Free Term Paper About Stephen King

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Stephen King is one of the most influential authors of today. His award-winning novels and short stories are known world -wide. His many awards and nominations have created a space for him in the literary world. King is a true “Horror King”, for his books, turned movies, have scared millions world- wide. Stephen King has helped bring America to prominence through his many books, essays and short stories.


Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947 at the Maine General Hospital in Portland, Maine. His parents were Donald Edwin King and Ruth Pillsbury King. Stephen being the only natural born child in the family and his older brother David having been adopted at birth two years earlier.


“The Kings were the typical, “nuclear” family of the fifties until one night when Donald King said he was stepping out for cigarettes and was never heard from again.” At this point Ruth took over raising the family with help from other relatives of the family. They traveled throughout many states over several years finally moving back to Durham, Maine in 1958. (P.R. 5 pg.1)


Stephen King began his actual writing career in January of 1959 when David King and Stephen decided to publish their own local town newspaper named Dave\'s Rag. David bought a mimeograph and they created a paper that sold for five cents an issue.


Stephen King attended Lisbon High School, in Lisbon, Maine in 1962. Collaborating with his best friend Chris Chesley, in 1963 they published a collection of 18 short stories called People, Places, and Things-Volume I. King\'s stories included \"Hotel at the End of the Road\", \"I\'ve Got to Get Away!” \"The Dimension Warp\", \"The Thing at the Bottom of the Well\", \"The Stranger\", \"I\'m Falling\", \"The Cursed Expedition\", and \"The Other Side of the Fog.\" A year later King\'s amateur press Triad and Gaslight Books, published a two part book titled \"The Star Invaders\".


Stephen King made his first actual published appearance in 1965 in the magazine Comics Review with his story \"I Was a Teenage Grave Robber.\" The story ran about 6,000 words in length. In 1966, Stephen King graduated from high school and took a scholarship to attend the University of Maine. Looking back on his high school days, King recalled that \"my high school career was totally undistinguished. I was not at the top of my class, nor at the bottom.\"


Later that summer King began working on a novel called \"Getting It On\", about some kids who take over a classroom and try unsuccessfully to ward off the National Guard. During his first year at college, King completed his first full-length novel, \"The Long Walk.\" He sent the novel to Bennett Cerf/Random House only to have it rejected. King took the rejection bad and filed the book away. Stephen King made his first small sale with his story \"The Glass Floor\" for the amount of thirty-five dollars. In June 1970, Stephen King graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a certificate to teach high school.
King\'s next idea came from the poem by Robert Browning, \"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.\" He began work on The Dark Tower saga. But due to his lack of money he was unable to finish the novel and it too was filed away. King took a measly job of pumping gas earning $1.25 an hour. Stephen King then began to earn money for his writings by submitting his short stories to men\'s magazines such as Cavalier.


On January 2, 1971, Tabitha Jane Spruce and Stephen King were married. And in the fall of 1971, King took a teaching job at Hampden Academy earning $6,400 a year. The Kings then moved to Hermon, a town west of Bangor, Maine.


Stephen King then began work on a short story about a teenage girl named Carietta White. After a completing a few pages, King decided it was not a good story and threw it away. Fortunately for Stephen, his wife Tabitha took the pages out and read them. She encouraged her husband to continue the story. He did. In January 1973, King submitted Carrie to Doubleday. In March, Doubleday bought the book. “On May 12, Doubleday sold the paperback rights of Carrie to New American Library for $400,000.” Based on the book contract, Stephen King would get half of that. King quit his teaching job to pursue writing full time. And the rest, as they say, is history. (P.R. 5 pg.2)
Over the past 25 years, Stephen King has written over thirty best selling novels and short stories. Following is a list of his best selling novels.
 Carrie
 ‘Salems Lot
 The Shining
 The Stand
 The Dead Zone
 Firestarter
 Cujo
 Christine
 Pet Sematary
 IT
 The Eyes of the Dragon
 Misery
 The Tommyknockers
 The Dark Half
 Needful Things
 Dolores Claiborne
 Gerald’s Game
 Insomnia
 Rose Madder
 Desperation
 Bag of Bones
 Apt Pupil
 Storm of the Century
 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
 Hearts in Atlantis
Most of these titles might sound familiar, even to those who don’t read Stephen King’s novels. A lot of these have been made into movies, such as Carrie, ‘Salems Lot, and Pet Sematary to name a few. “The Shawshank Redemption”, one of the most recent video releases, was written by Stephen King.


