciously writes The Shining’s main character Jack when relating him to his personal life he says that“ I was the guy who had written The Shining without even realizing that I was writing about myself, ”. Stephen King uses a gothist’s mirror while written about Jack in The Shining, to gothists a mirror only stands to represents the negative aspects of one’s life and this is what Kings does, he gives Jack his worst parts, he gives him the need and desire to do the “bad thing. ” To gothists a mirror equals a double and a double equals a doppelganger, which is basically an even more evil you, and if you see this doppleganger you have to kill it, as it is evil, Jack is Kings doppelganger, as King convinces himself that he Jack is worse than him, by making Jack break Danny’s arm or almost kill a kid, things that make him better than Jack. These scenes allow king to lessen the guilt he carries by making jack more evil in effort to prove he is nothing like the abusive and violent Jack Torrance. King’s struggles with alcoholism, fears of becoming his father and the struggle to provide for his family all relate to The Shining as king projects his problems, past mistakes and regrets on to Jack Torrance Jack struggles through many of the problem that Stephen King faced in real life. King also connects his thought about kids and other ideals into this book as Jack.
During an interview King talks about the rage he felt towards his children when he was struggling just life although he doesn’t act on it like Jack, King felt years of guilt for the fear of not being able to support his family like Jack does when he pictures “Danny with his arm in a cast”. This data helps support my claim of the personal anger and guilt King puts into Jack and The Shining. The Shining’s scene where Jack breaks Danny’s arm is, Kings way of saying that he isn’t Jack Torrance, it’s a way of saying that he isn’t his father either the same problems and fears that the characters share are related and are even carried on into The Shining sequel doctor sleep where Danny has grown up and fears turning into his father just like King and Jack do. Stephen King’s father left when he was only about 2 years old, he grew up in a life of poverty just like Jack and they both tried everything they could to support their family. One of King’s fears is turning into his father he has the need to prove that he is nothing like him, and in the end King does manage to do that as he gets sober and becomes a world famous author, Jack fears this and tries his best not to be he father, he quits drinking and stays with his family, he doesn’t leave them to fend for themselves even though he often thinks about suicide. Jack wises nothing but to control his violence “Dear God, I am not a son of a bitch. Please”. Even in doctor sleep Danny hopes to be anything but his father. King obviously has had some issues with his father walking out on his mother and him leaving them alone and poor. He seems to associate these problems quite clearly with Jack and Danny, they both want to be nothing like their father.
Both King and Jack try to do what’s best for their kids try to give than a good life, like King, Jack also used to go to soccer games with his son. Both characters have the fear to turing into their fathers and do everything they can to prove otherwise. The Shining reflects Stephen King’s past experiences and struggles with alcoholism and being an ideal father figure to his family through the characteristics of Jack Torrance.
Analysis Of Gerald’S Game By Stephen King – A Great Example Of Psychological Horror Genre
Stephen King wrote one of his most successful novels, Gerald’s Game in 1992. The novel, much like many of his others, quickly became a New York Times #1 Best Seller. The book has recently been adapted into a very popular Netflix original movie.
Gerald’s Game revolves around a woman named Jessie Burlingame. Jessie and her husband Gerald take off on a romantic weekend trip to try to revive what we soon find out is a dying (no pun intended) marriage. Gerald is a wealthy lawyer with a clandestine hunger for power and dominance. Jessie is a meek and dutiful wife, with some secrets of her own, willing to do almost anything to rekindle her marriage, until Gerald takes things a little too far. In a last desperate attempt to revive their passion Gerald handcuffs both of Jessie’s wrists to the bed posts and asks her to play the part of a rape victim, screaming for help. Jessie half-heartedly plays along but quickly becomes uncomfortable and when Gerald doesn’t listen to her genuine pleas to stop she kicks him off of her which ensues a heated argument.
