Stephen King Off Season Analysis

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Stephen King, one of the most notorious, shocking, controversial, and not to mention, best-selling authors of the 20th and 21st century, had many things to say regarding the estranged novelist Jack Ketchum. More specifically, his novel, “Off Season”: “If you read ‘Off Season’ on Thanksgiving, you probably won’t sleep until Christmas”. This famous quote by King has gone as far as being the headline on the novel’s front cover in most recent editions, mostly due to Ketchum’s cult status among readers; Stephen King’s praise being used as advertisement. Although Ketchum is known primarily for a novel titled, “The Girl Next Door”, vaguely about the torture of an innocent babbysitter, Off Season has been said to be placed second after The Girl Next…show more content…
“Off Season” tells the story of five privileged young men and women during the early 1980’s who decide to vacate their residence in New York City to a week-long venture in the deep woods of Maine. During this time, a local tribe of killers and cannibals are suspected to be lurking in nearby caves, looking for victims during the fall season; hints, why the book is titled ‘Off Season’. As the two communities of people, being the young New Yorkers and the disturbed killers, become aware of each other's presence, it turns to a violent murder spree until the county police department can put a stop to it. The novel has been praised by readers and book-critics alike, beginning Ketchum’s career instantly. There are, however, numerous cons among the pros of the writing, as there are for every piece of…show more content…
And this subject is violence. In all of Ketchum’s novels, violence is not just a detail in his stories, but it is a character in and of itself. In Off Season, Ketchum uses it to control the reader in a torturous way, quite ironically. As stated before, the story is intriguing and suspenseful, making the reader want to swallow the whole book in one sitting. However, Ketchum uses violence to diverge this; it is used in an effort to make you cringe and bundle up inside yourself, making you reluctant to continue. This creates a very difficult, yet strategic way of writing and reading a story, for the sake of enjoyment. You want to keep reading, however the utterly grimm and disturbing details make you want to put the book down and take a break. This is a metaphor for the story and it’s characters. If you want to survive, you are going to have to face the most gruesome things you will ever witness. Ketchum has been open about this topic, discussing it in depth. This is quite surprising for an artist to speak about their controversy, most speaking quite neglectfully regarding their artistic merit, Quentin Tarantino, for instance. Ketchum uses the 1968 Romero film “Night of the Living Dead” as an example for the violence in his stories, especially Off Season. He has said that the violence is “meant to get right up in your face”. He connects this with the film by
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