Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

Reader 1

John Peavoy

Reader 2

Cheryl Walker

Rights Information

© 2013 Ann Mayhew

Abstract

Throughout his career, Stephen King has created child protagonists and adults with a childlike acceptance of the world who represent “good.” These children and adults are able to observe and fight evil, especially supernatural evil, on a level that close-minded adults are unable to because of their imagination. At the same, King also has a history of adhering to traditional representations of sex in his work, presenting heteronormative relationships as good and transgressive sexualities as evil. Often, these child protagonists are faced with sexuality as a threatening, evil force. In The Shining, Danny Torrance undergoes a forced sexual awakening that aids him in defeating the Overlook Hotel; in ’Salem’s Lot, Mark Petrie is represented as a virginal hero who helps Ben Mears in defeating vampires, yet suffers as a result; in It, King aligns seven children’s journey to defeat evil with their literal sexual awakenings, but at the cost of his female characters. These novels represent a disconnect between what appear to be King’s purpose in sexual representation and what their message to the reader actually are, which is indicative of the underlying problems of his traditional, black-and-white attitude toward sexuality in his fiction.

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