Arguably the greatest horror novel ever written by the greatest horror novelist, THE STAND is a truly terrifying reading experience, and became a four-part mini-series that memorably brought to life the cast of characters and layers of story from the novel. It is an apocalyptic vision of the... read more
Book I - Captain Trips
The novel is divided into three parts, or books. The first is titled "Captain Trips" and takes place over nineteen days, with the escape and spread of a human-made biological weapon, a superflu (influenza) virus known formally as "Project Blue" but most commonly as... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Book I - Captain Trips
The novel is divided into three parts, or books. The first is titled "Captain Trips" and takes place over nineteen days, with the escape and spread of a human-made biological weapon, a superflu (influenza) virus known formally as "Project Blue" but most commonly as "Captain Trips" (among some other colloquialisms). The epidemic leads directly to the death of an estimated 99.4% of the world's human population.
King outlines the total breakdown and destruction of society through widespread violence, the failure of martial law to contain the outbreak, and eventually the death of virtually the entire population. The human toll is also dealt with, as the few survivors must care for their families and friends, dealing with confusion and grief as their loved ones succumb to the flu.
The expanded edition opens with a prologue titled "The Circle Opens" that offers greater detail into the circumstances surrounding the development of the virus and the security breach that allowed its escape from the secret laboratory compound where it was created.
Book II - On the Border
Intertwining cross-country odysseys are undertaken by a small number of survivors, including:
* Stu's party:
o Stuart Redman, a factory worker from the fictional, tiny Arnette, Texas;
o Frances Goldsmith and Harold Lauder, a pregnant college student and an overweight high school outcast, respectively, both from Ogunquit, Maine;
o Glen Bateman, a quick-witted, pessimistic sociology professor from New Hampshire, and his dog, an Irish Setter named Kojak (or Big Steve, as he later reveals himself)— one of the very few dogs immune to the plague;
o Perion McCarthy and Mark Braddock, two lovers who are already a couple when they meet Stu's group;
o Dayna Jurgens, a hard-headed and determined woman from Xenia, Ohio;
o Susan Stern, a former student from Kent State University;
o Patty Kroger, a beautiful 15-year-old girl.
* Nick's party:
o Nick Andros, an insightful deaf-mute wanderer originally from fictional Caslin, Nebraska;
o Tom Cullen, a kind-hearted mentally retarded man from May, Oklahoma.
o Ralph Brentner, a jolly, easy-going farmer from Oklahoma;
o Dick Ellis, a former veterinarian in his early 50's;
o Gina McCone, a little girl;
o Olivia Walker, a sympathetic older woman;
o June Brinkmeyer, a redhead woman in her mid-20's.
* Larry's party:
o Larry Underwood, a disillusioned pop musician from New York City;
o Rita Blakemoor, a rich middle-aged woman from New York City;
o Nadine Cross, a virginal kindergarten teacher with a dark secret from New Hampshire;
o Leo "Joe" Rockway, a savage, amnesiac, and telepathic boy;
o Lucy Swann, a 24-year-old housewife from New Hampshire;
o Judge Farris, a man in his late seventies.
They are drawn together by both circumstances and their shared dreams of a 108-year-old black woman from Hemingford Home, Nebraska, whom they see as a refuge and a representation of good in the struggle of good versus evil. This woman, Abagail Freemantle (known as "Mother Abagail"), becomes the spiritual leader of this group of survivors, directing them to Boulder, Colorado, referred to as "the Free Zone" (officially "The Boulder Free Zone"), where they begin to reestablish a democratic society; much of this section of the book involves the struggles to create an orderly society more or less from scratch. Boulder is found to have considerably fewer plague victims than other cities due to a mass exodus following a false rumor in the early stages of the plague that the outbreak originated in the Boulder Air Test Center. While many corpses are present there, they number far fewer than any other major city in North America.
Meanwhile, another group of survivors includes
* Lloyd Henreid, a not-too-bright common thief and murderer;
* Donald Merwin Elbert, known as "the Trashcan Man", a schizophrenic pyromaniac;
* Whitney Horgan, an ex-Army cook and butcher;
* Julie Lawry, an unstable, oversexed teenager;
* "the Rat Man", a pirate-like hood;
* Barry Dorgan, a former detective of the Santa Monica Police Department;
* Jenny Engstrom, a nightclub dancer and later construction worker; and
* Hector "Heck" Drogan, a civilian who is executed for drug abuse by Flagg's punishment system.
They are drawn to Las Vegas, Nevada by Randall Flagg (known as "the Dark Man", "the Hardcase", "the Tall Man", and "the Walkin’ Dude"), an evil being with supernatural powers; he represents evil, the opposite influence of Mother Abagail. Flagg’s rule is tyrannical and brutal, using crucifixion, torture and other torments as punishment for those who are disloyal and disobedient. His group is able to quickly reorganize their society, restore power to Las Vegas, and rebuild the city as many technical professionals have migrated to the city. The book notes that at Las Vegas, Flagg's group is constantly working and has organized a strong but harsh structure while at the Free Zone, some survivors lounge idly and do not work as hard. Flagg's group also has started a schooling system and weapons program with survivor Carl Hough as a helicopter pilot and the Trashcan Man searching the country for weapons.
