4 Seizoenen
by Stephen King
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The Shawshank redemption (De ontsnapping) is het openingsverhaal van 4 Seizoenen, het boek waarmee Stephen King zich een meester toont als verhalenverteller.
Vier verhalen met zo'n zeggingskracht dat filmregisseurs er prachtige speelfilms van maakten.

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Cri1967Cri1967 wrote a review
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In this novel by Stephen King there are four stories like the four seasons:
The first one is RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and it belongs to Spring because the main theme of the narration is hope, a new hope. But it is also a story of a great friendships and a report about life in prison.
It is settled in the prison of Shawshank the main character is Andy who was imprisoned in Shawshank in 1948, when he was thirty years old. He was a short neat little man with sandy hair and small, clever hands. He wore gold-rimmed spectacles. His fingernails were always clipped, and they were always clean.
That's a funny thing to remember about a man, I suppose, but it seems to sum Andy up for me.
Said Red, the narrator and prisoner himself.
He always looked as if he should have been wearing a tie. On the outside he had been a vice-president in the trust department of a large Portland bank. Good work for a man as young as he was, especially when you consider how conservative most banks are and you have to multiply that conservatism by ten when you get up into New England, where folks don't like to trust a man with their money unless he's bald, limping, and constantly plucking at his pants to get his truss around straight Andy was in for murdering his wife and her lover.
Everyone in prison is an innocent man. They were the victims of judges with hearts of stone and balls to match, or incompetent lawyers, or police frame-ups, or bad luck. They read the scripture, but you can see a different scripture in their faces.
In all his years at Shawshank, there have been less than ten men whom the narrator believed when they told him they were innocent Andy Dufresne was one of them.
If I had been on the jury that heard his case in Portland Superior Court over six stormy weeks in 1947-48, I would have voted to convict, too.
The facts of the prosecution's case that Andy never contested were these: That he had a wife, Linda Collins Dufresne; that in June of 1947 she had expressed an interest in learning the game of golf at the Falmouth Hills Country Club; that she did indeed take lessons for four months; that her instructor was the Falmouth Hills golf pro, Glenn Quentin; that in late August of 1947 Andy learned that Quentin and his wife had become lovers; that Andy and Linda Dufresne argued bitterly on the afternoon of 10 September 1947; that the subject of their argument was her infidelity.
She told Andy that she planned to obtain a Reno divorce. Andy told her he would see her in hell before he would see her in Reno. She went off to spend the night with Quentin in Quentin's rented bungalow not far from the golf course. The next morning his cleaning woman found both of them dead in bed. Each had been shot four times.
It was that last fact that mitigated more against Andy than any of the others.
A clerk from the Wise Pawnshop in Lewiston testified that he had sold a six-shot.38 Police Special to Andrew Dufresne just two days before the double murder.
He said he was drunk that night, that he'd been more or less drunk since 24 August, and that he was a man who didn't handle his liquor very well.
'I mean I didn't shoot either one of them. I drank two quarts of beer and smoked however many cigarettes that the police found at the turnout. Then I drove home and went to bed.'
'Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, and since I am telling the truth about throwing my gun into the river the day before the crime took place, then it seems to me decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found.'
The case went to the jury. They found him guilty and, if Maine had the death penalty, he would have done the air dance before that spring's crocuses poked their heads out of the dirt.
As simple as that. And he was condemned to spend the rest of his life in Shawshank-or the part of it that mattered. Five years later he began to have parole hearings, and he was turned down just as regular as clockwork in spite of being a model prisoner.
In spite of the problems he was having, he was going on with his life. Andy was an intelligent man.

All I know for sure is that Andy Dufresne wasn't much like me or anyone else I ever knew since I came inside.

It was about five months later that Andy asked if the narrator could get him Rita Hayworth.
Freedom. You look at those pretty women and you feel like you could almost not quite but almost step right through and be beside them. Be free.
The prison administration knows about the black market. They live with it because they know that a prison is like a big pressure cooker, and there have to be vents somewhere to let off steam. Live and let live.
Black man, white man, red man., yellow man, in prison it doesn't matter because we've got our own brand of equality. In prison every con's a nigger and you have to get used to the idea if you intend to survive men.
You are told when to eat, when you can write letters, when you can smoke. If you're at work in the laundry or the plate-shop, you're assigned five minutes of each hour when you can go to the bathroom.

