Different Seasons

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Different Seasons
First edition
AuthorStephen King
Cover artistKinuko Y. Craft
CountryUnited States
PublisherViking Press
Publication date
August 27, 1982
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Preceded byNight Shift 
Followed bySkeleton Crew 

Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four Stephen King novellas with a more dramatic bent, rather than the horror fiction for which King is famous.[1] The four novellas are tied together via subtitles that relate to each of the four seasons. The collection is notable for having three out of its four novellas turned into Hollywood films, one of which, The Shawshank Redemption, was nominated for the 1994 Academy Award for Best Picture,[2] and another of which, Stand by Me, was nominated for the 1986 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[3]


Name Subtitle Film adaptation
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption Hope Springs Eternal The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Apt Pupil Summer of Corruption Apt Pupil (1998)
The Body Fall from Innocence Stand by Me (1986)
The Breathing Method A Winter's Tale n/a


At the ending of the book, there is also a brief afterword, which King wrote on January 4, 1982. In it, he explains why he had not previously submitted the novellas (each written at a different time) for publication. Early in his career, his agents and editors expressed concern that he would be "written off" as someone who only wrote horror. However, his horror novels turned out to be quite popular and made him much in demand as a novelist. Conversely, the novellas, which did not deal (primarily) with the supernatural, were very difficult to publish as there was not a mass market for "straight" fiction stories in the 25,000- to 35,000-word format. Thus, King and his editor conceived the idea of publishing the novellas together as "something different", hence the title of the book.

Plot Summaries[edit]

Hope Springs Eternal- "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption"[edit]

The story takes place in Maine at Shawshank State Penitentiary and is told from the first-person perspective of prisoner Ellis “Red” Reddings as he recounts his time in prison. His writings mainly focus on his friend and fellow prisoner, Andy Dufresne. Red opens by describing himself and why he was in prison- having staged a car accident in 1938 intended only to kill his wife after insuring his wife for a large amount of money, but incidentally also killed his neighbor and her child as his wife had offered to give them a ride- thus leading to him being sentenced soon after to serve three life sentences, one for each murder. One of Red’s most important aspects is that he’s “the guy who can get it for you” as his various connections allow him to easily smuggle contraband into the prison.

Red describes meeting Andy Dufrense for the first time in 1948, one year after Andy was potentially falsely accused of murdering his wife and her lover, a well-to-do golfer. Andy asks Red to get him a rock hammer, stating that he is a “rock hound”. A year later, Andy asks Red to get him a large poster of Rita Hayworth. Red also details the various encounters he had during his time in prison, detailing his initial trouble with one of the prison’s rape gangs. Red insinuates that Andy eventually paid off the prison guards to beat up the leader of the rape gang, Bog Diamond. Along with this, Red describes how Andy had become somewhat of a financial advisor to many of the prison’s guards and higher-ups through his encounter with prison guard, Byron Hadley, in which Andy advises him to use a loophole to avoid the taxation on the inheritance he recently received. Along with helping prison guards with their tax returns, loans, and any other financial advice, Andy begins to help some of the higher-ups with money laundering.

Andy eventually begins working as the prison’s librarian and expands it past its original location, a small room that was originally used to store paint. It is during this time that he meets prisoner fellow Tommy Williams. Tommy tells Andy that his former cellmate at the previous prison he was in, a man by the name of Elwood Blatch, had confided in Tommy that he had been the one who killed Andy’s wife and her lover. Andy uses this information to go to the prison’s warden, Samuel Norton, as a means to try and gain his freedom. Norton denies Andy’s request, stating he is far too valuable as an asset and that he knows too much since he aided the administration in money laundering. Norton sentences Andy to twenty days in solitary confinement and transfers Tommy to a different prison during his sentence.

Four years after his time in solitary confinement, Andy confronts Red and tells him about his pseudonym- “Peter Stevens”. Andy had sold all of his assets to this pseudonym before getting sentenced to prison, stating he had upwards of $370,000 in the bank waiting for him once he got out of prison. Andy shares that he intends to use this money to move to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and open a small hotel. He implies that he wishes for Red to come with him when that day ever comes. On March 12, 1975, 8 years after Andy tells Red about his pseudonym, Andy is missing from his cell. They discover that he had used his rock hammer to create a hole in the prison wall through which he could escape and had hidden it behind the poster he hung up in his cell. Nine months after his escape, Red receives a blank postcard from McNary, Texas, and assumes that it is from Andy and that he has successfully crossed the border.

