Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Horror is often based on unintended consequences for well-intentioned people. How does this bear out in Stephen King’s work?

Explore connections in the King “universe” and how it influences the reading of a novel. Does knowing how different books relate to one another change the reading of a work?

Horror often posits an unfair or unjust world, a belief that King reinforces in some works and at other times denies. Is there a discernible pattern to when King seeks justice in his fiction and to when he does not?

Explore King’s use of pop culture in his writing— how he approaches it stylistically and the ways in which it enriches his work thematically.

In King’s novels, human frailty often plays a role in the furtherance of evil. Find specific examples and trace their development in the course of a story.

What do readers learn about the life of writers in King’s work? How is creativity both a gift and a bane to King’s characters?

Consider how horror unfolds in a specific King work. How does foreshadowing help lay the groundwork? What surprises occur suddenly? What twists upend expectations? In terms of technique, how successful is King when he tries to create fear?