Walking the Walk

Sambruni Raves Over Stephen King Horror


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The Long Walk is a dystopian novel written by Stephen King under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.

Matteo Sambruni, Paolite Staff Writer

The Long Walk is a dystopian novel written by Stephen King under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. Released on January 1, 1979, it is one of King’s bestselling novels to date — receiving the award for “Best Book for Young Adults” from the American Library Association.

The book focuses on protagonist Raimond Davis ‘Ray’ Garraty, a sixteen-year-old boy from Pownal, Maine, and another 99 boys who participate in the annual grueling “Long Walk.”

This march takes place on U.S. Route 1, and the participation in the event is completely voluntary. The characters idolized the previous Walkers and saw them as heroes, but this gruesome competition is just an entertainment event, where 99 teenagers die on the road, while America watches.

The Walkers need to keep a steady pace of four miles an hour without ever stopping, the last man standing wins “The Prize.” This reward is chosen by the winner to be whatever he wants for the rest of his life.

Even with such great possibilities, this amazing feat comes with a price. There are some rules every contestant must follow. They must march on steadily without any external aid, despite the lack of finish line, and cannot slow down. Three warnings are given for a slowing pace until the contestant is out of The Walk entirely.

The Major runs The Walk, his soldiers, part of the Squad, are the secret police who control the country, but also finish off the boys who stop marching. The Major is initially seen as a heroic figure, but whatever respect and worship the boys have for him quickly diminishes with each additional mile they spend on the road.

Even if they all decided for their personal reasons to participate in The Walk, almost all of them regret it. After losing friends and all of their hopes, most of the contestants decide to die peacefully.

This beautiful book draws the reader into The Walk, making him feel part of the Walkers, almost feeling their physical pain and always at the verge of a mental breakdown.

I personally feel like this is one of King’s most accomplished books, that even with a slow pace is able to make you feel like you are walking at four miles an hour for the entire duration of the reading.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to dive into the idea of human behavior in difficult situations, what makes a person keep moving even in the worst moments and what finally gives the last stroke and ends them. It is definitely not a book for everyone but any of King’s fans will enjoy it. With a more psychological plot, the book is closer to The Shining and less to King’s typical horror story like IT.