I think Andy may have been wrestling with that tiger-that institutional syndrome-and also with the bulking fears that all of it might have been for nothing. How many nights must he have lain awake under his poster, thinking about that sewer line, knowing that the one chance was all he'd ever get?

In 1950, he became something more than a model prisoner. In 1950, he became a valuable commodity, a murderer who did tax returns as well as H & R Block. He gave gratis estate-planning advice, set up tax-shelters, filled out loan applications (sometimes creatively). Andy kept up on the tax laws and the changes in the stock market, and so his usefulness didn't end after he'd been in cold storage for a while, as it might have done. He began to get his library money.
In 1952 Andy was head librarian for twenty-three years.
By 1971 that had risen to an even thousand. By the time Andy left, you could go into the library and find just about anything you'd want. And if you couldn't find it, chances were good that Andy could get it for you.


There are really only two types of men in the world when it comes to bad trouble,' Andy said.
One of those two kinds of men just hopes for the best, that the hurricane will change course.
The other sort just assumes that hurricane is going to tear right through the middle of his house. If the weather bureau says the hurricane just changed course, this guy assumes it'll change back in order to put his house on ground zero again. This second type of guy knows there's no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst.


I prepared for the hurricane.

The hurricane of freedom, of a new life, the hurricane of justice.


Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

That's the story and I'm glad I told it, even if it is a bit inconclusive
Thank you for listening. And Andy: If you're really down there, as I believe you are, look at the stars for me just after sunset, and touch the sand, and wade in the water, and feel free.


The second story belongs to summer. The title is “Apt pupil”.
The apt pupil is Todd, who looked like the total all-American kid Todd Bowden, thirteen years old, five-feet-eight and a healthy one hundred and forty pounds, hair the colour of ripe corn, blue eyes, white even teeth, lightly tanned skin marred by not even the first shadow of adolescent acne.
He was smiling a summer vacation smile as he pedalled through the sun and shade three blocks from his own house. He looked like the kind of kid who might have a paper route, and as a matter of fact, he did-he delivered the Santa Donato Clarion. He also looked like the kind of kid who might sell greeting cards for premiums, and he had done that, too. His mom was a housewife and a secretarial school graduate (she had met Todd's father one day when he needed a secretary from the pool) who typed manuscripts in her spare time. She had kept all of Todd's old school report cards in a folder. Her favourite was his final fourth-grade card, on which Mrs Upshaw had scratched: 'Todd is an extremely apt pupil.' He was, too.
His current ambition was to become a private detective when he grew up.
He had started to follow an old man, as he suspected something obscure.
There was a doorbell on the right-hand doorframe, and below the bell were two small signs, each neatly screwed into the wood and covered with protective plastic so they wouldn't yellow or waterspot. German efficiency, Todd thought, and his smile widened a little. It was an adult thought, and he always mentally congratulated himself when he had one of those. The top sign said ARTHUR DENKER.

The bottom one said NO SOLICITORS, NO PEDDLERS, NO SALESMEN. Smiling still, Todd rang the bell.
An old man, hunched inside a bathrobe, stood looking out through the screen. A cigarette smouldered between his fingers. Todd thought the man looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Boris Karloff. His hair was long and white but beginning to yellow in an unpleasant way that was more nicotine than ivory. His face was wrinkled and pouched and puffy with sleep,
Todd's father shaved every day, whether he had to work or not. The eyes looking out at Todd were watchful but deeply sunken, laced with snaps of red. Todd felt an instant of deep disappointment.
Todd had seen Denker many times before today.
Denker looked very natty, every inch an officer in retirement, you might say, even though he was seventy-six if the articles Todd had read at the library had his birth-date right
'A boy,' he said now. His voice was thick and sleepy. Todd saw with new disappointment that his robe was faded and tacky.
A boy,' he repeated. 'I don't need anything, boy. Read the sign. You can read, can't you? Of course you can. All American boys can read. Don't be a nuisance, boy. Good day.' The door began to close.
But, as the man himself had observed, he was an American boy, and he had been taught that persistence is a virtue. 'Don't forget your paper, Mr Dussander,' Todd said, holding the Times out politely. The door stopped dead in its swing still inches from the jamb. A tight and watchful expression flitted across Kurt Dussander's face and was gone at once. There might have been fear in that expression. It was good, the way he had made that expression disappear, but Todd was disappointed for the third time. He hadn't expected Dussander to be good; he had expected Dussander to be great.
The hand pushed the screen door open just enough to wriggle through like a spider and close over the edge of the paper Todd was holding out. The boy saw with distaste that the old man's fingernails were long and yellow and horny.
'My name is Denker,' the old man said. 'Not this Doo-Zander. Apparently you cannot read. What a pity. Good day.'
The door started to close again. Todd spoke rapidly into ' the narrowing gap. 'Bergen-Belsen, January 1943 to June 1943, Auschwitz, June 1943 to June of 1944, Unterkommandant. Patin -'
The door stopped again.
The old man's pouched and pallid face
'You left Patin just ahead of the Russians. You got to Buenos Aires. Some people say you got rich there, investing the gold you took out of Germany in the drug trade. Whatever, you were in Mexico City from 1950 to 1952.
'Boy, you are crazy like a cuckoo bird.'
'From 1952 until 1958, I don't know,' Todd said, smiling more widely still. an Israeli agent spotted you in Cuba, working as the concierge in a big hotel just before Castro took over. They lost you when the rebels came into Havana. You popped up in West Berlin in 1965. They almost got you.'
'I don't know what you are talking about,' Dussander said.
Out of here, boy. Before I call the police.'
'Gee, I guess you better call them, Mr Dussander. Or Heir Dussander, if you like that better.' 'After 1965, no one saw you again until I did, two months ago, on the downtown bus.'
'You're insane.'
'So if you want to call the police,' Todd said, smiling, 'you go right ahead. I'll wait on the stoop. But if you don't want to call them right away, why don't I come in?
We'll talk.'.