In the middle of the argument Gerald dies of a heart attack and falls onto the floor at the foot of the bed. Jessie is left in the handcuffs, alone, except for a stray dog that comes in to feed on Gerald’s body, in a home conveniently located in the middle of nowhere. As Jessie, realizes there is little hope of her surviving, her mind begins to slip. As Jessie becomes dehydrated, starving, and scared, she loses her grip on reality. She is haunted by Gerald, a version of herself, her traumatic past, and a tall deformed figure she believes to be Death waiting to take her. Gerald’s Game plays on the fragile state of someone’s mind in a time with so little hope or will to survive, and a journey to rediscovery and acceptance.
Genre: Psychological Horror/Horror Fiction
Psychological horror is a sub-genre that relies on cognitive, emotional, and subconscious aspects to unnerve or frighten the reader. In this genre writers typically create characters with unstable or fragile psychological states. A writer like Stephen King writes a psychological horror novel aiming to create fear by exposing common psychological and emotional vulnerabilities and bringing to light the darker parts of the human psyche that most people choose to repress or deny.
When you think about a book/movie that is about a woman being trapped on a bed in the same room the whole entire time you think, how can they keep this going? Stephen King has never been one to tread lightly on any subject, he is not a subtle writer in any way. If there is a message King is trying to get across, you will see it by the end of the book, maybe after a little traumatization. But, he means well. Gerald’s Game is a story about sexual assault, a story about a woman trapped in a cycle of victimization since she was just a child.
In Gerald’s Game there’s no typical monster with sharp fangs, glowing eyes or big hairy claws. But, much more palpable villains; the wild mangy dog, the stalking serial killer, all mirror the impalpable demons in her mind. The external gruesomeness of watching the dog come in and out of the room, clicking its nails covered in Gerald’s blood on the hardwood floor, tearing off pieces of his flesh and sitting down in the doorway to eat them like a gourmet meal is horrifying enough. But the internal monsters Jessie faces are much worse. Unable to escape the room her mind takes over and reanimates a version of Gerald and a more empowered, determined version of herself. The two entities begin a moral inquisition about the difficulties of their marriage and how past trauma can familiarize with your present choice of partner. All while taunting Jessie, forcing her to come to terms with and overcome her circumstances, and throwing her back into the memories of her childhood. Memories that should be felt with nostalgia but for Jessie are felt with horror and pain. Jessie’s coming of age story is defined by survival and repression rather than empowerment. We see this in the movie adaption of Gerald’s Game by being shown these memories through the hellish red of a solar eclipse. A day on the lake with her family turns into a “…window into a world that has been darkened by broken trust and a darkened sun…” at the hands of her own father. For the rest of her life up until this point Jessie has blamed herself, the typical mindset of a victim of sexual assault. Jessie’s inward justifications are critical to the storyline and her progression as a character. King uses the gory details of the incident to make the reader/watcher feel uncomfortable, sympathize with Jessie, and come to understand the reasons behind her hidden secret. We are exalted when she comes to face the truth and we feel liberated, with her, when she finally accepts her father’s role. While Jessie is facing this liberation in her mind she is also “coming back to life” in the real world. She is able to cut her wrist and free herself from the handcuffs just as she has freed herself from her past. A weight is lifted off of the reader/watcher’s chest as we see hope for Jessie’s future.
Gerald’s Game is not the typical horror story. But, that is the beauty of the psychological horror genre. There are scenes in Gerald’s Game that do strike fear into the physical senses; the mangy dog eating Gerald’s corpse, the all-too-real man who watches Jessie at night, the gut-wrenching visual of the skin of her hand sliding off to come through the handcuff. All enough to make anyone squirm. But it’s the much more tangible horrors Jessie must face within her own psyche. The “voices in her head” help the reader/watcher to understand the deep-rooted repression of a traumatic memory, therefore providing insight into the world of a sexual-assault victim. Gerald’s Game works as an pathway towards providing viewers with the realities of sexual misconduct. Gerald’s Game is a story about confronting pain and abuse, and drawing strength from the psychic wounds you are left with, a story about hope that is still attainable in a society rooted deep with destructive male sexuality. Jessie is a representation of today’s woman, for the reclamation of feminine self, and the abdication of forced silence in the name of “love” and devotion.
