"Ulitmately Everything is Frightening" A comparison of " The Shining" and The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Essay by water89High School, 11th grade October 2008

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Stephen King- SHANTIBAN SHANMUGAMQuestion: Ultimately everything is fearful. To what extent is this true in his novels?Fear is defined by Webster’s dictionary as a feeling of apprehension caused by a past, present or impending event. Fear is a learned behaviour, we are not born with it, but establish it throughout the course of our lives.

Through his many texts Stephen King has rendered the notion of fear to an almost impenetrable wall that we as humans have set up around ourselves through knowledge and past experience, making everything and anything seem fearful. Through the use of characterisation King has encouraged the reader to deduce that fear is only what each and every single perceives it to be, so it would be unreasonable to confine the feelings of fear and “fear” in general to the stereotypical assumptions of society (devils, demons, etc) but to view it in the wider context that every single individual manipulates fear for themselves and thus it is the individual that determines to what extent that fear has influence on their lives.

The Shining is a novel by Stephen King written in the horror genre which clearly reflects the influence of fear on a person’s life as well as forging a direct link between knowledge and fear. The book begins with a disgraced teacher, Jack Torrance, aiming to reconcile the remaining pieces of his life ripped apart by a short temper and alcoholism. To do this Jack takes his family up to the Overlook Hotel in hope of mending his relationship with his wife and son as well as finishing his long overdue play. The Overlook Hotel however has a will of its own and begins to show Jack’s telepathic son Danny frightening visions of the past and the future. As the book progresses the Hotel begins...