It was real life. So he felt a surge of relief (mild relief, he assured himself later) when Dussander said: 'You may come in for a moment, if you like. But only because I do not wish to make trouble for you, you understand?'
There was of course no oil portrait of Hitler with his forelock dangling and eyes that followed you. No medals in cases, no ceremonial sword mounted on the wall, no Luger or PPK Walther on the mantle (there was, in fact, no mantle). Of course, Todd told himself, the guy would have to be crazy to put any of those things out where people could see them.
It looked like the living room of any old man living alone on a slightly frayed pension. Instead of Hitler or a ceremonial sword hung on the wall, there was a framed certificate of citizenship and a picture of a woman in a funny hat. Dussander later told him that sort of hat was called a cloche, and they had been popular in the twenties and thirties.

Dussander turned. 'I tell you this once, boy, and once only. My name is Arthur Denker. It has never been anything else; it has not even been Americanized.
Still Todd stood in the living room,
Dussander began to dial. Todd watched him, his heart speeding up until it was drumming in his chest. After the fourth number, Dussander turned and looked at him. His shoulders sagged. He put the phone down.
'A boy,' he breathed. 'A boy.' Todd smiled widely but rather modestly.
'How did you find out?'
He had known about the war, of course-not the stupid one going on now, where the Americans had gotten the shit kicked out of them by a bunch of gooks in black pyjamas-but World War II. He knew that the Americans wore round helmets with net on them and the Krauts wore sort of square ones. He knew that the Americans won most of the battles and that the Germans had invented rockets near the end and shot them from Germany onto London. He had even known something about the concentration camps.
The difference between all of that and what he found in the magazines under the stairs in his friend’s garage was like the difference between being told about germs and then actually seeing them in a microscope, squirming around and alive.
Here was Use Koch. Here were crematoriums with their doors standing open on their soot-clotted hinges. Here were officers in SS uniforms and prisoners in striped uniforms.
The smell of the old pulp magazines was like the smell of the brush-fires burning out of control on the east of Santo Donate, and he could feel the old paper crumbling against the pads of his fingers, and he turned the pages, no longer in Foxy's garage but caught somewhere crosswise in time, trying to cope with the idea that they had really done those things, that somebody had really done those things, and that somebody had let them do those things, and his head began to ache with a mixture of revulsion and excitement, and his eyes were hot and strained, but he read on, and from a column of print beneath a picture of tangled bodies at a place called Dachau, this figure jumped out at him: 6,000,000. And he thought: Somebody goofed there, somebody added a zero or two, that's three times as many people as there are in LA! But then, in another magazine (the cover of this one showed a woman chained to a wall while a guy in a Nazi uniform approached her with a poker in his hand and a grin on his face), he saw it again: 6,000,000 His headache got worse. His mouth went dry.
'Yeah. It was the magazines that got me interested, but I figured a lot of what they said was just, you know, bullspit. So I went to the library and found out a lot more stuff.
Some of it was even neater. At first the crummy librarian didn't want me to look at any of it because it was in the adult section of the library, but I told her it was for school. If it's for school they have to let you have it. She called my dad, though.' Todd's eyes turned up scornfully. 'Like she thought dad didn't know what I was doing, if you can dig that.'
'He did know?'
'Sure. My dad thinks kids should find out about life as soon as they can-the bad as well as the good. Then they'll be ready for it. He says life is a tiger you have to grab by the tail, and if you don't know the nature of the beast it will eat you up.'
'My mom thinks the same way.'
There was a picture of you in a coat like that in one of the magazines out in Foxy's garage. Also, a photo of you in your SS greatcoat in one of the library books. And when I saw you that day, I just said to myself, "It's for sure. That's Kurt Dussander." So I started to shadow you '.
'You are a little bastard,' Dussander said.
'What do you want? Money? There is none, I'm afraid.
Why do you come here and disturb an old man! Perhaps, as you say, I was once a Nazi. Gestapo, even. Now I am only old, and to have a bowel movement I have to use a suppository. So what do you want?'
