Everything is connected.
Just look at this chart. Just like the 1960’s Marvel Universe (King has referenced Steve Ditko numerous times and wrote part of the X-Men charity comic Heroes for Hope), everything and everyone is connected. I’ve discussed it in several articles this week, but it’s pretty amazing how interrelated everything is.
Everything is mostly in New England.
99% of KIng’s stories feel like they take place within ten miles of his hometown. Here are just a few examples.
Every main character is a teacher. Or a writer. And they have a past.
King started his career as a teacher. Many of his characters are teachers. If not, they are writers.
His characters are always dealing with a past tragedy.
So many of them are escaping a hometown and forced to come back to it. Often they are the survivors of some teenage catastrophe. So many of them have lost a brother and never gotten over that. That may be because King’s father left when he was two years old. And as a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train. He has no memory of the event, however (he also doesn’t remember writing Cujo or directing much of Maximum Overdrive, but that’s another story).
Greasers are jerks.
From Stand by Me to Christine to Sometimes They Come Back, greaser jerks abuse everyone. I wonder how many times a guy with slicked-back hair and a leather jacket broke King’s glasses in middle school.
Everybody has a gang of their own.
The Loser’s Club. Duddits’ protectors in Dreamcatcher. The kids in Stand by Me. The good guys often have an affiliation to childhood friends from their past.
Nobody should ever go back home, though.
As mentioned before, when they finally come back to their childhood home, like Salem’s Lot, nothing good comes of it. Your hometown is filled with repressed memories and often vampires. Stay in the city!
That said, I’ve just spent several weeks writing about his films and been truly entertained (for the most part, The Rage: Carrie 2 is still abusing me like a member of a 50’s gang as I run on the train trestle). I hope that you enjoyed this week of his films. What one is your favorite? Do you have any tropes I missed?
Check out our last Stephen King week.