There must be something special about hotels that makes people’s imagination inhabit them with ghosts, poltergeists, and other supernatural beings. We can find countless stories dedicated to this subject not only in literature and cinema, but in real life as well a lot of hotel keepers all over the world use ghost stories as a bait for trusting tourists. There is indeed something spooky about living in a room in which, as a tourist booklet states, there was a murder, or it is contended that the hotel is as eerie to stay at as the hotel in the book “The Shining.”
Speaking of Stephen King’s literature legacy, there is a hotel in Colorado that served the writer as a direct prototype for his story of the Torrance family. It is called the Stanley Hotel, and was built by F. O. Stanley, the inventor of Stanley Steamer automobiles in 1907, and the hotel opened in 1909. The ghost problem started only two years later when the hotel’s housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson suffered from electrocution during a strong thunderstorm. Surprisingly, she did not die from it, but since that event, the hotel in particular, room 217 became the center of paranormal activity.
Visitors and staff reported mysterious figures appearing and disappearing in the hotel’s rooms and corridors, packages and bags being found unpacked, lights turning on and off on their own, and so on. Many people heard children’s laughter on the stairs, including Stephen King himself in 1973, him and his wife stayed in the Stanley Hotel for a night, and it was enough for the writer to gather enough inspirational material to write a huge novel, “The Shining.” Apart from childish giggling, King reported to have witnessed some kind of ghostly event in the hotel’s ballroom, and the references to this may be found in both the novel and Stanley Kubrick’s adaption. Although all this may sound rather scary, there have never been cases of sinister or tragic events connected to ghosts in the Stanley Hotel, so perhaps this is why these events are cherished Mapquest Travel.
There are, however, hotels with much more tragic and eerie stories in their past. The Bokor Palace hotel and casino in Cambodia, for instance, witnessed perhaps too much tragedy and violence to have remained an hospitable place. To cut the long story short, during the period of Khmer Rouge’s reign, Bokor Palace served as a place in which hundreds (or even thousands) of people had been executed before this, it was used as a base during the Vietnamese invasion in Cambodia in the 1940s. The unique, heavy atmosphere surrounding the place inspired several horror movies, including Matt Dillon’s “City of Ghosts” and a Korean film “R-Point.” Local people say that Bokor Palace is haunted by a large number of spirits, and if you walk past it, you will be able to hear dead people walking in its walls.
There are hotels known for unsolved murders that occurred inside their walls; sometimes, such murder cases resulted in the hotel being haunted years later. However, there are also cases when it is unclear whether someone’s death preceded paranormal possession, or resulted from it. Such is the case of Claypool Hotel, Indiana; in 1943, Corporal Maoma Ridings checked into the Hotel, intending to spend a couple of days at Camp Atterbury. However, several days later, she was found in her room dead, half-naked, and mutilated. One of the staff members recalled that when he once delivered ice to Corporal Ridings’ room, from behind the door, he noticed a silhouette of a woman sitting on the bed; the woman was dressed in black from head to toe, and was not noticed to have had entered or exited the room. Needless to say, this woman was never identified; it is unclear whether it was a ghost or not, and the murder of Maoma Ridings remains unsolved even today.
The Ghost Diaries. Modern folklore continues to inhabit hotels with ghosts, evil spirits, and poltergeists. Sometimes it is done for entertainment, often to attract customers craving thrilling experiences, or wishing to somehow diversify their rest. However, there are hotels whose ghost stories are not far-fetched, and have been inspired by gruesome or strange events. Such is the story of Bokor Palace Hotel, whose walls witnessed mass killings during the reign of Khmer Rouge; such is the story of Claypool Hotel, in which there occurred one of the most mysterious murders in the United States of the 20th century, and which could have possibly been committed by a supernatural entity.
Such is, to some extent, the story of Stanley Hotel and even though nobody died there, there were certain unpleasant events preceding the surge of paranormal activity in its walls. There are undoubtedly many more hotels inhabited by ghosts; abandoned or still in use, they await new visitors to scare them to death.