'Why I want to hear about it. That's all. That's all I want. Really.'
'Hear about it?' Dussander echoed.
'Sure. The firing squads. The gas chambers. The ovens. The guys who had to dig their own graves and then stand on the ends so they'd fall into them.
'The examinations. The experiments. Everything. All the gooshy stuff.'
Todd wanted to hear about German doctors trying to mate women with dogs, putting identical twins into refrigerators to see whether they would die at the same time or if one of them would last longer, and electroshock therapy, and operations without anaesthetic, and German soldiers raping all the women they wanted.
Dussander stared at him with a certain amazed detachment, the way a veterinarian might stare at a cat who was giving birth to a succession of two-headed kittens. 'You are a monster,' he said softly.
Todd sniffed. 'According to the books I read for my report, you're the monster, Mr Dussander. Not me. You sent them to the ovens, not me. Two thousand a day at Patin before you came, three thousand after, thirty-five-hundred before the Russians came and made you stop. Himmler called you an efficiency expert and gave you a medal. So you call me a monster. Oh boy.'
From this moment they start a relationship that can be considered a “ friendship of hell”.
Dussander ‘s thoughts went on. He had been lonely -no one would ever know just how lonely. There had been times when he thought almost seriously of suicide. He made a bad hermit. The voices he heard came from the radio. The only people who visited were on the other side of a dirty glass square. He was an old man, and although he was afraid of death, he was more afraid of being an old man who is alone.
There had been days when he had chewed an entire tin of Arthritis Pain Formula between sunrise and sunset and still the aspirin only subdued the aches, and even such acts as taking a book from the shelf or switching the TV channel became an essay in pain. His eyes were bad; sometimes he knocked things over, barked his shins, bumped his head. He lived in fear of breaking a bone and not being able to get to the telephone, and he lived in fear of getting there and having some doctor uncover his real past as he became suspicious of Mr. Denker's nonexistent medical history. The boy had alleviated some of those things. When the boy was here, he could call back the old days.
His memory of those days was perversely clear; he spilled out a seemingly endless catalogue of names and events, even the weather of such and such a day.
He supposed he talked to the boy as all old men talk.
His audience was endlessly fascinated. Were a few bad dreams too high a price to pay?
But the boy, did he sleep well? Perhaps not.
The boy looked rather pale, and thinner than when he had first come into Dussander's life.
'It's not my fault,' Todd hissed venomously. 'It's your fault. All those stories. I have nightmares about them, do you know that? I sit down and open my books and I start thinking about whatever you told me that day and the next thing I know, my mother's telling me it's time to go to bed. Well, that's not my fault! It isn't! You hear me? It isn't!'
'But they were are mixed up. They must live in the present, not in the past. They must realize that their fate are inextricably entwined.
If you "blow the horn on me", as your saying goes, do you think I will hesitate to blow the horn on you?
'Down deep inside, I don't like you. Nothing could make me like you. You forced yourself on me. You are an unbidden guest in my house. You have made me open crypts perhaps better left shut, because I have discovered that some of the corpses were buried alive, and that a few of those still have some wind left in them.
Seven hundred thousand died at Patin. To the world at large I am a criminal, a monster, even the butcher your scandal-rags would have me. You are an accessory to all of that, my boy. You have criminal knowledge of an illegal alien, but you have not reported it. And if I am caught, I will tell the world all about you.
When the reporters put their microphones in my face, it will be your name I'll repeat over and over again. "Todd Bowden, yes, that is his name how long? Almost a year. He wanted to know everything all the gooshy parts. That's how he put it, yes: 'All the gooshy parts'."
Todd's breath had stopped. His skin appeared transparent. Dussander smiled at him. He sipped bourbon.
'I will drag you down, boy. I promise you that. If anything comes out, everything will come out. That is my promise to you.' Todd stared at him sullenly and didn't reply.
'My boy," Dussander said, pouring more bourbon and beginning to laugh again, 'we are fucking each other-didn't you know that?'
You have never studied the consequences of what you have set in
And what were the consequences?


