The Long Walk – Stephen King


Being that odd “fan” of the whole World going to hell and us, survivors trying to get it right this time, “The Long Walk” had the right ring to me and I couldn’t miss another story that Stephen King originally published under his Bachman persona.
Hundred of boys takes part in a yearly walk that will bring them fame and their dream prize. There can be only one winner and the finish line is there where there is only last boy standing. Alive. Hey it’s the whole story in one paragraph.
Matters are not that simple though. I grew to expect some heavy thinking when reaching for “Bachman’s” books as there are few titles where Stephen Kings presents us with big questions about us, the humanity and the direction we are heading. It’s no different with this story.
The idea of boys just walking until there is one left alive makes you ask the reasons why the young lads with whole lives ahead of them would want to take part in this fairly suicidal challenge. Are they frustrated, trying to prove the point? Or perhaps there are always some hundred boys that simply don’t mind playing with their lives. We don’t really know it and that’s not the most important point. Valid one yes but not the biggest.
The boys are being followed by the military staff willing to bring order to the walking group at a sight of the finest rebellion or lack of compliance. Every town the group is passing is eagerly awaiting the walking group with hope for some action and hopefully blood.
The plot of this story is a metaphor of our society, lives, the general direction of where we came from and where we head towards. The walking competition and the blood hungry spectators are vision of our near future which King doesn’t let us forget about, no matter how hard we might try he keeps on coming with quotes that make you feel low and brings you back right in front of the miserable sight we have in front us.
We, as a society became hungry for thrill and movies, books, games are just not enough anymore hence the need for such competition to take place so we can feed of misery of others, we can feed our hunger of sight of blood by following the young boys who head towards sure death.
The World depicted in “The Long Walk” is the World where one would rather want to see someone die to satisfy one’s need for thrill rather than try to help, rescue the ones that are about to drop out of the… race.
I mean I can’t stress enough how low and sad the book made me feel and how ordinary and usual it all appears there but King manages to scare the hell out of us without using monsters, ghosts, paranormal stuff. He just shows us what he sees through his window and it’s so scary as hell.