Religion is an interesting topic. Religion can be used for good, but it can also be used for evil means. As I finished watching the Hulu original series The Handmaid’s Tale based on the novel by Margaret Atwood this is a thought that kept replaying in my head. These characters in this story are using religion for their twisted and perverse means. The premise of the story is of this dystopian world where women are no longer allowed to read and you have these women that are known as handmaid’s whose main role is to give their bodies over to this couple who can’t have children of their own. They’re not seen as a person, more of a vessel to create life and when they have a child they’re not considered the mom but the leaders of that household are. Now their whole justification for this way of living is based off of the Bible story of Rachel and Leah. Below is an excerpt from Genesis 30:1-3. The people of Gilead, the city in which the story takes place, took this scripture as literally as you can get. The handmaid lays on her back with the wife behind her while her husband has intercourse with her. There’s no intimacy, it’s cold and impersonal. In a way it’s like the handmaid isn’t even there. The thing that stands out to me in the story though is their supposed love for God and his scriptures, but it’s nothing more than mind control. I honestly see it as a reflection of today’s society. People use religion today as a fear tactic or as a form of mind control to get you to do what they want or be who they want you to be.
Another story that I could say that uses religion as mind control is Carrie by Stephen King. More specifically I’m thinking of the character of Carrie’s mother in the story. She was a known religious fanatic in the town, and she made Carrie feel bad about being normal. I remember watching the scene in the original 1976 adaptation when Carrie got her period and she didn’t know what was going on or what was happening to her body. When she got home and talked to her mom, her mom pulled out a Bible and started preaching to her about the sins of women. I’ll post that scene below, but you can’t you see how religion in literature is also a reflection of real life. Carrie’s mom made her feel dirty and wrong even though what her body was doing was perfectly normal and natural, but instead of talking to Carrie about it she hit her with a Bible…literally.
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
King James Version (KJV)
I am a self-proclaimed emotional reader. By my definition, an emotional reader is a person who gets so invested in a story and with the story’s characters that you become happy or sad when something good or bad happens to them and you can REALLY claim yourself as an emotional reader when you find yourself shedding tears over those characters. That would be me. Right now I’m in the middle of reading Needful Things by Stephen King and I shed a tear because a character (a child) committed suicide because of overwhelming guilt, not entirely his fault. Even when I saw it coming I had to put the book down and shake my head and I just kept saying “oh god no no no” but the inevitable happened…the fatal outcome. If you’re an emotional reader like me you shouldn’t be ashamed. One of my friends just reminded me it’s because I have a pure imagination, but let’s not also forget that Stephen King is an amazing writer who really focuses on character development. I believe that’s the main reasons his books are so long. He really digs deep into each character and you either love them or hate them and you feel tied to those characters.
Edgar Allan Poe is considered to be the man that started it all. He’s considered the father of horror and the father of the detective story. Poe has influenced many writers today. For me most recently I’ve noticed that Stephen King has taken a few pages out of Poe’s handbook. I believe there was a scene in IT that I read that eerily reminded me of Poe. More specifically something reminded me of “The Pit and the Pendulum.” There have been many other scenes like that of Stephen King’s that reflected Poe’s own style of writing. Is it any wonder that Stephen King is considered the modern day father of horror? It’s just like Poe passed the torch because there was no one else like Poe in his time. He was amazingly disturbed and his writing was dark and horrifying and Poe’s writing reflected your deepest fears. Heck, his writing reflected his deepest fears. I believe Stephen King is on that same level. He has distinguished himself from today’s writers. He’s gained this well-deserved reputation as an amazing horror writer. Horror is what he’s known for and much like Poe his writing reflects your deepest fears. Take IT for example, which is a story about an evil entity that loves transforming into a clown. When King wrote that he knew a lot people were terrified of clowns. Him and Poe were just ahead of their times. They knew how to push boundaries and get a reaction out of their audience and they succeeded. I’m a fan of both!
