"The Wedding Gig" by Stephen King_
The extract under the discussion is written by Stephen King – American novelist and short-story writer, whose enormously popular books revived the interest in horror fiction from the 1970s. King's place in the modern horror fiction can be compared to that of J.R.R. Tolkien's who created the modern genre of fantasy. Like Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens or Balzac in his La Comedie humaine, King has expressed the fundamental concerns of his era, and used the horror genre as his own branch of artistic expression. King has underlined, that even in the world of cynicism, despair, and cruelties, it remains possible for individuals to find love and discover unexpected resources in themselves. His characters often conquer their own problems and malevolent powers that would suppress or destroy them.
King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
King evinces a thorough knowledge of the horror genre, as shown in his nonfiction book "Danse Macabre", which chronicles several decades of notable works in both literature and cinema. He also writes stories outside the horror genre, including the novellas "The Body" and "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (adapted as the movies "Stand By Me" and "The Shawshank Redemption", respectively), as well as "The Green Mile", "The Eyes of the Dragon", and "Hearts in Atlantis". In the past, Stephen King has written under the pen names Richard Bachman and once John Swithen.
King often begins a story with no idea how the story will end. He believes strongly that his best writing comes from freewriting, with no definite end at the beginning of a new work.
He is known for his great eye for detail, for continuity, and for inside references; many stories that may seem unrelated are often linked by secondary characters, fictional towns, or off-hand references to events in previous books. Read as a whole, King's work (which is centered around his Dark Tower series) creates a remarkable history that stretches from present day all the way back to the beginning of time (with a unique cosmogony).
King's books are filled with references to American history and American culture, particularly the darker, more fearful side of these. These references are generally spun into the stories of characters, often explaining their fears. Recurrent references include crime, war (especially the Vietnam War), violence, the supernatural, and racism.
King is also known for his folksy, informal narration, often referring to his fans as "Constant Readers" or "friends and neighbors." This familiar style contrasts with the horrific content of many of his stories.
Now let’s turn to the analysis of one of his works – “The Wedding Gig”.
While reading the extract under the study we realize the message easily seen in the plot of the story. The message tells us there are always fans of art, if it is real and worth one. We see the dauntless gangster who came in their place and listened to the whole show-party attentively. Then he invited the protagonist to the have a talk. No matter he did it unbecomingly and rudely – the fact is he wasn’t aware how to do it in other way, and solved the puzzle as he used to.
We know one’s appearance let us not get the full image of the person, but one’s deeds do. Firstly we could judge the guy in the white suit as a rich and spruce senior in easy circumstances by his bearing and clothes. Later having found out his name and brief history we might fantasy him as a perilous rogue and even perhaps a murderer. However at the end the idea comes into my mind he was quite a usual but intrepid and happy-go-lucky man with much confidence and liberties.
Though there isn’t a word saying he liked the music we can assume he shared his boys’ opinion concerning this band, as the fact of his coming to hear them speaks for itself. As far as I know, serious people aren’t used to joke. Besides, his invitation is the evidence the band did its best. Moreover, the modest words of the author about the band’s popularity in their place just leave no doubt they were really skillful musicians.
If to speak about the text itself we shall find rather interesting modifications of the author.
The first thing striking the eye when reading the extract is the familiar-colloquial style used in very free, informal situations of communication. Here we find emotionally coloured words, low colloquial vocabulary and slang words. This is the first sign proving the author belongs to the generation of modern writers trying to be closer to the lively English language. Among the words attracting our attention are the following:
“hick country, talkies, booze, chaperones, bimbos, hoods, to tie the knot, non-quit-legit, lassie, dancehall” etc. It’s not so easy sometimes to get the concrete meaning of the words when reading. This terminology adds the text quite a specific shade.
Giving a general definition of the extract under the study we should underline that the text is told in the 1st person narrative and the author addresses to the reader straight-forwardly through his character: “(you always know them, friend; they might as well be wearing signs)…”, as was mentioned above.
The narration is interlaced with the descriptive passages of the author and breezy dialogues of the personages. The narration is broken by no digression of any kind as the content rejects inane characteristics and leads to the realities of modern life.
The prevailing mood of the extract is rather optimistic and sometimes even cheerful.
Among the stylistic devices used by the author we should mention the cases of simile: “kept sending up rye as smooth as a varnished plank”, “smelled like a whole bottle of Wildroot Creme Oil and he had the flat, oddly shiny eyes that some deep-sea fish have” which demonstrate the character’s fantasy in creating associations and deepen our knowledge of the situations described.
The parallel construction together with the humorous effect gives great gratification to the reader: “The stars were out, soft and flickering. The hoods were out, too, but they didn’t look soft, and the only flickering were their cigarettes.” Here we see King’s dexterous choice of words.
We have here the sentences with the missing elements and shortened words, especially in the dialogues:
“Want to talk to you outside”, “My sis is tying the knot….”, etc., making the speeches of the heroes plausible and up-to-date, if I may say so.
Some statements sounds as the author’s own regret: “That was when jazz was jazz, not noise.” And we can assume Stephen King was not only an artist of a word, but as well an artist of the sound.
All in all, the extract makes me have some inscrutable interest to the whole literary work and one day when I’ve got all my things done I hope I will find the book to satisfy my desire.
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