Steven King Paper


Word Count: 1792


"If you have an imagination, let it run free." -
Steven King, 1963 The King of Terror
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