Stephen King’s Symbolism

Recurring symbols among the literary works of the master of horror

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Throughout Stephen King’s long, prosperous career in terrifying children through both literature and film, he has managed to change the way people perceive and experience fear.

From blood-covered prom queens to shape shifting clowns, King uses many forms of symbolism to enhance character and story development, and to augment different types of fear.
Among King’s other literary merits, “The Shining,” has many symbolic references. The story of Jack Torrance and his wife and son as they spend the winter taking care of the Overlook hotel during offseason, secluded from the outside world. Throughout the story, Jack’s son Danny repetitively says, “REDRUM.”
Although it’s murder spelled backwards, it can be looked at from a positive light. Redrum symbolically means the reverse of murder. In the chapter titled, “REDRUM” Jack and his wife almost kill each other. Almost-murder is in other words life.
In King’s 1974 novel, “Carrie” a young girl with telekinesis powers, who is believed by her mother to be a child of satan, is disregarded and made-fun of by her fellow classmates and peers. When pig blood is poured on top of her after chosen to be prom queen, she lashes out in a killing spree.
An important symbol shown throughout the story is the use of blood. Blood marks the beginning of puberty and her psychic powers and as soon as the pig blood is dumped, she unleashes havoc on her school and town.

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