The Craft of Storytelling through Memory In Stephen Kings Novella The Body

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Stephen King's novella, "The Body," is portrayed through an interesting juxtaposition of narrative techniques. The narrator is an omnipresent voice in this story, while he relates events of his youth when he and some friends went out to track down the body of a dead peer.


The younger character does this both through his perceptions as an adolescent and through his fledgling writing attempts. The combination of these two elements, the perception of memory and the art of storytelling, prove to be such interesting elements of King's writing that they bear closer examination.
Memory plays a huge role in the story, as the plot is told through the point of view of an older Gordon Lachance. As such, the entire story could be said to spring from his memories, however accurate they may be. The narrator frequently will note a specific location of the past and update it with current information, such as the vacant lot where the boys had a treehouse now has "a moving company on that lot today, and the elm is gone." (289). These segues serves a dual purpose, for, not only do they remind the reader that many of the events are in the distant past, they also underline the point that the narrator is reminiscing from a later date. The first point indicates that the events are complete and cannot be changed; the latter implies that the narrator is perceiving the events from a more mature vantage, having had time to process his adolescent escapades. This allows the narrator a more critical and analytic approach to the description of the story as a whole, rather than if he had tried to write it from the younger Gordon's point of view. ...
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