"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


  • Assunta Assia Zizza Università degli Studi di Bergamo




Stephen King, Gerald's Game, Child Abuse


In 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.


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Articles (general section) - American language, literature, and culture