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Stephen Edwin King An American Author English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1760 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Stephen Edwin king is an American author who is well known for his writing abilities in which he can turn everyday life events into a terrifying epic that would make you sit on the edge of the seat. His works are very powerful because he integrates his life experiences and observations into idiosyncratic stories. In his writing horror novels, Stephen King uses small towns, a unique writing style, and people natural fear to attract his readers. King’s novels of horror and fantasy are enjoyed by both kids and adults. King is one of the world’s best-selling authors and many of his novels were translated into successful movies in Hollywood. The research paper will focus on the life of Stephen King, regarding whether he is a good writer, and one worthy of being read.

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Stephen King was born September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine. His life was not easy from the beginning. Stephen’s birth was a big surprise to his family. Since his mother was told she can’t bring kids to the world. His parents, Donald and Nellie King had difficulties maintaining their marriage, and when Stephen was only a toddler, one day his father left to buy a pack of cigarettes… but never come back. Since then Stephen never saw his father again. After his father deserted the family, Stephen moved to Massachusetts with his mother and adopted brother, David. After living in Massachusetts for several years Stephen and his mother returned to Durham, Maine, were Stephen began to go to school. Stephen’s mother had to work very hard in a couple of jobs to support them, since his father left(Magistrale 3).

Stephen King started to write at very young age, after finding some of his father’s collection of horror novels. This was the beginning that sparked his imagination and created a genius in writing fantasy and horror novels. As young boy, he wrote a few short stories that were published in a local magazine. When Stephen was 12, he and his older brother decided to publish their own local town newspaper named “Dave’s Rag”. They sold it for five cents per issue. Soon after, Stephen attended Lisbon Falls high school in 1962. After graduating in 1966, he attended the University of Maine at Orono in 1967. Stephen King completed his first novel for, The Long Walk during his sophomore year at the university. He turned his novel to the English department in the university were it was reviewed and claimed that he was not just another English student at the university but perhaps a genius writer. In the Spring of 1970, Stephen graduated with a bachelors degree in English from the University in Maine. In the University of Maine he met Tabitha Spruce and a year later they got married and had their first child in 1971 (Beahm).

After graduating from school, King found a job as an English High School teacher. Even with King’s new job the family had hard times with paying their bills and barley made ends meets. On his free time from teaching, King started writing novels. in 1974, he published Carrie a novel that ended up in the trash at first but literally picked up by Tabitha, who saw something interesting in the plot and argued King to submit it to Doubleday, a publishing company who had rejected King already four times before. This time it was different, and they accepted his novel. King received a telegram from the publisher company, which read: “Carrie Officially A Doubleday Book. $2,500 Advance Against Royalties. Congrats, Kid – The Future Lies Ahead, Bill” (Beahm 225). This was King’s turning point in his writing career. After receiving the payment for the publishing sale of Carrie, he quit his job as an English teacher. With money troubles behind, King was able to concentrate his full time on writing. At the same when he published Carrie, King’s mother died, at 59 to cancer. However his mother death didn’t derailed King success and that same year, King finished his second book titled Salem’s Lot which was his second novel to be published in 1975. It was an instant success like his first novel and King was labeled as the premier author of horror novels (Magistrale 11).

The Kings left Maine for Boulder, Colorado; which played an essence role in his third published novel titled “The Shining”, set in Colorado. The shining is based on a vacation Stephen and his wife took to the Estas Park Hotel. While being in the hotel, King was filled with constant fear. The people he encountered and the experiences and observations he made in the hotel influenced him to write the plot for The Shining. In 1975 the kings returned to Maine, and they bought a new house. In 1977, The Shining was published and it was a huge success. In addition to three years later a Hollywood movie was made starring Jack Nicholson. At this point, the success of the book firmly established King as a top author in the horror genre. After The Shining, King changed publishers from Doubleday to Viking in which he was greatly benefited and had a great incentive to continue writing at a faster pace. From the time when King joined Viking publishing company he has managed to write 40 more novels including many best sellers: Misery, The Green Mile, Bag of Bones, The Running Men, Cujo, It, The Stand, and many more.

Is Stephen King considered a good writer? Some readers think Stephen King is a great writer; while others think is a bad writer. First we need to define what is good writing? In order to evaluate Stephen King works. According to Cynthia Saver, author of the article Writing Effectively, “…it is writing that communicates effectively to the reader. In other words, the reader gains an understanding of the message of the article–what the author wants the reader to think, do, or feel.” Cynthia suggests that the writer needs to follow a set of guidelines; the four C’s in writing: clear, concise, correct, and compelling in order to write effectively. In evaluating King’s novels one may find repetition, similes, and overwriting. According to the definition of good writing, King is not quite a good writer.

In many of King’s books the plot will sometimes get lost as he dedicates entire pages to the imagery of settings. I.e. a moment of time, how someone moves, and what a room looks like. Although he truly shows us the person or room exactly as he sees it, our focus has been shifted from the story at hand to a specific thing that usually ends up being insignificant in the grand plot. By doing this king seems to take restrict our imagination by visualizing every detail (Causo).

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King uses a “free” style of writing. When he writes he comes up with a starting point to a story and lets it “grow”. Without planning the beginning, middle, and end aspects of the story. “I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible. …my basic belief about making stories is that they pretty much make themselves.” (King 159)

However, can we truly define what good writing is, in contents of published novels? After all, the novels did pass grammar check. Defining good writing is like defining beauty in that it’s subjective. In essence, the eye of the beholder decides if a piece of writing is good or not. Obviously Stephen King is not making trivial grammar errors. Various people have different definitions for good writing. To some, good writing is nail-biting detective story. On the other hand, a professor may consider good writing as clear, concise, correct, and compelling. Writing and storytelling is a form of art. Art like genre, mainstream, literary, or good writing is valued in the eye of the beholder. There is no one way to view good writing. A big portion in evaluating good writing is individual taste. Stephen King’s novels are a form of art and should be judged personally and by entertainment value. If there are people out there that read Stephen king novels, then it has merit.

Is Stephen King’s works are worthy of being read? Many students don’t like to read. The reason is because students are assigned their reading materials in school. In which, the students don’t have control of what they read. A student may be assigned a Shakespeare novel for instance, where the writing style may be discouraging to the student to read. Furthermore, if the student picks a book he desires, like one of Stephen king’s fiction books, the student will actually read it because it’s enjoyable to him. When we are interested in a book we tend to dedicate our time and have the extra drive to read it even more. When we are interested at something we increase our ability to learn. Even some reluctant readers will turn to a book that hooks them; it’s the individual taste that drives students to read. Every book is worthy of being read, if the reader finds it interesting. Having different types of things to read is a great learning tool. No matter what genre, reading books increases our vocabulary and improves our writing skills. Besides the clear advantage of reading books that are interesting to us; from the novels I have read, Stephen King works are worth to be read because they include important lessons about loyalty, integrity, and friendships. In a larger perspective, King suggests throughout his novels that having loyalty, integrity, and friendships is what holds us together and provide us a sense of humanity.

After all, as they say, ‘You can’t argue with success’. Stephen King is a very successful author of more than 40 novels, several movie screenplays, and many short stories. He is one, if not the, the essence of horror and fantasy novelist of our time. King’s literatures have and will keep entertain the masses of our society. Although King is criticized for his lack of writing style, his novel works by utilizing people’s natural fears to attract readers. Stephen King Is worthy of being read because he is able to attract and entertain the reader, and also teach us about humanity. “Though an inelegant writer, King impresses, finally, by virtue of his enthusiasm and self-confidence, and his faith in his own imaginative powers”(Cassiday 342)


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