Depression in Stephen King's "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away"

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Statistics show that white, middle to upper-class males are the most likely to commit suicide. This is surprising, because one would assume they lead easy lives. The truth is, however, they lack social integration. Alfie Zimmer, the protagonist in Stephen King’s short story “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away,” is a prime example of this. His feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and detachment led him to try and end his sadness.

Alfie is an independent man who doesn’t communicate much with others. He does not talk to anyone, with the exception of selling his frozen food. His life consists of empty roads and cheap chain motel rooms. Any person in his position would feel lonely. He replaces human companionship with a notebook where he records graffiti he spots on his travels. “It was an old Spiral, bought for a buck forty-nine in the stationary department of some forgotten five-and-dime” (King 83). He recorded in it for years, wearing it down until “some of the pages had pulled partially free of the metal coil that served as the notebook’s binding” (83). He keeps himself company by analyzing the unintentional poetic meter of the vandalism he finds. Even so, it was not a real companion. If it had been enough, he would not have wanted to hide it when he killed himself. It was not enough to counteract his loneliness.

Alfie also dealt with intense feelings of worthlessness. He spent twenty years of his life travelling and selling frozen food, but that was not his passion at all. His passion lay in writing. He wanted to write a book based on his experiences on the road, but he never could. The man could not even settle on a title for the project. “The first title to occur to him had been “Don’t Look Up Here, You’re Pissing on Your Shoes,” but you couldn’t call a book that” (85). He eventually decided on ““I Killed Ted Bundy: The Secret Transit Code of America’s Highways.” By Alfred Zimmer.” (85), but he had already decided to kill himself at that point. He...
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