Prescription Drug Addiction In Stephen King's Misery

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In 1987, acclaimed horror author Stephen King published what he referred to as ‘the scariest 310 pages in history.” The book, titled Misery, told the story of novelist Paul Sheldon who gets badly injured in a car accident and is imprisoned by his ‘biggest fan’ Annie Wilkes who had rescued him on the side of the road. For two decades after its publication, Stephen King refused to admit his reasons for publishing the novel. Finally, in 2007, King revealed the true meaning and message of the book; Prescription Drug Addiction. It is clear throughout the novel that Annie Wilkes holding Paul hostage symbolizes King’s past dependence on prescription medications and how desperately he relied on them. This is evident in how Paul (who has two broken…show more content…
It’s fast paced, has cunning dialogue, and is extremely well written. The plot, while at times frightening and complex, is easy to follow and flows naturally. Misery is not one of Stephen King’s scariest or most interesting book, but it is by far the best written one that I have read. King also makes his theme of drug addiction very clear through the constant repetition that Paul would die without Annie. Not only does Annie’s hold on Paul symbolize addiction in the novel, Paul actually is addicted pain killers. Annie, a former nurse, has stockpiled a ton of a codeine based narcotic called Norvil which she uses to control paul. Over the course of the novel, Annie gives Paul so much Norvil that he becomes addicted and begins exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when she withholds it. While I personally have no experience with addiction, I once broke my rib and was given a low grade narcotic to relieve the excruciating pain. This helped me appreciate how much pain Paul was in and how desperately he craved the drugs to relieve the pain. Misery has really shown me just how much of a hold narcotics can have on one’s life. With Paul, Annie controls his every move. Everything he does or says is dictated by Annie Wilkes. If Annie wants Paul to write, Paul writes. If Annie wants Paul to eat, Paul eats. It's a vicious but accurate depiction of how addiction completely absorbs and takes
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