Academic journal article Notes on Contemporary Literature

Poe and Bloch in Stephen King's Secret Window, Secret Garden

Academic journal article Notes on Contemporary Literature

Poe and Bloch in Stephen King's Secret Window, Secret Garden

Article excerpt

It is important to cite the literary influences of Secret Window, Secret Garden (from Four Past Midnight, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990) as they are sadly lost in the process of David Koepp's cinematic adaptation of the novella. King's homage to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843) is obvious and a sign that, among other goals, King wanted to mirror the persecution that comes with guilt. Told through a narrator who claims he is not psychotic, protesting his sanity rather than his guilt, "The Tell-Tale Heart" unfolds to reveal a character that has killed his master, dismembered his corpse, and placed his remains underneath the floorboards. Upon the arrival of the police, he is so overcome with guilt--despite the fact he was not considered a suspect--that his conscious gives way to the belief that he can hear his slain victim's heart beating beneath the floor and admits to his crime in a fit of hysteria. While there are differences, particularly the ending, one can see the similarities with Secret Window, Secret Garden. Perhaps a longwinded narrative on first inspection, King's Secret Window, Secret Garden is necessarily so because Rainey's descent into madness is pivotal to the story; we must be drawn in and endure Rainey's life over two hundred pages. The claims of plagiarism are not emphasized enough in Koepp's adaptation, and he should have considered keeping in the daydreams Rainey endured throughout the novella (350, 440, etc). …

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