Castle Rock (Stephen King)
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Castle Rock, Maine is part of Stephen King’s fictional Maine topography and provides the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. Castle Rock first appeared in King's 1979 novel The Dead Zone, and has reappeared as late as his 2013 novel Doctor Sleep (see list below). The name is taken from the fictional mountain fort of the same name in William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies.
King, a native of Portland, Maine, created a trinity of fictional Maine towns – Castle Rock, Derry and Jerusalem's Lot as central settings in more than one work. King has stated that writer H. P. Lovecraft was responsible for King's own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his writing. King's Foursome of Maine locations is similar to the fictional Massachusetts locations of Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth, and Kingsport, found repeatedly in Lovecraft Country.
Population of Castle Rock was 1,280 by 1959 and around 1,500 as of its final chronological appearance in Needful Things. In Creepshow (1982), there is a sign at the end of "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" that puts Portland at 37 miles, and Boston at 188 miles (it should be noted, though, that "Weeds," the short story on which "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" was based, was actually set in New Hampshire). Geographically, this puts Castle Rock in the northern semicircle, of radius 37-miles, centred on Portland, Maine. This could include places such as Durham, Danville, Auburn, Lewiston, Bridgton and maybe even Sabattus. A map on King's official website places Castle Rock in Oxford County, in the vicinity of Woodstock. Yet the works in which Castle Rock appears place the town in the fictional "Castle County," which also includes such towns as Castle Lake and Castle View.
Works set in Castle Rock
- The Dead Zone
- "The Body" (novella from Different Seasons)
- "Uncle Otto's Truck" (short story which appears in Skeleton Crew)
- "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" (short story which appears in Skeleton Crew)
- The Dark Half
- "The Sun Dog" (novella from Four Past Midnight)
- Needful Things
- "It Grows on You" (short story which appears in Nightmares & Dreamscapes)
Works referring to Castle Rock
- "Graveyard Shift" (short story which appears in Night Shift)
- "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (the narrator was a resident before his incarceration at Shawshank)
- Pet Sematary (refers to the events of Cujo which take place in Castle Rock)
- "Gramma" (short story appearing in Skeleton Crew)
- "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" (short story appearing in Skeleton Crew)
- "Nona" (short story appearing in Skeleton Crew)
- Gerald's Game
- Sleepwalkers (Sheriff calls for backup from Castle Rock)
- The Stand
- Bag of Bones (significant portions of this story are set in Castle Rock, along with Derry, Maine and on TR90 at Dark Score Lake, Maine)
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
- Riding the Bullet
- Dreamcatcher (refers to the Castle Rock radio station)
- "The Man in the Black Suit" (short story which appears in Everything's Eventual)
- Kingdom Hospital (Television series)
- Lisey's Story
- "N." (short story appearing in Just After Sunset)
- Under the Dome
- "Premium Harmony" (short story published in the November 2009 issue of The New Yorker)
- Doctor Sleep
Use by third parties
The film Stand by Me, an adaptation of King's novella The Body, makes reference to a town of Castle Rock in Oregon. Rob Reiner, the film's director, later named his production company Castle Rock Entertainment, which subsequently produced several adaptations of King's works.
A monthly newsletter about Stephen King called Castle Rock was published from January 1985 through December 1989. For most of this period it was edited by King's brother-in-law, Christopher Spruce, and later by his sister-in-law, Stephanie Leonard.
Other Maine creations in King's work
Besides the oft-used trinity of Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem's Lot, King has created other fictional Maine towns, including Chamberlain in Carrie, Ludlow in Pet Sematary and The Dark Half (unrelated to the real Maine town of Ludlow), Haven in The Tommyknockers, Little Tall Island in Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century, and Chester's Mill in Under the Dome.
- Beahm, George (1992). The Stephen King story (Revised ed.). Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel. p. 120. ISBN 0836280040. "Castle Rock, which King in turn had got from Golding's Lord of the Flies."
- Wohleber, Curt (December 1995). "The Man Who Can Scare Stephen King". American Heritage 46 (8). Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, Del Rey Books, 1982, front cover.
- King, Stephen (February 1987). Danse Macabre. Berkley. p. 63. ISBN 9-780-42510-433-0. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
- Map of Maine from Stephen King's official website