Literary Analysis of Stephen King's the Stand
English 10 Honors
Stand Together, Stand Strong People behave strangely when more than ninety-nine percent of the population is dead. They behave even more strangely when they’re the prize of a cosmic struggle. In Stephen King’s fantasy/horror, The Stand, a plague created by the military decimates the modern world. The humans that survived the plague are now the commodity of the personifications of good and evil, the troops in an epically proportioned conflict. The book begins with the spread and origin of the plague and the toll it takes on civilization and the population. Its spread through the nation, and then throughout the world, brings chaos in martial law, with horrible atrocities being committed by many of those still alive and in power. Military brutality is rampant, and all human rights are being ignored or even deliberately violated; civilization and society are disintegrating in the face of mass death. Meanwhile, the survivors are struggling to endure the psychological burden of being alone and tending to the dead and dying. They begin to find each other, but are plagued by horrible nightmares, the embodiment of their worst fears come to haunt them in their dreamland. These begin to be counterbalanced by dreams of a benevolent old woman, and all of the living and still-functioning coalesce around these two figures. A society forms around each: one of death, in Las Vegas around Flagg, and one of life, in Boulder, Colorado, around Mother Abagail. As powers converge and events unfold, the future fate of humanity is decided. The Walkin’ Dude; the dark man; the man with no face; him; Randall Flagg. The purest embodiment of evil, not only is he privy to an occasional demonic countenance, he is even sometimes allegorically referenced to the Devil. He is depicted as sowing death and discord with his very presence, showing them to be integral parts of his nature: “when he grins, birds fall dead off telephone lines. The
Bibliography: King, Stephen. The Stand. New York: Penguin Books, 1978.