Cujo written by Stephen King
2. This novel is set in a not so quiet town in Maine called Castle Rock. The town shows the lives of both the middle-class, the Trenton's, and the lower-class, the Camber's. The most intriguing parts of the novel take place 7 miles from town, on the Camber's property in a hot Pinto. The most important thing about the setting is the secludedness of the Camber house. It is important to the plot that there not be any traffic near their house that could aide Donna and Tad's escape, this adds to the suspense. The novel focused on the setting in the beginning, to get us acquainted with the surroundings. I feel that King focused more on the Camber house and the Pinto than the other surroundings. I believe that the setting is not unimportant, but I don't think it has to take place in Maine.
It could have taken place anywhere in America or the world, for that fact. It's not the state or town that is important; it's the secludedness of where the Pinto attacks happen.
3.The major characters in Cujo are the Trenton's, the Camber's and, of course, Cujo. Although there is not much to say about Cujo because he is a dog, we see the changes that take place and the events that forever changed him. He is very friendly and a great family dog until he is bitten. After that, he starts to change. The rabbi's have infected his head by a brain destroying virus that changes his whole persona and creates a monster out of a normal family dog. He is, in a sense, a death machine hidden beyond the appearance of an ill dog. Because of this disease, he does things he normally wouldn't do. Cujo is the evil force, but this evil force is neither from another world nor from beyond the dead. This evil force could take over any animal, anywhere, in any year.
Next, is the middle-class Trenton family. Vic Trenton is business man considered to be a workaholic. Sometimes he puts his job ahead of his family. I think he does this subconsciously. He does not seem like a person who would intentionally hurt someone. He loves his wife and adores his son. He is a giving individual who tends to worry a lot. Donna, Vic's wife, has taken a lover to combat boredom and fear in her everyday life as a housewife. She really is a good person who feels ignored by her husband and can't seem to accept the emptiness of domestic life. Donna keeps her affair going until her conscious gets the best of her and she opts to get out. She would do anything for her son, Tad. She is to be looked at as a regular middle-class housewife who is lonely, unhappy and trying to find a way out of her self-imposed misery. Donna is like any other giving mother who looks out for the welfare of her family. Tad is the Trenton's only son. There is nothing abnormal or extraordinary about him. He loves his family and is a normal boy whose life is taken by dehydration, not by Cujo.
Finally, the lower-class Camber family is troubled like the Trenton's, but in a different way. Joe Camber is abusive both physically and emotionally to his wife Charity, and their son, Brett. Joe is handy and talented in the trade of repairing vehicles. He has anger management issues. He can be best described as a manipulative, offensive, chauvinistic man who expects his wife and child to bow down to his every command. Charity is literally a prisoner of circumstance with a tyrannical and sometimes violent man. She fights against him in an everyday hidden battle for the future of their ten-year-old son. She would do almost anything to be sure her son doesn't grow up to be like Joe. Charity has very low self esteem and is afraid to leave her husband, almost like Wendy from The Shining. These two women are very much alike. They are both afraid at first to stand up to their abusive husbands. With acquired courage and fear that their sons will grow up to be like their husbands, they finally stand up to them and win. There is not much to say about their son Brett. He seems like a normal kid whom he and his mom are subservient to his uncouth father. The Camber's are, or once were, the proud owners of their St. Bernard, Cujo.
4.The Horror Fiction Formula is followed perfectly in Cujo. The town of
Castle Rock has an "Apollonian community". They are relatively quiet and
keep to themselves. Although they all have problems within their own lives but choose to not let them be known. They all got about their business ignoring the fact that nothing is perfect in their quaint little town. Everything seems normal until the irrational takes place, which is Cujo. The rabid Cujo starts attacking people when they least expect it, killing them without a second thought. At first, no one knows about this because it takes place at the secluded Camber house. Once Donna and Tad got out here to have the Pinto fixed by Joe Camber, they were made aware of Cujo and the danger he poses. After some time in the hot Pinto with no food or water, Donna gets attacked by Cujo in an effort to help her and her son escape. After many attempts by Cujo to enter the vehicle, he backs off. They can see that Cujo is clever, cunning and relentless in his will to kill. Once his guard is down, Donna digs deep within herself to muster up the courage to try and escape to save their lives. Donna is just an ordinary mother willing to do whatever to save her son. She, more or less, sacrifices herself to save Tad. No one helps Donna defeat the monstrosity; she does it on her own. Once Cujo is destroyed, peace is temporarily restored. Because of the death of Tad and Joe, the lives of the Trenton's and the Camber's are forever changed. For the Trenton's, life it is forever changed for the worse. On the other hand, the Camber's are much better off now that the abusive husband/father is gone. They will surely live a happier, safer life. The Trenton's may never recover after the loss of their son, although, it could make them grow closer. The innocence of both of these families is forever changed, maybe even lost. Their lives have been traumatized beyond normal circumstances.
5.The novel Cujo operates on two of the Three Levels of Horror. Terror is
not that evident to me. There is not really a time that we don't see the
monster/dog that we are afraid of. The only example I can think of is
when Donna and Tad are in the Pinto and have already been attacked by
Cujo, then he disappears, they still fear that he is out there ready to attack. Other than that, I didn't feel any terror. I did, in fact, feel Horror a few times. A few examples are when Cujo attacked Joe, the Sheriff and, of course, Donna and Tad's car. Each attack brought its own horror and creep factor. Every assault left you on the edge of your seat wondering if anyone could survive Cujo's wrath. Revulsion is also apparent during the attacks. Each time someone was assaulted I could just feel what they felt, and I could hear their screams of panic. I can't narrow it down to just one moment when I felt revulsion, it was literally every attack, or every time Cujo rammed his head into the car's side or window. I think that because any pet could get rabies and turn on their owners, it hits home more so than Dracula or even The Shining. There is definitely a different kind of repulsion than in the other novels. It is so realistic that you feel more compassion for the victims. You also feel compassion for the dog also, because you know he can't help the way he is acting. This book is more heartbreaking than frightening to me.
6.There could be many themes for Cujo. I don't think that King just had it
narrowed down to just one theme. What I got out of the novel was that
life can sometimes blow up in your face for no apparent reason and with
no forewarning. This not only reflects in every person's life, but King's as
well. It reflects the underlining tensions of the late 70's early 80's as well
as problems King was dealing with at the time. It seems that every
character's life is inexplicitly falling apart somehow. Whether it is families losing a loved ones, a husband losing an account and possibly a marriage, or an abusive husband that you're always afraid of. This book goes to show that you never know what life will throw your way, so be ready to deal with anything.