Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of four novellas that twist relationships and love to their darkest and most violent forms. In this collection of stories, King writes about murder, rape, and death. The collection's characters all live in “full dark,” and there are no stars in the sky toward which they can reach. In his Afterword, King explains that the four stories were not easy for him to write, which is particularly impressive given King’s long career of crafting horror fiction.
The first story, “1922,” is told from the point of view of Wilfred Leland James. When the story opens, it is 1930 and Wilfred is in a hotel room, waiting to die. In 1922, Wilfred was a struggling farmer trying to get his 80 acres of land to produce enough to support his wife and son. Wilfred’s wife, Arlette, has inherited 100 acres of good farmland from her father. Instead of letting her husband farm that land, Arlette is intent on selling it to a hog butchery. Arlette’s dream is to sell the land and move off the farm with the money. Before she can sell the land, Wilfred convinces his son, Henry Freeman James, to help him murder Arlette. Although Henry feels conflicted about murdering his mother, he agrees to help his father so he can remain in Nebraska near his girlfriend, Shannon.
Wilfred’s scheme is simple. He tells Arlette that he will leave the farm. To celebrate, he uncorks a few bottles of wine for her. Drunkenly singing bawdy songs, Arlette has no idea that her husband and son are about to murder her. When she is about to pass out, Wilfred helps Arlette to the bedroom. Henry puts a sack over her body and Wilfred slashes her throat. Although he has slashed the throats of many hogs, Wilfred is surprised by how extensively the blood sprays. However, he and Henry are careful not to step in the puddle of blood, and they haul Arlette’s corpse out of the house and throw it down the old well. Henry is shaken. Wilfred cleans up the bedroom, and he spreads word that Arlette ran away.
It looks like Wilfred and Henry are about to get away with the murder. However, Henry’s personality becomes sour even as his relationship with Shannon progresses and she becomes pregnant. Shannon’s father sends her away, but Henry finds her and they become robbers known as the “Sweetheart Bandits.” Back on the farm, Wilfred has begun to be haunted by rats. He also...
(The entire section is 2270 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Full Dark, No Stars Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!