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Stephen King Why We Crave Horror

Decent Essays
If the horrific crimes of each year were listed one after another, it would seem that truth really is more strange (and horrific) than fantasy. Why? Because real people are capable of atrocities. According to Stephen King in his article “Why We Crave Horror,” it is part of the “Human Condition” to have a dark side. Science even backs up those claims. In fact, our “brains make...imaginary monsters when [we] stare into a mirror.” It is called the Troxler Effect (unbelievable-facts.com). We are hardwired for both good and evil. In “Why We Crave Horror,” Stephen King accurately claims that humans crave horror in order to face our fear, to re-establish our feelings of normalcy and to experience a peculiar sort of fun. Humans really do crave…show more content…
In fact, the narrator is a student, “busting his brains on essay[s]” just like all of us have at many points (King, “Strawberry Spring” 2). Not only can we relate to him as a young person, but also as an adult. In the same way many people will, he marries, raises children and lands a good job. What we cannot relate to, and consequently, what re-establishes our feelings of normality, is the horror of what “the implacable and frightening Springheel Jack” is capable of--cutting throats, beheadings, and dismemberment (4). Furthermore, even the narrator’s wife’s worries regarding an affair seem trivial compared to all of the weight and implications of what festered in the trunk of her car. Ultimately, Stephen King’s protagonist “confirms for us that no matter how far we may be removed from the beauty” of our deepest desires, “we are still light-years from [the] true ugliness” of a Springheel Jack (King, “Why We Crave” 1). Horror reflects the taboo ways humans have “fun.” Despite the morbid fact that multiple women are killed in the short story “Strawberry Spring,” for example, the experience is a “peculiar sort of fun” (King, “Why We Crave” 2). Springheel Jack demonstrates Stephen King’s claim in two ways--he is both like us and at the same time, he is the monster exercising his macabre emotional muscles at the farthest end of the insanity spectrum. Notably, King suggests that “if we are all insane, then sanity becomes a matter of degree” (2), and
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