The main quality of literature in our society is its ability to entertain the masses. Some authors use horror and mystery to keep their readerís attention. Stephen King is the epitome of horror writers. In writing horror mystery novels, Stephen King utilizes small towns, a unique writing style, and people\'s inherent fears to scare the pants off his readers.
Fear is the basis for nearly all horror fiction, especially in Stephen King\'s novels. "Everybody goes to horror movies, reads horror novels-itís almost like trying to preview the end" (King 219). In all of King\'s horror books somebody always dies. Horror fiction "Lets you become a child again" (King 220). King can bring out the fears that are kept deep down in our souls. He knows that we have been set down in a frightening universe, full of real demons like death and disease, and perhaps the most frightening thing is the human mind. Horror is "one of the ways we walk our imagination" (King 218). King takes ordinary emotional situations and translates them into violent tales of vampires and ghosts. "You never have to ask yourself who\'s afraid of the big bad wolf?--You are" (Yarbro 220). "King has a talent for raising fear from dormancy. He knows how to activate our primal fears" (Nolan 222). Where does he get these fears? His own personal fears in (descending order) are the fear of someone else, others (paranoia), death, insects (especially spiders, flies, & beetles), closed in places, rats, snakes, deformity, squishy things, and his number one fear is fear of the dark. "At night, when I go to bed I am still at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blankets, after the lights go out. I\'m not a child anymore...I don\'t like to sleep with one leg sticking out. Because if a cool hand ever reached out from under the bed and grabbed my ankle, I might scream. Yes, I might scream to wake the dead" (King, Night Shift xii). "Terror" is the most refined of fearsome emotions because it centers largely on unseen forces. Here are some perfect examples from many of his works. In the book Thinner, readers are warned not to underestimate the power of one person and to be wary of everyone. Dolores Claiborne takes place during a total eclipse which is supposed to bring out the evil in people. Geralds Game is a book based on women\'s fears of rape, being alone, helplessness, and danger. The book Cujo brings out the fear of what if manís best friend became his worst nightmare? The Dark Half is the fear of a personís evil self coming to life and the good self of the person being affected by the evil one\'s wrong doings, i.e. the evil twin story.
The mystery and inclusiveness of small town America plays a key role in a large number of books written by Stephen King. Castle Rock is the perfect example of a small town used in a few of King\'s books. It was used in Cujo, The Dead Zone, and The Body. It is a small town in Maine, which happens to be King\'s home state. Itís name came from a lake in Wisconsin. There is actually a town called Castle Rock in Maine now. There are also other examples of the utilization of small towns. In the Dark Half King manages to make Pittsburgh look like a small town located in Maine. In Gerald\'s Game a remote lakeside house in Maine is used. Sleepwalkers takes place in a small town in Indiana. There are many reasons Mr. King uses small towns in his novels. The whole small town culture makes it easier to intertwine the story among various characters. Small towns also seem to be separate from the world that we are used to today. Also, the fact that everyone knows everyone else helps with the significance of the actions of various characters.
There are many critics who have embraced the publicís passion for King books, but there are still a few who do not believe that he is a credible author worthy of the literature books of the future. Positive reviews are abundant. When King is at his best, then the reader is too busy turning pages to be