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"Heidi Strengell shows that by tapping into the wellsprings of the gothic to reveal contemporary phobias, Stephen King invokes the abnormal and repressed sexuality of the vampire, the hubris of Frankenstein, the split identity of the werewolf, the domestic melodrama of the ghost tale. Drawing on myths and fairy tales, he creates characters who, like the heroic Roland the Gunslinger and the villainous Randall Flagg, may either reinforce or subvert the reader's childlike faith in society. And in a manner of the naturalist tradition, he reinforces a tension between the free will of the individual and the daunting hand of fate."--Jacket.