There has been an amazing resurgence of Stephen King this year. He has had two tv shows and two movies coming out this year (Mr. Mercedes, The Mist, The Dark Tower, and the upcoming IT). I am extremely looking forward to IT coming out this Friday!!!! *excited squeals* Anywho, I digress. Because of society’s renewed fascination with Stephen King it has also lit a fire within me as well as a reader. I started reading IT to prepare for the movie and then I also watched the 1990 miniseries, which was horrible in my opinion. It was cheesy and just plain bad. I didn’t even finish it. Anyway, I did all of that to prepare for the movie and now I want to continue reading more Stephen King. I just finished Salem’s Lot, and it is a fascinating and truly scary book. There were times in that book where I literally threw the book down and had to cover my eyes. For a writer to be able to produce those type of emotions out of a reader is great feat and King succeeds tremendously. Another thing that King is excellent at is great character development. Stephen King honestly gives his all as a writer, leaving no stone unturned. He makes the reader feel about these characters. I did finish reading Salem’s Lot a few days ago, and then I watched the 1979 movie yesterday. There were some things about the miniseries that I had a problem with like the fact that some of the characters names were changed and some plot points were changed, but overall it was a decent adaptation. The next Stephen King novel I plan on reading is Misery and then I plan on reading The Shining. This resurgence of Stephen King is really exciting for me because I feel like a new generation is being introduced to him, mainly because all of these tv shows and movies are coming out and so you know what that usually does to people. It makes people curious. It made me curious. Although, I’m not new to Stephen King. I’ve read Carrie, The Green Mile, and Pet Semetary but this year has reintroduced me to him.
I just recently realized that my hobby is collecting books. I’ve always loved books and today I was in Books-A-Million and I saw so many books that I wanted. I saw this an illustrated editiom of Homer’s The Odyssey and it looked magnificient. One day my dream is to have home library. I have so many books already. I mean there is nothing like resding a good book. Now I’m on a Stephen King kick. I just finished reading IT a couple of weeks ago and now I’m reading Salem’s Lot. Reading can just take you so many places.
As the saying usually goes, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie and this is no exception to the rule. In my journey preparing for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT I finished reading the massive book about a week ago and tonight I decided to watch the 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry and honestly, it’s not all its cracked up to be. Maybe it’s because I’m older and never watched it as a child, but it’s more corny and cheesy than scary. I know a lot of people rave about Tim Curry’s performance, but even his performance to me was really cheesy. It almost didn’t even creep me out. The one part that I did find creepy was when they were flipping through Mike’s old photo album when they were kids and the picture came to life and Pennywise came out of it, but other than that it didn’t terrify me. Like I said before though, maybe it’s because I’m older. On the bright side, I did enjoy the parts they kept faithful to the book like in the beginning with Mrs. Denbrough playing the piano or the epic rock fight when their group of six becomes the Lucky 7. I haven’t seen the new movie yet but I think this new movie is going to be way better. Just from watching the trailer you can tell that the tone is dark and I believe that they’re going to do a great job of building tension (which the miniseries doesn’t do a good job) and Bill Skarsgård’s look is just perfect. They do a really good job of playing up the childishness of Pennywise in his first appearance in the trailer. I’m extremely excited to see this movie and we only have 29 more days to go!
One of the most incredible things to me is the way books can paint a pretty vivid picture in your head. I’m still in the middle of reading Stephen King’s IT and I am absolutely in love. King does an amazing job of building a scene for you. It’s no wonder that a lot of people described the book being a lot scarier than the movie. We have to realize that what makes a book better than the movie no matter whether it’s a horror story or something else is the fact that as readers we have to use our imagination. While watching a movie you’re not able to use your imagination. The scenes are force fed to us but reading the book creates a whole new experience for the reader. I have really been enjoying reading IT. It has definitely been an interesting experience. I still have a lot left to read. This book is massive, but I am looking forward to this journey leading up to the new adaptation coming out in September!