The Long Walk
By Stephen King
The Long Walk is yet another chilling creation King’s, great in the simplicity of its story line. A contest where there can only be one winner, a simple walk, and the prize – the equivalent of a lottery ticket. So what’s the problem? The problem is in losing.
Every year in Maine the event known as The Long Walk takes place. Here one hundred teenage boys enlist for a shot at their big dream. They walk until they can no longer walk. And when they no longer walk they die. And when one remains, he is proclaimed the winner.
King teases the reader at the onset of the story by never really spelling out what happens when a walker violates one of the three rules – walking too slow, stumbling, or sitting down. He insinuates, he taunts, and then he lets you have it. A character known as Major, who would definitely be one of King’s most sinister, gives you your parting flowers with three violations within a given time frame. Your parting gift? A bullet to the head, while the other contestants are to keep walking, to keep going. There will be fans, cajoling, cameras along the way, while the one hundred contestant walk day and night without rest. In the end you that there is no real winner, as the real prize is sanity, and all those who managed to hold on to that bowed out of the race long before the winner.
It is interesting to watch the main character, Raymond Garraty, as he journeys through the contest. Making friends that he knows will be dead soon, watching while others are killed, coming close a few times himself. King really barrels in on the hopelessness the walkers begin to feel in the race, and the fact that the prize was really no prize at all. This one is another Stephen King winner in its straightforwardness, and shock value. Bravo King.