Analysis Of Stephen King's Short Story 'The Reach'

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Literary Analysis of the Reach Stella Flanders, the oldest resident of Goat Island, is the main character in Stephen King’s short story “The Reach”, “and she had never once in her life been to the mainland” (1). Now-a-days it is normal to visit the mainland often but, Stella is old-fashioned and feels as though she has her every need available to her on the island. Throughout the short story we are given insight to Stella’s internal conflicts. One internal battle is her conflicting feelings about crossing over the reach into the mainland. The other- is her subconscious internal battle of her soul crossing the threshold from this world to the next. “The Reach” displays literal and figurative representation of crossing over a threshold.…show more content…
She is the oldest resident on Goat Island and has never been across the reach. It is a fear of change that keeps her. It is the knowledge of others’ experiences of crossing the reach that intimidates her and make her believe that her experience will be similarly unfortunate. It is the comfort and familiarity of the island that keeps her. The islanders have postulated many different reasons as to why she has never crossed; however, the only one who knows the answer is Stella Flanders. Crossing the threshold from the familiarity of Goat Island onto the Mainland via the reach has never been an interest or a necessity, therefore she never has. She sees many people cross the reach and return: many who have crossed the reach and have not returned. What keeps her from crossing the reach is a mystery. When questioned why she never left, she responds, “No, I’ve never felt I needed to leave the island. My life was here. The reach was wider in those days” (King 4). By stating the reach was wider in those days she is expressing that it was much less easily accessible.…show more content…
Her husband Bill Flanders died of cancer twelve years prior, and Stella now hears his voice and sees his shadow. “She saw his shadow fall beside her, longer but just as clear-cut, the shadow-bill of his shadow-cap twisted jauntily off to one side just as he had always worn it” (King 2). She hears his voice saying her name and asking her when she would be coming across to the “mainland.” Given the circumstances, the “mainland” in this case is heaven. He has come to welcome her from this world to where is. Throughout the short story she is accompanied by the voice and shadow of her husband Bill more frequently. This winter is especially rough for her. She has arthritis which the cold of winter affects her joints and makes her uncomfortable. She also suffers from severe stomach pain caused by what she assumes is stomach cancer because it was causal to the passing away of both her mother and father. Old age was certainly not slowing these conditions, but speeding them up. She is growing progressively sicker each and every passing day, nearing the end of her existence. Stella is hearing voices, the voices of lost loved ones returning to her to call her home. “’Is it -- ‘ ‘Time?’ Bull asked. ‘Oh, ayuh, Stella, I guess so. But it don’t hurt. At least, I never heard so. All that’s before’” (King, 14). She set off concealed by the dark of the night not only to cross the threshold of the reach between Goat Island and the mainland but

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