• Long, Long Short Story Discussion: “Rita Hayworth and
• Author Introduction: Stephen King
• Historical Context
• Literary Style
Stephen King 1947-
• AKA: Steve King,
John Swithen, and
Stephen King: Brief Biography
• King was born in Portland, Maine, and except for his
elementary school years, he lived much of the rest of his
life there. He received a B.A. in English from the
University of Maine at Orono in 1970, prepared to teach
high school English. A draft board examination
immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of
high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and
• King ended his high-school teaching career with the
success of Carrie, Published in 1974.
• King is best known for writing Horror, but he does venture
into a more mainstream genre with some of his novels
and stories. King himself compares his writing to medieval
morality plays [allegorical drama popular in Europe
especially during the 15th and 16th centuries, in which the
characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or
vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which
moral lessons are taught.] The Green Mile, for example,
is often referred to as both a tragedy and a morality play. I
will leave you to figure out if “Shawshank” fits the
description of a morality play.
Literary or not?
• There is much discussion about King’s place in
the artistic field. Some say both his
productiveness and his success make him worthy
of a spot on the list of literary greats. Others
acknowledge that his plots are full of surprises,
but assert that his words and phrases are not; his
prose style lacks the sophistication and creativity
of a true literary genius. It is this more pedestrian
style of writing that keeps him from achieving the
status of John Updike or Cormac McCarthy.
• Alcatraz operated as a prison from 1934 to 1963. A little over
1,500 men were housed there during its relatively brief stint as
one of America’s most notorious prisons. One of the more
famous prisoners was Robert “Birdman” Stroud who got his
nickname while in prison at Leavenworth. Stroud became an
ornithologist while at Leavenworth and became very well-known
in birding circles, though few knew he was a prisoner for much
of the time. Stroud was an avid reader and lived much of his life
in solitary confinement. Books and birds were his best friends.
• Stroud may be the inspiration for King’s character, Brooks
Hatlen, the only other prisoner we meet with a college degree.
Historical Context: The Great Escape
• One summer night in 1962, Frank Morris, John Anglin, and
Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz. They chiseled away
sections of the wall around the air vent in the rear of their cells
with the handles of steel spoons. While inmates played
instruments loudly at a concert, Morris and the Anglin brothers
broke through the backs of their cells and into the utility tunnel.
They climbed the pipes and made it to the roof of Alcatraz
prison. They launched into the San Francisco Bay in a raft made
of prison raincoats. Some think that one or more of them
escaped to Central or South America due to their library records
and attempts to learn Spanish. More think they drowned.
•Who is the narrator?
•Is he reliable? Why
or why not?
•Q: Why was it so
wanted to put the
story in the
perspective of Red?
• Q: Is hope a possible theme
in the story?
• Rita Hayworth
• Q: What was so important
that the poster had to be of
Rita Hayworth? Couldn’t it be
any other poster?
• Andy Dufresne
• What is Andy Dufresne is
symbolic of and what does
he represent to Red and to
the rest of the inmates at
• Warden Norton
• What or who is Norton
symbolic or representative
Discuss trauma as it applies to any
one character in “Rita Hayworth
and the Shawshank Redemption.”
Use textual support to make a case
that the traumatic incident has long
Using a psychoanalytic lens, do a
character profile of any one
character in “Rita Hayworth and
QHQs: “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.”
1. Q: Red murdered his wife, yet Stephen
King is able to portray him as a
sympathetic character. How is this
2. Q: What is Steven King saying about
redemption in this story?
3. Q: Why does Andy trust Red so much?
4. Q: Why is the narrator’s reputation so
important to him?
5. Q: What was the significance of including the brief mention of
Sherwood Bolton, the prisoner who was freed and had a pet
6. Q: Is redemption even possible after committing a sin or a crime?
• Read “The Metamorphosis” Chapter 1
• Post #19
Discuss the details Kafka uses to establish Gregor’s life before
his metamorphosis into an insect. How do these familiar details
and objects define Gregor’s character and life?
The relationship between Gregor and his father is at the core of
the story. Describe this relationship both before and after
Much of this part of the story, focuses on Gregor’s inner life.
Describe Gregor’s private thoughts and emotions; use
psychoanalytic theory to discuss his attitudes toward his family
and outside world.