Gordon Lachance is the narrator of this story, The body, that belongs to Autumn, the season of innocence.
His mom was fifty-five-. When she and dad got married they tried to start a family right away and my mom got pregnant and had a miscarriage. She miscarried two more and the doctor told her she'd never be able to carry a baby to term. He got all of this stuff, chapter and verse, whenever one of them was lecturing him.. They wanted him to think he was a special delivery from God and he wasn't appreciating his great good fortune in being conceived when his mother was forty-two and starting to grey. He wasn't appreciating his great good fortune and he wasn't appreciating her tremendous pain and sacrifices, either.
Five years after the doctor said mom would never have a baby she got pregnant with Dennis. She carried him for eight months and then he just sort of fell out, all eight pounds of him- his father used to say that if she had carried Dennis to term, the kid would have weighed fifteen pounds. The doctor said, Well, sometimes nature fools us, but he'll be the only one you'll ever have. Thank God for him and be content. Ten years later she got pregnant with Gordon . She not only carried him to term, the doctor had to use forceps to yank me out.
Did you ever hear of such a fucked-up family? He came into the world the child of two Geritol-chuggers, not to go on and on about it, and his only brother was playing league baseball in the big kids' park before he even got out of diapers. In the case of his mom and dad, one gift from God had been enough. He won't say they treated me badly, and they sure never beat him , but he was a hell of a big surprise. After he was born, his mom got that operation her hen-party friends referred to as 'the Band-Aid'. She wanted to make a hundred per cent sure that there wouldn't be any more gifts from God. When he got to college he found out he had beaten long odds just by not being born retarded .
And the that business about being ignored: he could never really pin it down until he did a book report in high school on this novel called Invisible Man. This Invisible Man is about a Negro. Nobody ever notices him at all unless he fucks up. People look right through him. When he talks, nobody answers. He's like a black ghost.
At the supper table it was Denny how many did you strike out and Denny who asked you to the Sadie Hopkins dance and Denny I want to talk to you man to man about that car we were looking at. I'd say, 'Pass the butter', and Dad would say, Denny, are you sure the army is what you want? I'd say, 'Pass the butter someone, okay?' and Mom would ask Denny if he wanted her to pick him up one of the Pendleton shirts on sale downtown, and I'd end up getting the butter myself. One night when I was nine, just to see what would happen, I said, 'Please pass those goddam spuds.' And my Mom said, Denny, Auntie Grace called today and she asked after you and Gordon.
In a family situation like that, you're supposed to either hate the older brother or idolize him hopelessly-at least that's what they teach you in college psychology. Bullshit, right? But so far as he could can tell, he didn't feel either way about Dennis. They rarely argued and never had a fist-fight. That would have been ridiculous. Can you see a fourteen-year-old boy finding something to beat up his four-year-old brother about?
When Denny took Gordon with him somewhere, it was of his own free will, and those were some of the happiest times he could .
As he grew older, his feelings of love for Dennis were replaced with an almost clinical awe, the kind of awe so-so Christians feel for God. And when he died, he was mildly shocked and mildly sad, the way he imagined those same so-so Christians must have felt when Time magazine said God was dead. He was as sad for Denny's dying as he was when he heard on the radio that Dan Blocker had died. He had seen them both about as frequently, and Denny never ever got any re-runs.
When Gordon tells this story, was twelve going on thirteen and he lived the summer of his adolescence together with his closed friends – Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp e Vern Tessio.
They had a treehouse in a big elm which overhung a vacant lot in Castle Rock.
The found a screen door out there. No matter what time of day you looked out that screen door, it looked like sunset and there, in that tree house, besides playing cards, the club was a good place to go and smoke cigarettes and look at girly books.
When he first saw a dead human being, he was more than a boy . It happened in 1960, a long time ago although sometimes it doesn't seem that long to him. Especially on the nights he woke up from those dreams where the hail felt into his open eyes.

