The goal of my thesis is to analyze physical and moral survival in three novels from King's oeuvre. Scholars have attributed survival in King's universe to factors such as innocence, imaginative capacity, and career choice. Although their arguments are convincing, I believe that physical and moral survival ultimately depends on a character's knowledge of the dark side of human nature and an understanding of moral agency. I have chosen three novels that span several decades of Kings work-'Salem's Lot, Needful Things, and Desperation-to illustrate the relationship between knowledge and survival. In 'Salem's Lot, King uses the main character's interest in the horror genre to emphasize the importance of an exposure to the dark side of human nature. In Needful Things, King vividly shows the dire consequences of naiveté, or in other words, uneducated innocence. Desperation represents a culmination of King's ideas. The final novel in my analysis shows the power of youth tempered by knowledge of human nature and informed by religious conviction. King links religion and horror to show the power of both in religious survival and to show the ultimate morality of horror.
College and Department
Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Davis, Jaime L., "Monsters and Mayhem: Physical and Moral Survival in Stephen King's Universe" (2012). All Theses and Dissertations. 2979.
Stephen King, morality, survival, innocence, 'Salem's Lot, Needful Things, Desperation, religion