“The Shawshank Redemption” was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. The movie unfortunately did not win any of these awards, but it did win other awards. It won two Golden Globes, a Director’s Guild Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. (P.R. 1 pg.180)


King not only writes novels, but also series of books. He has written The Dark Tower series and The Green Mile series, which was recently transformed into a movie starring Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks. While King attended college, at the University of Maine, Orono, he published books under the pen name, Richard Bachman. His very first book was titled Rage. Following that first book were, in order of publication: The Long Walk, Roadwork, The Running Man, Thinner and The Regulators.


King has been nominated on several occasions for the World Fantasy Award. “The Mist”, just one of many of King’s short stories was nominated for this award. “The Way Station”, another short story was nominated for the Nebula Award, which was voted upon by members of the SFWA, Science Fiction Writers of America. King even won a very special British Fantasy Award, which is rarely awarded to American authors. “In 1981, King’s alma mater honored him with a Career Alumni Award.” (P.R. 2 Pg. 69)


Despite all of his praise for his novels, most people and critics were skeptical of his screenplays, including Glenn Kenney, of Entertainment Weekly. However, even harsh critics can see someone as good as King. Kenney admitted “The Shawshank Redemption” was good, but he didn’t quite call it a masterpiece. He claimed it to be a “provisional masterpiece,” and he awarded it with a grade of A-, which was high praise. (P.R. 1 pg.181) Rob Reiner, screener of several of King’s movie screenplays, commented on King’s novels after completely reading a few of them: “…people assume that Stephen King is just a schlocky kind of horror writer. But if you read his books, you’ll discover he is a brilliant writer…” (P.R. 1 pg. 154) King’s teacher at UMO, Burton Hatlen said, after King’s rise in popularity, “…not, as Thomas Edwards suggests in a recent New York Review of Books, an “almost serious” writer- but rather one of the most truly serious novelists of today.” (P.R. 1 pg.186)


“Stephen King is appropriately called the “Master of Horror”. His books have been translated into 33 different languages and published in over 35 different countries. There are currently over 300 million copies of his novels in publication worldwide. “ (P.R. 5 pg.2)


In June 1999, Stephen King was severely injured in an accident that left him in critical condition with injuries to his lung, broken ribs, a broken leg and a severely fractured hip. After three weeks of operations, he was released from the Central Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine. He received over 300 letters from fans all over the world regarding his condition in only the first week of hospitalization. King is currently bedridden and requires rehabilitation. He’s expected to be able to walk by June of this year, nearly one full year after that van struck him in downtown Bangor. Because of his injuries, all of his projects were postponed for at least a year. (P.R. 3 Pg. 2)


I\he information available, I have successfully proved that Stephen King has helped bring America into prominence through his writings. King is a dedicated writer and there is no end to his writing in site.


“…And aside from being a force of nature, he’s a pretty good guy.” As said by Robert Parker, introducer of speakers at a benefit, Voices Louder Than Words, at Harvard. (P.R. 1 Pg. 161)

1. Beahm, George. America’s Best Loved Boogeyman Stephen King. Andrews McMeel Publishing Kansas City 1998.


2. Beahm, George. The Stephen King Story. Andrew’s McMeel Publishing Kansas City 1991.



3. “Accident Recovery Update.” Stephen King Official Web Presence. http://www.stephenking.com (30 Jan. 2000)



4. “Novel Database.” http:///www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/1947/kingworks.htm (10 Feb. 2000)


5. “Stephen King Biography.” http://utopianweb.com/king/bio.html (10 Feb. 2000)


6. King, Stephen. ‘Salems Lot. Doubleday and Company New York 1975.

 

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