Stephen King and Philosophy by Jacob M. Held (Editor)


I don’t know anyone who hasn’t a clue who Stephen King is. If they haven’t read any of his work, certainly they have seen something. This is dissecting his work, but nothing macabre about it. While I confess to being disturbed by his horror stories it’s a strangely fulfilling panic. Carrie is so much more than a misfit who takes her revenge as much as every story King has written holds more meaning than simply to frighten or thrill us. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is a short story that lodged in my throat, thick with emotion. It’s proof that while he is the master of horror, he can create beautiful stories about human beings too. His characters can be low lives or weirdos but never just that. To think of his work as fast food for readers doesn’t ring true and in Stephen King and Philosophy there is evidence why his writing is full of meaning. Fan or not, it is an interesting read. I found myself thinking about what he is telling the reader, intentionally or not. Naturally, we all read a different story when handed the same book. Our own life experiences, where we are in life, everything merges with our reading so no one has the same exact perception nor emotions. I think the same can be said of writing. Our stories take on lives of their own, sometimes authors (just like artists) may even unintentionally be saying something they hadn’t set out to say. It sneaks it’s way out through the pen and when it’s pointed out they think ‘hmmm, I am saying something here.”
I particularly enjoyed reading Held’s thoughts on Carrie and it’s rich symbolism of coming into womanhood. I also thought about the male friendships in the stories The Body (which Lean On Me was based on) and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. I remember feeling so many different emotions because of The Body. How is it he can write about boys looking for a dead boy (which is in itself horrifying) and yet conjure this emotional journey where they are free to express their feelings (something certainly not encouraged in those days)? Held has done a much better job of exploring the meaning and depths of King’s work and I spent time pondering things I never considered, somehow neglected to absorb. This book is incredibly engaging and I can’t wait to read reviews by die hard King fans.

Rowan and Littlefiled

Publication Date: August 15, 2016



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