The Free Zone's democratic society is not without its problems. Mother Abagail, feeling that she has become prideful and sinned due to her pleasure at being a public figure, disappears into the desert on a journey of spiritual reconciliation. Meanwhile, Harold's bitterness over his unrequited love for Fran and Nadine's secret commitment to Flagg lead the two of them to detonate a dynamite bomb at a meeting of the Free Zone committee. The explosion, which kills several people (including Nick Andros), takes place at the same time that Mother Abagail is discovered, severely weakened by her time in the wilderness.
Book III - The Stand
The stage is now set for the final confrontation as the two camps become aware of one another, and each recognizes the other as a threat to its survival, leading to the "stand" of good against evil. There is no pitched battle, however. Instead, at Mother Abagail's dying behest, Stu, Larry, Ralph and Glen set off on foot towards Las Vegas on an expedition to confront Randall Flagg. Stu breaks his leg en route and drops out. He encourages the others to leave without him, telling them that God will provide for him. Glen's dog stays behind with Stu. Glen, Ralph, and Larry soon encounter Flagg's men, who take them prisoner. When Glen rejects an opportunity to be spared if he kneels and begs Flagg, he is shot by Lloyd Henreid, on Flagg's direct order. Flagg gathers his entire collective to witness the execution of the other two, but before it can take place, Trashcan Man arrives with a nuclear warhead and a giant glowing hand—"The Hand of God"—detonates the bomb, destroying Flagg's followers and the two remaining prisoners.
Stu, with the aid of Kojak and later Tom Cullen, survives injury, illness, and a harsh Rocky Mountain winter. The three of them arrive back in Boulder soon after the birth of Fran’s baby. Although the baby falls ill with the superflu, he is able to fight it off. In the end, Stu and Fran decide to return to Maine, and the original edition of the novel ends with the two of them questioning whether the human race can learn from its mistakes. The answer, given in the last line, is ambiguous: "I don’t know."
The expanded edition follows this with a brief coda called "The Circle Closes", which leaves a darker impression and fits in with King’s ongoing "wheel of ka" theme. Randall Flagg, using the alias "Russell Faraday", arrives on a beach and begins recruiting adherents among a preliterate, dark-skinned people.
“Under the California desert and subsidized by the taxpayers' money, someone had finally invented a chain letter that really worked.”Stephen King
“I never seen doctors look scared like that. I didn't much care for it.”Joe Bob Brentwood
“Something like this, if it only makes you a little bit psycho, you're way ahead.”Larry Underwood
“M-O-O-N, that spells DeeDee Packalotte...”Tom Cullen
“His skin was already going lobster red. He didn't feel it, although that night it would keep him awake in a kind of exaltation. There were bigger and better fires ahead. His eyes were soft and joyful and utterly crazy. They were the eyes of a man who has discovered the great axle of his destiny and laid his hands upon it.”Stephen King
“Baby can you dig your man?”Larry Underwood
No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just ... come out the other side.Highlighted by 197 Kindle customers
Show me a man or woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call “society.” Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.Highlighted by 176 Kindle customers
love is what moves the world, I’ve always thought ... it is the only thing which allows men and women to stand in a world where gravity always seems to want to pull them down ... bring them low ... and make them crawlHighlighted by 128 Kindle customers
dreams are the psyche’s way of taking a good dump every now and then.Highlighted by 127 Kindle customers
consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.Highlighted by 114 Kindle customers
The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything.Highlighted by 111 Kindle customers
Religious mania is one of the few infallible ways of responding to the world’s vagaries, because it totally eliminates pure accident. To the true religious maniac, it’s all on purpose.Highlighted by 103 Kindle customers
Put not your trust in the princes of this world, for they will frig thee up and so shalt their governments, even unto the end of the earth.Highlighted by 95 Kindle customers
“The Lord is my shepherd,” he recited softly. “I shall not want for nothing. He makes me lie down in the green pastures. He greases up my head with oil. He gives me kung-fu in the face of my enemies. Amen.”Highlighted by 73 Kindle customers
Gentlemen, a regrettable incident has occurred. And when a regrettable incident occurs which involves any branch of the United States Military, we don’t question the roots of that incident but rather how the branches may best be pruned. The service is mother and father to us. And if you find your mother raped or your father beaten and robbed, before you call the police or begin an investigation, you cover their nakedness. Because you love them.Highlighted by 51 Kindle customers
In the final chapters Larry said he opened for "Arrowsmith" once, when it should be Aerosmith. I don't think this is an error. King has always had a way of changing details slightly from the real world. Not always, but sometimes.
In the uncut edition, it says in two paragraphs of the same chapter that theTrashcan Man started lighting fires in first or second grade, then that he started in the fifth grade.
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