Vern Tessio said: 'You guys want to go see a dead body?' Everybody stopped.

They had all heard about it on the radio, they had all listened to the Ray Brower story a little more closely, because he was a kid of their age.
He was from Chamberlain, a town forty miles or so east of Castle Rock.
When dark came and he still wasn't back, the Browers called the county sheriff and a search started-first just around the kid's house and then spreading to the surrounding towns of Motton and Durham and Pownal.
Everybody got into the act-cops, deputies, game wardens, volunteers. But three days later the kid was still missing. You could tell, hearing about it on the radio, that they were never going to find that poor sucker alive.
But in 1960 the whole area between Chamberlain and Castle Rock was undeveloped, and there were places that hadn't even been logged since before World War II. In those days it was still possible to walk into the woods and lose your direction there and die there.
'Could a kid really have gotten all the way from Chamberlain to Harlow?' I asked Chris. That's twenty or thirty miles.'
'I think so. I felt a little sick, imagining the kid so far away from home, scared to death but doggedly following the GS&WM tracks, probably walking on the ties because of the night-noises from the overhanging trees and bushes maybe even from the culverts underneath the railroad bed. And here comes the train, and maybe the big headlight on the front hypnotized him until it was too late to jump. Or maybe he was just lying there on the tracks in a hunger-faint when the train came along. Either way, any way, Chris had the straight of it: el smacko had been the final result. The kid was dead.
'So anyway, you want to go see it?' Vern asked.
We all looked at him for a long second, no one saying anything. Then Chris tossed his cards down and said, 'Sure! And I bet you anything we get our pictures in the paper!'
Chris said, leaning across the ratty card-table. 'We can find the body and report it!
Well be on the news!'
They told to their parents they would have camped in Vren’s garden.
Then they stared their started their walk along the railway line.
During the night they told each other about their lives, about the problems with the girls, about Vren’s weight troubles, about Teddy ‘s father, a veteran of the Second World War, locked up in an adsylum.
Gordon told them about his brother Dennis and the behavior of his parents, Chris about his disheartening family situation.
We were past the halfway point and for the first time I heard the train. It was coming from behind us, coming from the Castle Rock side of the river.
The train was very loud now, its engine deepening to a steady rumble.
I clapped my hands over my ears and dug my face into the hot dirt as the freight went by, metal squalling against metal, the air buffeting us. I had no urge to look at it. It was a long freight but I never looked at all. Before it had passed completely, I felt a warm hand on my neck and knew it was Chris's.
We looked into each other's tired, sweaty faces. We were hungry and out of temper. The big adventure had turned into a long slog-dirty and sometimes scary.
We were walking in pairs again, each two watching a side of the railroad embankment.
My mouth was dry.
We could smell the river so clearly.


A great whispering noise began to rise in the woods.
You see things you'd just as soon not see, things that keep you awake until first light.
They saw one of those things now.
The kid was dead. The kid wasn't sick, the kid wasn't sleeping. The kid wasn't going to get up in the morning anymore or get the runs from eating too many apples or catch poison ivy or wear out the eraser on the end of his Ticonderoga No. 2 during a hard math test. The kid was dead; stone dead. The kid was never going to go out bottling with his friends in the spring, gunnysack over his shoulder to pick up the returnables the retreating snow uncovered. The kid wasn't going to wake up at two o'clock a. m. on the morning of 1 November this year.
The kid wasn't going to pull a single girl's braid in home room. The kid wasn't going to give a bloody nose, or get one. The kid was can't, don't, won't, never, shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't. He was the side of the battery where the terminal says NEG. The fuse you have to put a penny in. The wastebasket by the teacher's desk, which always smells of wood-shavings from the sharpener and dead orange-peels from lunch. The haunted house outside of town where the windows are crashed out, the NO TRESPASSING signs whipped away across the fields, the attic full of bats, the cellar full of worms. The kid was dead, mister, ma'am, young sir, little miss. I could go on all day and never get it right about the distance between his bare feet on the ground and his dirty Keds hanging in the bushes. It was thirty-plus inches, it was a googol of light-years. The kid was disconnected from his Keds beyond all hope of reconciliation. He was dead.

