“The Body” By Stephen King
Stephen King, an acknowledged master of horror, turned out to be a more versatile writer than most of us thought. Published in 1982, the collection “Different Seasons” is a vivid evidence of this fact – it contains quite atypical stories, in which there is no hint of supernatural forces. Nevertheless, they are trembling with the cruelty of the ordinary world.
One of the central compositions is the story “The Body”. It is an autobiographical novel about the beginning of a writer’s life; the leitmotif of the narrative is the conflict with death, which embodies the transition from carefree youth into a mature reality. Four boys, twelve years old, decided to find a friend. He died on the railway. Gordon Lachance, the main character, belongs to a wealthy family but feels forgotten because of his famous brother-football player. His mental state is personified by a book called “The Invisible Human”. People look through him and do not notice what he says – not surprisingly, Gordon is experiencing an identity crisis, as his parents ignore his presence.
After Dennis’s death, the boy becomes even more withdrawn. Parents completely focused on their grief, forgetting about the existence of the youngest child, and Gordon blames himself for being alive. The dominant lesson he will learn from his journey will be the realization of the accidental death. Gordon will cease to feel guilty and will grow stronger in spirit.
Chris Chambers positions himself as the leader of the gang – the persons around him do not expect anything good from him. The boy is trying to get rid of the established reputation, but society rejects his efforts. Getting rid of illusions and loss of authority are not only a hard challenge for the child’s psyche but also a part of moral maturation.
Another character, Teddy Duchamp, was tortured by his father, who was holding his ears above the fire. Violation of hearing constantly reminds him that sometimes even the dearest person can be dangerous. Vern Tessio feels an irresistible horror in front of his brother. He in his own way has a relationship with these two heroes.
King describes a rather gloomy view of the community, consisting of hypocritical and weak adults. The latters are not able to make decisions, to support and preserve the integrity of family ties. A planned mission serves as the embodiment of freedom because these boys do not perceive their home as the focal point of loving people. On the contrary, there are drunk, mentally unbalanced and aggressive persons who cause pain – travel must destroy the vicious circle and strengthen them in their faith.
Any initiation is accompanied by difficulties: on the way to the aim, the boys are expected to be tested. They have to flee from the dog and the train; they go the road of life, each time reinforcing own desire to survive under all circumstances. Our protagonists understand that the initial impression is deceptive because the smooth surface of the pond hides bloodsuckers.
Gordon learns to appreciate the beauty of the moment when he sees the deer in the early morning. All these stages are certain rituals leading to a new identity; the image of the train is also metaphorical because the boys’ life passes between two rails. Having found a corpse, they cease to perceive death as an abstract phenomenon. The final demonstration of masculinity comes after they manage to discourage body rights in adults.
Nuances of Writing Technology
King managed to distinguish in detail the main characters through a skillfully built dialogue with boys. He masterfully describes the landscape features in Maine. In parallel, he is recreating childhood paintings and the typical structure of the American family.
Despite the fact that there is no clearly expressed the theme of love relationships, King offers readers a different treatment of care. It shows a special relationship between children of the same sex and age, united by a common purpose. The author emphasizes the significance of this life stage since it is impossible to meet such a close friendship in the adult world.
It is not casual to choose the seasons. Later summer and early autumn are most suitable for ripening and harvesting – similarly, during the expedition, the boys receive a result that dramatically changes their preferences. Each of them must make his choice. Chris and Gordon have a moral power to break ties with the city, unlike the other two heroes. Chris goes to university, while the second decides to become a writer – it is the letter that aids him to overcome internal crises and share experiences.
Thus, the story “The Body” is a revelation of Stephen King. Through principals, he describes his own path to a writer’s career – the plot itself does not contain elements of horror, but it impresses with its honesty and courage.