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By Heidi Strengell

In a considerate, well-informed learn exploring fiction from all through Stephen King's enormous oeuvre, Heidi Strengell indicates how this renowned author enriches his precise model of horror through development at the traditions of his literary background. Tapping into the wellsprings of the gothic to bare modern phobias, King invokes the irregular and repressed sexuality of the vampire, the hubris of Frankenstein, the break up identification of the werewolf, the family melodrama of the ghost story. Drawing on myths and fairy stories, he creates characters who, just like the heroic Roland the Gunslinger and the villainous Randall Flagg, may perhaps both toughen or subvert the reader's childlike religion in society. And, within the demeanour of the naturalist culture, he reinforces a pressure among the unfastened will of the person and the daunting hand of destiny.

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Freaks, on the other hand, exist and may evoke both fear and pity, whereas monsters are primarily experienced as alien or hostile (22-23). King considers the Gothic archetypes of the Vampire, the Thing without a Name (Frankenstein's monster), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and the Ghost to be the basis of the monsters in all horror fiction (DM, 50; Magistrale, Decade, 29). Three of the Gothic archetypes that King distinguishes in Dallse Macabre embody the central issues with which the era was concerned. To be more precise, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Dr tile Modem Prometl,eus deals with the refusal to take personal respon· sibility for one's actions because of pride; Robert Louis Steven· son's Tile Strange Case Df Dr.

To me it seems that King's male bonding in part reflects the contra· dictory urges of homophobia and the desire for closeness and friendship, even for the father he never knew in his own life. To prove his heterosexuality once and for all, King has a character called Stephen King answer to this question under hypnosis. " "Are you asking if I'm gay? " King sounded weary but amused. "I don't know," Roland paused. " "The answer is no," King said. (OTO, 373) Case closed. The Gothic ill King's Works 45 DESTRUCTIVE HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONSHII'S Destructive heterosexual relationships can be considered in terms of adultery and violent/dominant relationships.

Roland's deadly sins are overly developed determination, dedication, pride, and ambition, which make him repeat the same mistakes in all of King's fictional works. What is more, since King has on numerous occasions been referred to as a writer of melodramas, a fifth Gothic archetype, the Ghost, represents this side of King's writing. King himself excludes ghosts from his so-called Tarot hand, which includes "the Vampire, the Werewolf, and the Thing Without a Name," because the Ghost is not limited to a single book (OM, 50).

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