Deliver us from evil.
It’s a phrase I have repeated over and over in my life, especially when I have been most afraid. It is the only thing I know to say in the face of darkness and fear; that or the words, “I love you.” Even Stephen King knows that evil cannot stand for long against light. Laughter. Or, love.
The characters in this novel know, without needing to be told, who Mother Abagail and the dark man are. They feel the powers at war within themselves; they have dreams which will not let them sleep. And, they are called. Some make their way to Boulder, Colorado where the forces of good are gathering under Mother Abagail’s guidance. Some make their way to Las Vegas, so aptly nicknamed Sin City.
But he is in Las Vegas, and you must go there, and it is there that you will make your stand.You will go, and you will not falter, because you will have the Everlasting Arm of the Lord God of Hosts to lean on. Yes. With God’s help you will stand. (p. 904)
My mother has often suggested that the Enemy is not ugly at all. Because he is the father of lies, the ultimate deceiver, perhaps he is really quite handsome. Perhaps he wears a jacket with two buttons on the front pockets, blue jeans, and low-heeled cowboy boots such as the Walkin’ Dude does.
Perhaps the plague which annihilated most of the world’s population was begun by scientists with less than honorable intentions. Or, perhaps the very hand of Satan was behind their invention gone awry. In any case, the world which Stephen King created in this novel does not seem as far fetched as it once might have been. In fact, the scariest part of all is that it feels downright possible.
Until the very end we are drawn into the battle, witnessing the stand of courage against that which frightens us most.
Yet, I will fear no evil. Even when it seems it will not be vanquished.
It’s a grand novel, isn’t it?
It’s interesting what you said about the Enemy. On The Walking Dead, the big bad guy, Negan is evil at its best but he is charming, witty and fine to look at. I do believe that under the veil of beauty and attractiveness, the Enemy can and often does whatever he pleases.
I have never seen The Walking Dead, it is all I can do to endure Blacklist episodes although I am quite enamored of James Spader. It’s interesting how evil entices us, even when we know better and try to resist its appeal. Part of the solution, I think, is being aware of the Enemy’s capabilities.
This is such a great novel! It’s been years since I read it, but I keep thinking about reading it a second time. Another great book, which is reminiscent of The Stand, is Swan Song by Robert McCammon. I dare say, it might even be better than The Stand!
I have been crazy about Robert McCammon’s work before, specifically A Boy’s Life. Thanks for leaving me this new title of his with your recommendation.
Congratulations! You certainly have jumped into Mr King’s waters with both feet. I would never have thought to start with the Stand. Of course, when I read it, there weren’t that many other of his books to choose from. I had already read the others. Some of the images I received from it still remain after all this time. I find it somewhat unsettling that the original version will be 40 next year. How time passes…..and how I have changed. Back then I would have seen your spiritual take on it as just something an old lady would say about anything that was good. Now I can see that it was I that was too young…… I will have to re read this to see how it comes across now.
I have read King’s work before, specifically Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, Misery, and 11/3/63. This is just the first time I’ve been “able” to complete The Stand. Stephen King has an incredible command of the Bible, and while some of his theology is a little wonky, his very knowledge of good and evil has alarmed me. He is too well versed in the Enemy’s tactics to take his writing lightly.
I cannot escape the references to good and evil in this book; it is exactly what the novel is all about. Reading it simply for the plot is missing the point altogether. While the plot and characterization are expertly done, pulling us into the story as only King can do, the focus is on taking a stand against evil. And for that I applaud his effort.
I hope you take the time to reread it, and see if you find a different perspective than you held the first time around. I find for myself that I never come back to a book with the same observations twice. Something fresh always pops up.
Well, I did some looking around this weekend. In the end I found a copy of the unexpurgated version already in my possession. Sadly I did not find my paperback version from 1980. This is the one that has the dark blue cover with the even darker face and the bright golden eyes. I have always thought that that particular cover art was such an apt depiction of the book. Way better than any of the others. But I digress.As the edition I found is the one available now, it will have to do.
And it’s bound to be different, now that so much time has passed. If it isn’t, I should wonder about myself.At the time, I had little to compare it to. Since then I have learned the layout and characters of the medieval passion play, read Milton, McCarthy, Frank, Huxley, Orwell, and many of the endless teen dystopian novels. The Bible goes without saying. The battle between good and evil is an old plot, and it still works and sells. The difference is the quality of the storyteller.
I have wanted to re-read this for years, to see if it remained the same and had the same value as in my memory, but have always been unable to decide which version to read. Now I have to fit it in somewhere between 3 book clubs and other business-type readings.
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It is hard to find the time to read, and reread, all that we want. I really enjoyed this unabridged version, all 1100+ pages of it.
Sometimes when I come back to a book, it doesn’t effect me the same way at all. I was quite disappointed when I rereax The Thorn Birds several decades after my first time through. But other books season with time, and I gain something new. The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, never disappoint me. They only become richer with each subsequent reading.
It will be interesting to see how you react to The Stand coming to it at this point in your life, especially as you have read so much substantial literature in between.
This is my favourite King – I’ve read it twice now and recently bought an uncut version (I know – it’s even longer!!!!) so plan to reread it again one day soon.
King does good vs evil so very well.
Glad you enjoyed it too 🙂
This was the uncut version, perhaps that is part of why it took me 4 weeks to read! I can see rereading this one, there’s a lot happening, plus he is so stupendous at characterisation. My friend and I were talking about how sad we were when Nick died…and how fascinating it is that on the last page Flagg reappears.
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Flagg also appears in several of King’s other books, including The Gunslinger series.
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