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Stephen King's "The Body"

Coming of Age Novella told through the eyes of a man looking back on his childhood in 1960s Maine.

William Cawley

on 9 June 2011

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Transcript of Stephen King's "The Body"

Introduction to the Coming of Age Theme - Stephen King's "The Body"
Bill Cawley
Wilkes University
EDIM 508 - Digital Media in the Classroom Coming of Age A story where the main character (usually a child or teenager) becomes aware of the realities of the real world. Loss of Innocence An event or situation that is so important that it shocks the individual. Almost always occurs to one or more of the characters in the story Common Themes ignorance to knowledge innocence to experience false view of world to correct view idealism to realism immature responses to mature responses "The Body" Summary – Four young boys venture off on a two day journey to get a good look at a young boy hit by a train. On this journey, they come to terms that things will never be the same. Spark – Rumor of the dead body. Aftermath – Boys go their separate ways but always remember their adventure. Things to Know Stephen King uses the topography of Maine as the setting of most of his stories.
A selection of King’s stories (including this one) do not include monsters and murderers.
King’s stories often intersect and take place in the same fictional Maine towns. (Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem’s Lot)
Using the time period of the 1940-60s, King often paints the picture of serene, quaint towns that are filled with dark secrets and the potential for horrible things. Excerpt from "The Body" “Nothing like that could happen in southwestern Maine today; most of the area has become suburbanized, and the bedroom communities surrounding Portland and Lewiston have spread out like the tentacles of a giant squid. The woods are still there and they get heavier as you work your way west toward the White Mountains, but these days if you can keep you head long enough to walk five miles in one consistent direction, you’re certain to cross two-lane blacktop. But in 1960 the whole area between Chamberlain and Castle Rock was undeveloped, and there were places that hadn’t even been logged since before World War II. In those days it was still possible to walk into the woods and lose your direction there and die there” (King 308-309) Short Writing Assignment Close your eyes and remember a time when the harsh realities of the world were not yet apart of you. Take a look back to your childhood and recall a time when you realized that everything wasn’t so peachy keen. Next is an example of a story from my childhood. "The Bird Lady" Creeping around the house, I could see her making her morning rounds. She walked slowly, her back in a permanent hunch; the Bird Lady was a sight to see. She passed my house everyday that summer. I was told by my mother repeatedly to pay no attention to her and “to leave an old woman alone.” The year was 1992 and Reebok Pumps were the sneaker of choice. I had just received a pair and my Dad told me that if I marked up these shoes, they would be the last pair I would get all year. Similar to my last six pairs of Blue Jeans, these fresh new white basketball sneakers were destined to be ruined with grass stains and grease marks. Pat, Erik, Ricky, and Johnny had just knocked up for me and were waiting outside on the stoop of my house. The Bird Lady was a formidable creature. 4’11”, slow as molasses, and old as dirt, the Bird Lady was an object of wonder and fright. She was called the Bird Lady because Ricky Freda swore up and down that he saw her eat a live bird. Pat, Erik, Ricky, Johnny, and I started the day as usual: an intense game of capture, followed by an intense game of kick the can, followed by cold ACME Iced Tea and PB&Js galore, courtesy of my Mom. As we were eating, Johnny was entertaining us by impersonating Macho Man Randy Savage’s latest Slim Jim commercial. Suddenly, a streak of terror ran across his face. “It’s her!” he proclaimed. There she was, three feet in front of us! We must have been so busy eating, and paying attention to Johnny, that we didn’t realize she had walked down the street. As she opened her mouth to say something, we ran away like a heard of bulls was chasing us. I saw the Bird Lady a few more times that summer but always from a distance. After that summer, I never saw the Bird Lady again. Every now and then I ask the question, “Was she really that scary?”
Formidable – Alarming, terrifying.
Knock up for – To ask if someone is home.
Stoop – A small step outside of a house.
Capture – A game, also known as Manhunt. This presentation is intended to introduce students to the coming of age novel and begin reflect back on their own coming of age (or rites of passage) experiences as they leave their childhood and venture off into adulthood. This presentation is intended to be taught at the end of the course in a 12th grade English classroom. The students will be reading Stephen King’s novella “The Body” as well as constructing their own writing samples about their own experiences. Standards 1.3 – Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
B. Analyze the relationships, uses and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone and style.

1.4 - Types of Writing
A. Write short stories, poems and plays.
- Apply varying organizational methods.
- Use relevant illustrations.
- Utilize dialogue.
- Apply literary conflict.
- Include varying characteristics
- Include literary elements

1.6 - Speaking and Listening
F.Use media for learning purposes.
- Use various forms of media to elicit information, to make a student
presentation and to complete class assignments and projects.
- Evaluate the role of media in focusing attention and forming opinions.
- Create a multi-media (e.g., film, music, computer-graphic)
presentation for display or transmission that demonstrates an
understanding of a specific topic or issue or teaches others about it.
Full transcript