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Project: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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Amanda Puckett

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of Project: Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Pet Sematary By Stephen King Born in 1947, King is one of the best selling authors of all time who has won countless awards throughout his career. His first story was published in 1960 and he has been publishing almost every year since. King's inspiration for this particular novel came from a house he lived in for a short while. Behind this house was a path that led up to a "Pet Sematary," built and maintained by the local kids. The road nearby killed many animals. His daughter's cat was killed by the road and burried in this "sematary." On the grave marker, she wrote "Smucky the cat, he was obedient," a tombstone that shows up throughout the book. Stephen King is one of the best horror authors to have lived and will probably hold that title forever. Now, back to the book... The Story The Setting Louis Creed, a young doctor who is just getting started, moves his family, a wife and two kids, from Chicago to Maine when he gets a job as head of the infirmary at the college nearby. For a while, life is good. The neighbors, Jud and Norma Crandall, are friendly and really take a liking to Louis, who regards Jud as a father figure. On the first real day of the job, a boy named Victor Pascow comes in with his head completely torn open. He was hit by his car and killed. Victor comes back as a spirit to warn Louis to stay away from the Pet Sematary and what lies beyond. The barrier is not meant to be broken, he says. For a while, Dr. Creed bushes this off and moves on. It isn't until his daughter's cat, Church, dies that he realizes why Pascow left this warning. Unfortunately, the warning fell upon deaf ears and Louis, with the help of Jud, who knows the history of the burial ground, breaks the barrier. More problems arise when Louis uses the power of this burial ground, where the earth has gone sour, in the wrong way. The Pet Sematary was only meant for pets, and the Micmac Indians abandoned their burial ground beyond for a good reason. Characters: Louis Creed: The round, dynamic protagonist of the story, Dr. Creed, is a young doctor who just moved his family to Maine for a new job. He always wants to do good by his family, but ends up struggling with the difference between right and wrong. He faces a lot of inner conflict throughout his journey. He's a very logical guy, so he has an especially hard time with the emotional side of conflicts. Jud Crandall: Secondary, round, static. Jud is the neighbor who lives across the street from the Creed family. Jud has been living in the same town since his birth in 1900. He knows all of the history of the town and helps teach Louis about some of it, like when he shows Louis and his family the Pet Sematary. Louis often turns to this good natured guy for help and in turn helps Jud with his ailing wife, Norma. At the beginning of the novel, Jud is introduced as the only father figure Louis ever had. Victor Pascow: Secondary, flat, Static. Victor is a student at the college where Louis works who gets hit by a car and killed on the first day after summer break. His spirit comes pack to help Louis and steer him away from evil, like what lies beyond the Barrier of the Pet Sematary. Victor is the voice of reason, that voice in the back of our heads that we want to listen to, but don't want to listen to because we know its right. When Victor can't get his point across to Louis, he visits Ellie and Rachel instead. Rachel Creed Secondary, flat, static. The wife of Doctor Creed,
Rachel is a kind woman scarred by a traumatic childhood. Because she was forced to take care of her terminally ill sister as a child, Rachel struggles with the idea of death and never wants her children to encounter. She struggles with the fact that Louis thinks death is normal and that he took Ellie and Gage to the Pet Sematary. Some of her attitudes make it hard for Louis to know what to do when Church dies. Ellie Creed: Ellie is the typical little girl who loves her cat, Church, with all of her heart. After visiting the pet Sematary, she fears that Church is going to die someday. Ellie has nightmares about this several times and nightmares about "Pacscow" telling her that Louis is doing bad things. The Story is set in a small town in Maine, one based on a town Stephen King himself briefly lived in. The town is small but rich with history, history that Jud Crandall keeps alive. This sense of history is vital to the story and the mood. It is this history that brings Louis face to face with the Pet Sematary and the MicMac indian burial ground that lies beyond. At first, the small town feels safe, homey, and comfortable, a place anyone would be happy to settle down in. As more of the town's history is revealed, especially about the Pet Sematary and what lies beyond, the town grows unsettling and eerie. Perhaps the eeriest thing about the town is the fact that the Pet Sematary is, indeed, a real place. Theme: The dominant theme in this novel would be the struggle between right and wrong. In all of the struggles that Louis Creed and some of the other characters face, the right and wrong decision is obvious. As almost everyone knows, however, making the decision isn't that black and white. We do all know right and wrong, but it's so hard to act on that knowledge. In Louis's case, for example, he knows some of his actions are morally wrong and had been warned by several people, including Jud and Victor, not to make the decisions he made, but the pain he felt made it too hard to listen to those warnings and the voice in the back of his head. Literary Devices: Comparisons: Review: American Dream: Literary Period: Foreshadowing: From almost the moment the Creeds move into their new house, the road proves to be dangerous. Jud warns the family several times about how dangerous the road is and how the speeding Orinco trucks have killed many pets along the road. He tells Louis to get his cat fixed so the cat won't wander into the road and get killed by one of these trucks. Symbolism: Victor Pascow serves as a symbol of the voice in the back of your head. Whenever Louis is struggling to make the right decision, Victor shows up to reassure him and dissuade him from making the wrong choice. Unfortunately, like many of us all know, listening to the voice in the back of our heads is sometimes hard to do. For Louis, Victor's voice often falls upon deaf ears. The Road symbolizes death. The Creed house sits right next to a highway that is booming with speeding Orinco trucks all day and all night. The road kills many animals and is the reason the Pet Sematary exists. The road and the threat of death that it carries is always looming over the Creeds. Pet Sematary fits well into the postmodernism literary period. For me, classifying this ended up being a search for what period the novel doesn't fit into. The story is horror fiction that doesn't draw from any spiritual, religous, or realistic struggles. While the themes are realistic, it isn't a real story and isn't a story in protest to anything either. For these reason's, I believe the best period for it would be postmodernism. This novel isn't a very solid representation of the ideas that the American Dream encompasses. To me, the American Dream seems to be that anything is possible, that any goal can be achieved as long as you work hard. The American Dream always seems to have a happy ending and everything works out in the end. In the end, nothing seems to work out well for Louis. He tries so hard to make the right decisions and do right by his family, but his efforts always fail. A Walk to Remember: To put it simply, these two books are polar opposites. A Walk to Remember was mushy and feel-good with some bittersweet moments. Pet Sematary is dark and involved and captivating. For me, A Walk to Remember was a miserable read. Pet Sematary was the exact opposite. Salem's Lot: Fahrenheit 451: Both of these stories show King's amazing story and character development. They are both masterfully done works of art. They were creepy in the right way, not overdone, drawn out, or just completely fake. They are both realistic enough to make the reader think "what if?" Because of this, both of these stories are incredible. Both of these novels share the theme of the struggle between good and bad and how one should go about making choices. Louis and Guy know right versus wrong, but don't really know how to act on it. Both characters live in a sort of dystopia. Louis' dystopia is more mental than physical, however. None of his choices work out well and only cause more pain. The Movie: For the most part, the movie portrayed the book fairly well, just lacking in extra details, as any movie will. I enjoyed the book and the movie, though i did like the book more. Certain details like Mrs. Crandall's heart attack on Halloween help to move along the story. While these details are subtle, they create the full image that King so masterfully painted for the reader. In my opinion, Stephen King is truly the king as far as fiction authors go. The way he develops his characters and uses symbolism so flawlessly makes his novels a step above the rest. This is probable one of my favorite novels, set only behind Salem's Lot, another King novel, and Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. All I can honestly say about this novel is "wow." I would recommend this to anyone, so long as they are okay with horror novels. After all, even King things this novel was his most warped and disturbing.
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