In 1977, Red was released on parole. He finds a note addressed to him from “Peter Stevens” inviting Red to join him in Zihuatanejo along with $1,000. The story ends with Red deciding to join Andy and sharing his hope for the future.

Summer of Corruption- "Apt Pupil"[edit]

The story is set in Los Angeles in 1974 and is told in the third-person perspective. The story follows Todd Bowden from the age of thirteen up until he graduates Highschool. The story opens with Todd as he arrives at the doorstep of an elderly German immigrant, named Auther Denker, and accuses him of being Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander. Dussander does little to deny his identity and Todd insists that Dussander tells Todd about the crimes he had committed lest he turn him in to the authorities. Todd then begins to go to Dussander’s house every day demanding to know the details of all of his crimes in excruciating detail.

As months go by, Todd begins to have nightmares and his grades begin to slip. He resigns to forging his report card before giving it to his parents. Eventually, his school’s guidance counselor Ed French, requests to meet with Todd and his parents to discuss his failing grades. Todd, desperate for his parents not to find out convinces Dussander to pretend to be his grandfather and accompany him to the meeting. Now aware of his failing grades, Dussander uses this as blackmail to force Todd into studying during their meetings. Todd’s grades begin to improve and he decides he no longer has any need of Dussander and plots to kill him and make it seem like it was an accident. Todd tells Dussander that should anything happen to him he has a friend he gave a letter to listing all of Dussander’s crimes that will be mailed to the police upon his death. Dussander realizes Todd’s plot, however, and tells him that he wrote his statement and placed it in a safe deposit box so that if Todd were to kill him, the authorities would know he was willingly conversing with a war criminal. These statements prevent them from killing each other despite both of them lying about the ‘evidence’ they had on one another.

As the months go by, Todd begins killing homeless people on the street as it helps alleviate his nightmares. Years pass and Todd visits Dussander less and less. Todd greatly enjoys the thrill associated with killing, stating that he believes it to be better than sex. However, he is uncertain if he dislikes sex in comparison to the thrill of killing simply because he enjoys killing more or if sex with his girlfriend is unenjoyable because she is Jewish. Similarly to Todd, Dussander has also begun to have nightmares and kills homeless people to relieve them, burying the bodies in his basement.

One night when Dussander is burying one of his victims he has a heart attack. He asks Todd to clean up and hide the body before calling an ambulance and being sent to the hospital. While in the hospital Dussander shares a room with holocaust survivor Morris Heisel. Heisel does not immediately remember Dussander’s identity but makes it known that he remembers his face. Todd visits the hospital a few days later to tell Dussander that he would never visit him again, only for Dussander to tell Todd to be more careful with his murders.

Eventually, Heisel realizes “Mr. Denker”’s true identity as the commandant of the concentration camp where his wife and daughter were killed. Heisel contacts a Nazi hunter named Weiskopf to visit Dussander and tell him he had been found out. After the encounter, Dussander steals drugs from the hospital dispensary and commits suicide. Weiskopf along with police detective Richler then interviews Todd because of his connections to Dussander.

Later, French meets with Todd’s real grandfather and realizes that he had been lying when he said that Dussander had been his grandfather. This leads French to check Todd’s report cards and discover that Todd had been tampering with them. French confronts Todd, showing him a newspaper clipping describing Dussander’s death and his true identity. Todd kills French in retaliation. Afterward, Todd goes on a killing spree and is eventually killed by police five hours later.

In popular culture[edit]

The second episode of the seventh season of the 2016 American television series Billions featured a copy of the book in the possession of a prisoner character played by Clancy Brown. Brown played a sadistic prison guard in the 1994 movie adaptation of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BOOKS OF THE TIMES (Published 1982)". The New York Times. 11 August 1982. Archived from the original on 2023-04-10.
  2. ^ "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION". Oscars.org. November 11, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  3. ^ "STAND BY ME". Aficatalog.afi.com. Retrieved April 17, 2024
  4. ^ "Billions Recap: It Ain't Me, Babe". 18 August 2023.