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"Ulitmately Everything Is Frightening" A Comparison Of " The Shining" And The Shawshank Redemption By Stephen King

1584 words - 6 pages

Stephen King- SHANTIBAN SHANMUGAMQuestion: Ultimately everything is fearful. To what extent is this true in his novels?Fear is defined by Webster’s dictionary as a feeling of apprehension caused by a past, present or impending event. Fear is a learned behaviour, we are not born with it, but establish it throughout the course of our lives.Through his many texts Stephen King has rendered the notion of fear to an almost impenetrable wall that we as humans have set up around ourselves through knowledge and past experience, making everything and anything seem fearful. Through the use of characterisation King has encouraged the reader to deduce that fear is only what each and every single perceives it to be, so it would be unreasonable to confine the feelings of fear and “fear” in general to the stereotypical assumptions of society (devils, demons, etc) but to view it in the wider context that every single individual manipulates fear for themselves and thus it is the individual that determines to what extent that fear has influence on their lives.The Shining is a novel by Stephen King written in the horror genre which clearly reflects the influence of fear on a person’s life as well as forging a direct link between knowledge and fear. The book begins with a disgraced teacher, Jack Torrance, aiming to reconcile the remaining pieces of his life ripped apart by a short temper and alcoholism. To do this Jack takes his family up to the Overlook Hotel in hope of mending his relationship with his wife and son as well as finishing his long overdue play. The Overlook Hotel however has a will of its own and begins to show Jack’s telepathic son Danny frightening visions of the past and the future. As the book progresses the Hotel begins to pit the family against each other by manipulating Jack’s many fears and the book reaches its climax with Jack attempting to murder his family.The characterisation of the main protagonists in the story exposes the weak nature of their relationship and underlines the ability of fear to make everything and anything seem frightening. Jack and Wendy Torrance for example can be seen to be people so consumed by fear that it begins to take a toll and affect every part of their lives.Jack Torrance is portrayed to be a temperamental, alcohol dependent man yet a good willed father and husband whose general fear of things changes and manipulates and eventually causes his downfall. Jack’s nostalgic personality is the main cause of his fears and paranoia. His knowledge and past experiences in regards to his alcoholism, his relationship with his family and his struggle to keep his temper under control.. Jack is a perfect example of Stephen King showing the reader that it is one who decides what one is scared through knowledge. Jack’s fear and knowledge of the past is all consuming and translates into the fear of the future, as the book progresses Jack begins to worry that his life situation will go back...

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