Under the Dome, by Stephen King, Scribner, November 2009
“Hoard a penny and lose a dollar(page 1022),” Stephen King writes in his 2009 novel “Under the Dome, “The survival-watchman inside thought seventy-two hours was seventy-two hours, and every minute of those seventy-two hours counts…It was seventy-two hours if it was the two of them. But if it was just him, he could stretch it to ninety or maybe even a hundred(page 1023).” I checked out this novel from New Taipei City Library on May 14, and until now on June 9 in 26 days, uses around seventy-three hours and finally finished this novel, Under the Dome. I think that it’s not bad.
In the opening of this novel, besides a map of Chester’s Mill in Maine, there are three pages of 63 characters listed. This is a little like the Case Study of Harvard Business Review magazine Chinese edition which will give the organization chart with names on it. With these 63 characters the story lines in this novel “Under the Dome” are complex. If we try to pin down the whole novel with a single story line, we could find that the methods Stephen King used to lay out all his characters in the novel are the following:
First, shifting positions;
Second, interchange character’s gender;
Third, a character brings out the defining theme by shortly decease, say, for a total page’s discussion;
Fourth, citing the popular words or celebrity comments;
Fifth, using collective memories such as popular music, movie narratives, etc.
Further details of these five methods found in the novel:
1.The character shifting position method, for example, on page 974, “Conree clapped her hand to the back of her neck as if stung, went facedown into the grass, kicked twice, and was still. The other one–a bald guy–made it to the rear of the studio. Chef didn’t care too much about the pair who’d run for the woods, but he didn’t want to let Baldy get away. If Baldy got around the corner of the building…”
Character Conree could be deemed as the same character of Rory appeared on page 210 who drove the ATV to shoot the Dome, with the final sentence describing that, “A blind child had shown him the way,” because the bullet ricocheted back and hit himself. “Lester pried away the boy’s hands and saw the red, welling socket. The remains of the eye itself were dangling on Rory’s cheek. As he turned his head up to Lester, the splattered remains plopped into the grass.”
2.The interchange character’s gender method, for example, on page 562, ‘”Piper Libby lowered herself carefully in front of the altar of the First Congo Church…holding her recently dislocated left arm against her side.” Page 566, “No matter what she says, this is too many people. Losing my job like Marty is one thing. I could deal with that, the pay sucks, anyway. Getting Jim Rennie mad at me, though…” She shook her head. “Not a good idea.” “It isn’t too many,” Piper said. “It’s just the right number. Mr Burpee, can you keep a secret?”‘
What Jackie she mentioned in above conversation of a man called Marty who loses job, Marty could be found on another depicting on page 441 and page 442, “One of the older gentlemen who had been running tests approached the Dome. He was holding his gas mask by the strap.” “So do most of the scientists working on this right now–if we can be said to be working when we’re not actually doing anything. It’s the Sherlock Rule: When you eliminate the impossible, the answer, no matter how improbable, is what remains.”
Although Marty is said to be one of the gentlemen, but judging by the companionship with Reverend Pipper Libby and Jim Rennie, Marty should be a SHE to say that Sherlock Rule.
3.Rory is only mentioned at the beginning of this novel but setting the theme.
4.Words on page 922, “Kids?” “My wife,” “She was the first Dome casualty,” are said by France President Mr Nicolas Sarkozy.
5.Although we are doubting on page 442 if the character Marty who said the Sherlock Rule is a female character, but Marty is the name of protagonist in Hollywood movie Back To The Future, which invoked collective memories.
David CK Chang, SSN057-86-4042,
June 9, 2012,
National Central Library,