Literary Analysis of “Survivor Type” by Stephen King

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In Stephen King’s short story “Survivor Type”, King uses imagery, setting and irony to ask the question “What will a person risk in order to survive?” In this short story, Richard Pine, a medical school graduate, surgeon and a pill pusher is on his way back home to the United States with 2 Kilos of heroin, when the cruise ship that he is on sinks after an enormous explosion. Dr. Pine manages to get onto a life boat that takes him to a deserted island which Pine describes as small enough to spit across. He is on the island with very few resources and of course the 2 kilos of heroin worth $350,000. Richard Pine resorts to killing gulls in order to suppress his hunger but then ends up falling into a hole and fracturing his ankle. This disability leaves Pine vulnerable to nature and unable to fully function in killing his food on the island. He is then left realizing how and what he will do in order to survive until someone rescues him. When hunger overcomes his body and he is unable to kill his food, Dr. Pine starts slowly eating away at his own body, in hopes of being rescued very soon. He takes the heroin to dull the pain from the amputation. Days turn into weeks and Richard Pine is left eating the one thing that was most valuable in his life--his hands.

King uses imagery throughout the story to describe his hunger, the island and the numbness he feels from the heroin that is taken to suppress the pain associated with amputation. There are many things in life that humanity needs in order to continue living and food is one of these necessities. Dr. Pine has none. Dr. Pine describes the disappointment of no food as the signs you would sometimes see on pushcarts back in the neighborhood that read “No Tomatoes Today”. Richard Pine makes us aware that because of his excruciating hunger when he sees a gull, he salivates just like Pavlov’s dog who, after being trained, would drool after a bell was rung because he knew that he would be satisfied with food. He even goes...
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