Van in front of Grand Tetons

A Brief Analysis and Review of Stephen King’s The Stand (Spoilers)

Jackson Nielsen

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading through all 500,000 words of Stephen King’s 1978 novel The Stand. As a long time fan of Stephen King’s thrillers, I was excited to delve into the pages of this book. The story begins with the accidental release of a military grade super virus that begins as a common cold and then progresses to a near 100% mortality rate. However, there are a select few who are immune to this virus. These survivors are the story’s main characters, spanning all the way across the United States. King wrote this beginning part of the story very masterfully in my opinion. You get a look into many different people’s lives as they survive the beginnings of the pandemic but they are all separated by many miles. As the story progresses and the foundation of the country collapses, all of these characters are drawn together by a supernatural force that comes in the way of a 108 year old Nebraska native, Mother Abigail. This God-fearing woman has an aura that attracts all of the main characters to her homestead where all of the story lines come together. But like all good stories, where there is good, there must be evil. This evil has many names but he is commonly referred to as Randall Flagg. Like Mother Abigail, he also has a supernatural aura but unlike Mother Abigails, Flagg’s draws the wicked people of the country to his domain which is based out of Las Vegas.

The main conflict of this story comes when the main characters move to Boulder, Colorado and begin their work in restoring humanity within the community. Flagg knows of this group and of Mother Abigail’s power and plans to destroy them using scavenged military weaponry. The good group catches wind of these plans through their own visions and plots to put a stop to this treachery before it can come over the mountains and destroy everything they have been working towards. So, the strongest group of men, guided by Mother Abigail’s visions, begin to travel on foot to Las Vegas to confront Flagg and his army of villains. Up to this point, I was immersed in this post-apocalyptic world and had a hard time putting the book down. So, as the story began to reach the climax, my expectations could not have been higher. Now, don’t get me wrong, the climax of the story was still good, but perhaps it just wasn’t what I had anticipated. To be brief, as the evil group gathers to watch the good guys get killed by Randall Flagg, a nuclear warhead that was scavenged gets set off, killing everyone in the vicinity.

So with all of the build up through all of the pages, I wasn’t expecting such an abrupt conclusion. The story ends with the remaining two main characters making their return to Boulder and breaking the news to the community. Overall, I really liked this book. The length of the book was perfect, a long story that gets you really attached to the characters and invested in the storyline. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves thrilling books and a great storyline.