Stephen King Book Report

This essay has a total of 2078 words and 8 pages.

Stephen King


Stephen King


Stephen Edwin King is one of today's most popular and best selling writers. King combines
the elements of psychological thrillers, science fiction, the paranormal, and detective
themes into his stories. In addition to these themes, King sticks to using great and vivid
detail that is set in a realistic everyday place. Stephen King who is mainly known for his
novels, has broadened his horizons to different types of writings such as movie scripts,
nonfiction, autobiographies, children's books, and short stories. While Stephen King might
be best known for his novels The Stand and It, some of his best work that has been
published are his short stories such as "The Body" and "Quitters Inc". King's works are so
powerful because he uses his experience and observations from his everyday life and places
them into his unique stories.



Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947, at the Maine
General Hospital. Stephen, his mother Nellie, and his adopted brother David were left to
fend for themselves when Stephen's father Donald, a Merchant Marine captain, left one day,
to go the store to buy a pack of cigarettes, and never returned. His fathers leaving had a
big indirect impact on King's life. In the autobiographical work Danse Macabre, Stephen
King recalls how his family life was altered: "After my father took off, my mother,
struggled, and then landed on her feet." My brother and I didn't see a great deal of her
over the next nine years. She worked a succession of continuous low paying jobs."
Stephen's first outlooks on life were influenced by his older brother and what he figured
out on his own. While young Stephen and his family moved around the North Eastern and
Central United States. When he was seven years old, they moved to Stratford, Connecticut.
Here is where King got his first exposure to horror. One evening he listened to the radio
adaptation of Ray Bradbury's story "Mars Is Heaven!" That night King recalls he "slept in
the doorway, where the real and rational light of the bathroom bulb could shine on my
face" (Beaham 16). Stephen King's exposure to oral storytelling on the radio had a large
impact on his later writings. King tells his stories in visual terms so that the reader
would be able to "see" what was happening in their own mind, somewhat in the same fashion
the way it was done on the radio (Beaham 17). King's fascination with horror early on
continued and was pushed along only a couple weeks after Bradbury's story. One day little
Stephen was looking through his mother's books and came across one named "The Strange Case
of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." After his mother finished reading the book to him, Stephen
was hooked. He immediately asked her to read it again. King recalls "that summer when I
was seven, [my mother] must have read it to me half a dozen times"(Beaham 17). Ironically
that same year, while Stephen was still seven years old, he went to go see his first
horror movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. This is important because Stephen says,
" Since [the movie], I still see things cinematically. I write down everything I see. What
I see, it seems like a movie to me"(Beaham 17). During this year the biggest event that
probably had the biggest impact on Stephen King's writing style was the discovery of the
author H. P. Lovecraft. King would later write of Lovecraft, "He struck with the most
force, and I still think, for all his shortcomings, he is the best writer of horror
fiction that America has yet produced"(Beaham 22). In many of Lovecraft's writings he
always used his present surroundings as the back drop of his stories. King has followed in
his footsteps with the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Castle Rock is a combination
of several towns that King moved to and from with his family in his childhood. The main
town that it resembles is that of Durham, Maine. It was after the exposure to H. P.
Lovecraft's stories that King first began to write.



While growing up and moving around the way his family did, Stephen had never been able to
feel comfortable and settle down in one place and make friends they way other kids his age
did (Underwood 77). Around the age of twelve the King family finally settled in the town
of Durham, Maine. For Stephen King, Durham was the place where his imagination began to
shine. It was at this time that Stephen first began to make friends. Along with his
friends, Stephen would go the movies a lot. Stephen would use the movies as a inspiration.
Although he enjoyed going out and having fun, whenever he would come home, Stephen would
immediately write down his experiences and observations. Frequently King would place his
friends and family into childhood fantasy tales. And one would always know how Stephen
felt about them because of how long they lived in the story. It was not until college that
Stephen King received any kind of real recognition for his writings. In the Fall of 1967,
King finished his first novel, The Long Walk, and turned it into his sophomore American
Literature professor for review. After a couple of weeks and a couple rounds around the
department, the English professors were stunned. They realized that they had a real writer
on their hands. >From then until he graduated with a bachelors degree in English from
University of Maine at Orono in the Spring of 1970, King concentrated on rounding off the
edges of his writing technique.



One short story that best shows the type and technique of Stephen King's writing is "The
Body." "The Body", which has been adapted into to a Hollywood movie, was first published
in the collection of short stories called Different Seasons. The story is a tale of four
twelve year old friends who at the end of one summer go out on a journey in into the woods
to see a dead body. While on their journey they learn about life, friendship, and are
propelled from innocent to experienced. On the surface of the story it appears to be
simple journey with its occasional mishaps, but the true magnificence is that this story
has a strong autobiographical coincidence. The main character, Gordie Lachance, is a boy
growing up on his own through the memory of his dead older brother. Growing up, Gordie, an
avid story teller, dreamed of becoming a writer. Before his brothers accidental death, all
his parents would ever care about was his brother. Since his death, Gordie's parents have
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