Literature Essay Sample – Salem’s Lot

How does Stephen King portray vampires in Salem’s Lot?


Stephen King has always had quite the way of telling a horror story. The book, Salem’s Lot, written in 1975 is no different. Being a native of the Maine area, King likes to base his books in the area. This story takes place in a small city in Maine. The book is about a writer, Ben Mears who comes back to the town he grew up in as a child, Jerusalem’s Lot or Salem’s Lot for short. Ben has not been home in almost 25 years and just like every town, some things have definitely changed. He is incredibly surprised with the way that the town now looks and feels. Something feels different, something feels off, something feels incredibly wrong. The one thing that Ben soon comes to realize is that the town is now crawling with vampires.
Stephen King takes a different kind of spin on the vampires in Salem’s Lot. It has been said that King’s wife is actually the one who inspired the way he portrays the vampires in the book and also that King had a deep love for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stephen King did not however; like the way that Stoker portrayed vampires as overly confident and more on the positive side. King wanted people to be afraid of vampires and remember why the legends made them out to be scary creatures.

King’s master vampire in the book is Kurt Barlow. King portrays him as the most human-like. Barlow has many different powers such as telekinesis. The vampires in Salem’s Lot are not like any others in the works of fiction today. They are not considered to be handsome or enchanting, but they are considered dangerous and horrifying. King portrays his vampires as something nightmares are made out of. They are blood thirsty and ready to tear the entire town of Salem’s Lot apart. King’s vampires are definitely the ones that make you check under your


King, Stephen (1975). Salem’s Lot: United States. Anchor Publishing Company.

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