"Remembering a Thing and Reliving a Thing Does Not Confer an Obligation to Tell About a Thing:" Perspectives on Child Abuse in Stephen King's Gerald's Game
Keywords:Stephen King, Gerald's Game, Child Abuse
AbstractIn an attempt to reduce the importance of Stephen King’s extraordinary success as a gothic/horror writer, Harold Bloom harshly criticizes his work stating that his “triumph is a large emblem of the failures of American education,” and he “will be remembered as a sociological phenomenon, an image of the death of the Literate Reader” (Bloom 2). Through an attentive analysis of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game, in this article I hope to prove how a popular writer such as King can play an important role in affording his readers deeper insights about socially relevant issues. In the way it addresses the issues of child abuse and women’s memory recovery, King’s Gerald’s Game transcends the boundaries of a “regular” gothic horror narrative, thus leveling a profound critique at the social attitude towards these issues in the American society of the 1990s. Although it may have failed to create widespread change in policy or an increase in public attention, an attentive close reading of Gerald’s Game offers an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the specific moment in American history from which it originates, besides raising important questions about the diverse ways in which contemporary horror literature manages to catalyze sociological tensions in narrative form.
Bill Summary & Status 101st Congress (1989 - 1990) S.3266: All Information. The Library of Congress 11/29/1990. Last Visited 29/08/2013.
Campbell, Susan. Relational Remembering: Rethinking the Memory Wars. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003.
Davis, Jonathan P. Stephen King’s America. Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994.
Doninger, Wendy. “Shackled to the Past.” Rev. of Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. New York Times 16 August 1992: E5.
“False Memory Syndrome Foundation” False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Last Visited 10/08/2013. Faludi, Susan. Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women. New York: Crown, 1991.
Gates, David. “Our Number-One Fan Strikes Again.” Rev. of Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. Newsweek. 6 July 1992: 1.
Greenhouse, Linda. “Child Abuse Trials Can Use Television.” New York Times 28 June 1990: A13.
Hacking, Ian. Rewriting The Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.
Herman, Judith. Trauma and Recovery. New York: Basic Books, 1992.
King, Stephen. Gerald’s Game. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
Rivera, Margo. Fragment by Fragment: Feminist Perspectives on Memory and Child Sexual Abuse. Charlottetown: Synergy Books, 1999.
Stanton, Mike. “U-Turn on Memory Lane.” Columbia Journalism Review, July/August (1997): 44-49.
Strauss, Claude Levi. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. London: Eyne and Spottiswoode, 1969.
LicenseIperstoria is an Open Access journal.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 BY-NC License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. We require authors to inform us of any instances of re-publication.