Teaching Stephen King
I work at a wonderful school. A wonderful school that has given me the opportunity to teach an entire course on one novel. The Stand. Perhaps the most prolific novel of my generation. I read this novel as a troubled teenager and it changed me.
I do not take the opportunity to teach this novel lightly.
For months now I have been trying to come up with an approach to this novel. In describing the novel to a colleague, she mentioned that it seems to fit well with Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey. And she’s right. Stu Redman is very much a hero in the novel. But then, so is Nick. And Frannie. And even Larry. In fact, all the people Mother Abigail dreams about can be considered heroes. So, maybe this is step one.
1. Teach the Hero’s Journey as a way to critically examine the novel. Have student choose which character they believe is the hero and prove it using Campbell’s steps and evidence from the novel.
OK, so this approach, and the fact that the novel is 1400 pages long, will take us through most of the semester. But I still need one more approach to this class. One more lens, if you will, that the students can use to examine this battle of good and evil on their own.
Oh, and if you have not yet read this masterpiece, please do. But, be warned, you will have nightmares.