IUB ENG-L 111 - Misery Day 1 (6 pages)

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Misery Day 1



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Misery Day 1

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Pages:
6
School:
Indiana University, Bloomington
Course:
Eng-L 111 - Discovering Literature
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Misery Day 1 Stephen King 1947 Present Grew up in Maine and still lives there Carrie his first novel came out in 1973 Now has over 50 novels not counting his other works In 33 languages 350 million copies of his books in print Why Misery for us It is a good read and one of his better books It is about a bestselling author Marks a shift in King s career Misery comes out in 1987 In the broadest strokes King s career before Misery was largely about epic tales commenting on modern society The Stand It The Talisman The Smaller Scale Two main characters Psychological thriller Tries to take female characterization more seriously Allows for greater focus on details Allows for a richer development of characters Epigraph Hinting at the Focus Serves as a vital clue for focusing the themes of the novel Two words Goddess Africa Why Misery for King The Goddess Annie is like a goddess in Paula s life She is his savior She has the power over life death She has control over his life King positions Annie as a goddess in several ways One of the most interesting is that of divine muse The Muse of Terror Literature has a long tradition of the muse A divine being who inspires the author Authors in turn would often invoke the muse in order to help them write King offers us a terrifying muse in Misery Rather than a kind artsy muse King offers us Annie Annie is the force behind Paul s new novel Like a muse Annie is unpredictable She is also terrifying She is based in part on the Greek goddess Artemis Artemis Twin sister of the sun god Apollo She is the moon goddess she controls the tides She is a scary muse She is the vengeful hunter goddess of the forest Vindictive swift and proud in her fury She is her own master and takes no orders She punishes severely what she sees as the slightest negligence in honoring her Because King is exploring the terrifying nature of writing in this book King takes his fear of writer s block to a whole new level What if your life depends on not getting Writer s Block King makes writing a life or death venture Stories as Life and Death Endeavors Scheherazade 1001 Arabian Nights Told stories to stay alive The phrase Open Sesame comes from these stories Much like Paul s need to find a magic formula to get out of Annie s house The Misery of Writing Writing can be a terrifying process Writing can also have terrifying results What role does terrifying writing have in the lives of readers What role does terrifying writing have in the lives of readers Can such writing turn them into monsters Misery Day 2 Crying is for Sissies Empathy What is it Identification with and understanding of another s situation King makes empathy an important theme in Misery Being able to identify with others is an important skill for a writer To Paul s mom his act of empathy acts as a Paul resents the Misery series mostly female fans for their resistance to his serious works Refers to Misery as a silly bitch and celebrates when she dies It s safe to say that Paul does not feel a great deal of empathy for his women readers or his star character How does Paul deal with his empathy problem First by turning away from his popular fiction and towards Fast Cars a serious novel featuring a young male lead character Paul craves respect from a male dominated literary establishment He hopes Fast Cars will earn the American book award He obsesses over his book s reception by male critics Indicators of Paul s Concern with Masculinity He judges himself in a conventionally masculine terms like bravery He feels unmanning guilt at being caught smoking by his mother He drives a classic muscle car 74 Camero Popular vs Serious Literature Paul Sheldon s MachoMobile Empathizing to Survive To Annie the Misery books are Paul s serious works Her emotional investment in the books is so intense that it s a matter of life and death for her and Paul What does Paul learn about Annie from her Rocket Man story She has a brother named Paul She is a passionate fan Her sense of what s fair in fiction is not so different from his own His empathy for Annie grew Both Paul and Annie are wounded While Paul s wounds are physical Annie s are mostly psychological Oddly enough Paul s misery at Annie s hands enables him to identify with her misery Paul also comes to identify with Scheherazde he is telling stories to stay alive He also identifies with Misery Annie s empathy problem Like Paul Annie shows empathy toward an animal Poor Poor Things She looked down at the rat and a tear fell onto its matted fur She kills the rat rather than spare it What appears to be genuine empathy is actually a projection of Annie s own misery She feels sorry not for the rat or for Paul so much as herself Misery Day 3 Addiction Provides a motivation for Paul to keep writing A second answer is more thematic King is interested in exploring the issue of addiction Writing Romances The theme of addiction is closely tied to King s choice to make Paul Sheldon a writer of romances Sheldon admits that 90 of his readers are women There are two reasons for making Paul a writer of romances King is making a comment on the bestselling genre of best sellers 40 of all paperbacks produced in the U S are romances They have a huge and loyal following They are also among the most predictable of genres Readers buy endlessly repetitive novels just to get their fix The Addicted Reader These readership themes are echoed in Paul s addiction to Novril It is no accident that Novril sounds like novel Paul has learned to attract and addict readers to his numerous Misery novels As we see with Annie they are in misery until the next installment comes out Paul is addicted to Novril because it lulls his pain like the Misery novels lull Annie s pain Real Readers King even does this to us through his novels We find ourselves compelled to read on even when part of us doesn t want to Much like Paul reading Annie s scrapbook Page turners can be addictive King also knows tat bestselling authors in real life face certain writing addictions They can write for adulation Writing becomes more about being popular than about art For money Writ e according to a formula because it is safe and easy Battle for Control Through the theme of addiction King makes us confront the issue of control Consider Who is more in control in this novel Paul or Annie Control changes in the course of the novel At the beginning Annie is clearly in control Paul grows up in the course of the novel He grows stronger physically He learns


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