Degree Granting Department
American, Formalist, Horror, Popular culture, The Stand
In this dissertation, it is my intention to show how Stephen King transcends genre, creates and maintains a viable Secondary Reality, and treats capably those literary techniques that critics expect of a serious writer. In addition, I will discuss the ways in which King has secured the loyalty of his Constant Reader. The primary means of my analysis will be through a close reading of the "expanded and uncut" version of The Stand, one of the classics in King's arsenal.I will begin with an overview of the general set-up in the novel---the start in Arnette, Texas, the actions of the military and media, and the 99.4% communicability of the flu itself. From there, I will delve into detailed character analyses of the main players in the story, before moving on to questions of the bigger picture---good vs evil, the question of choice, the Stand itself, the issue of government, and the promise of the future. I will conclude with a brief look at King's style and consider the overall reasons for his popular appeal. It is my hope that such a lengthy look at one of King's novels---instead of the brief chapters devoted to each of his novels in turn---will reveal not only the reasons why King is worthy of serious study, but will show that King's work does stand up to in-depth criticism, thereby answering one of the key questions of current King scholarship: is there enough in King to work with? Everybody agrees that King can crank out lengthy novels without much trouble; it is my intention to peak [sic] into the corners and down into the basement, if for no other reason than to find out if there really is a bogeyman hiding in there, or if it is merely an over-inflated rag doll of fandom. Either way, whether the horror be in the text or in the lack of substance in the text, I hope that my examination will lend new insight to the study of The Stand, and perhaps pave the way for other in-depth studies of other King novels.
Scholar Commons Citation
D'Elia, Jenifer Michelle, "Standing up with the King:: A critical look at Stephen King's epic" (2007). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.