In the years between then and the writing of this memoir, Gordon had thought remarkably little about those two days in September, at least consciously. The associations the memories bring to the surface are as unpleasant as week-old river corpses brought to the surface by cannon fire. As a result, I never really questioned our decision to walk down the tracks.
The fourth and final story is called The Breathing Method and belongs to the season of winter, but winter is considered as warmth, like family love, like mother's love.
The mother’s love that overcomes every obstacle, every pain and that gives birth.
It is also the story of a lonely and young woman that was pregnant without being married.
In those days, a married pregnant woman was a radiant woman, sure of her position and proud of fulfilling what she considered to be the function God put her on earth for. An unmarried pregnant woman was a trollop in the eyes of the world and apt to be a trollop in her own eyes as well. Such women crept away to have their babies in other towns or cities. Some took pills or jumped from buildings. Others went to butcher abortionists with dirty hands or tried to do the job themselves; in my time as a physician I have seen four women die of blood-loss.
It was, quite simply, the worst situation a healthy young woman could find herself in.
The narrator of the story is a doctor. He is
nearly eighty . All his life he has been associated with a building which stands almost directly across from Madison Square Garden; a building, which looks like a great grey prison -something out of A Tale of Two Cities-is actually a hospital. It is Harriet White Memorial Hospital. The Harriet White after whom it was named was his father's first wife, and she got her practical experience in nursing when there were still actual sheep grazing on the Sheep's Meadow in Central Park. A statue of the lady herself, who would have been his stepmother, had she still been alive when he was born, stands on a pedestal in a pavillion before the building, and if any of you have seen it, you may have wondered how a woman with such a stern and uncompromising face could have found such a gentle occupation. The motto chiseled into the statue's base, once you get rid of the Latin folderol, is even less comforting: There is no comfort without pain; thus we define salvation through suffering. Cato, if you please or if you don't please! He was born inside that grey stone building on 20 March, 1900. He returned there as an intern in the year 1926. Twenty-six is old to be just starting out in the world of medicine, but he had done a more practical internship in France, at the end of World War.
He doesn't know but we were certainly more cynical.
The Harriet White Memorial Hospital also figured largely in something that happened to him nine years after he had interned there-and this is not a tale to be told at Christmas, although its final scene was played out on Christmas Eve) and yet, while it is certainly horrible, it also seems to express to him all the amazing power of our cursed, doomed species. In it he sees the wonder of our will and also its horrible, tenebrous power.
Birth is wonderful, but he has never found it beautiful-not by any stretch of the imagination. He believes it is too brutal to be beautiful. A woman's womb is like an engine. With conception, that engine is turned on. At first it barely idles but as the creative cycle nears the climax of birth, that engine revs up and up and up. Its idling whisper becomes a steady running hum, and then a rumble, and finally a bellowing, frightening roar. Once that silent engine has been turned on, every mother-to-be understands that her life is in check. Either she will bring the baby forth and the engine will shut down again, or that engine will pound louder and harder and faster until it explodes, killing her in blood and pain. Giving birth is an extremely strenuous piece of work, and such advice is like telling a football player to prepare for the big game by sitting around as much as possible so he won't tire himself out!
Most pain is in the mind, and when a woman absorbs the idea that the act of giving birth is excruciatingly painful-when she gets this information from her mother, her sisters, her married friends, and her physician-that woman has been mentally prepared to feel great agony.
This is a story of birth, on the eve of that birth we have celebrated for almost two thousand years.
In April of 1935 he saw a new patient, a young woman whom he will call Sandra Stansfield-that name is close enough to what her name really was. This was a young woman, white, who stated her age to be twenty-eight.
She was blonde, slender, and tall for that time-about five feet eight inches. She was quite beautiful, but in an austere way that was almost forbidding. Her features were clear and regular, her eyes intelligent and her mouth every bit as determined as the stone mouth of Harriet White on the statue in the pavilion across from Madison Square Garden. The name she put on her form was not Sandra Stansfield but Jane Smith.
She got a job selling perfume in one of the big department stores and enrolled in acting classes. She was smart and terribly determined, that girl-her will was pure steel, through and through-but she was as human as anyone else. But as we said, she was lonely. Lonely in a way that perhaps only single girls fresh from small Midwestern towns know. Homesickness is not always a vague, nostalgic, almost beautiful emotion, although that is somehow the way we always seem to picture it in our mind. Homesickness is a real sickness.
She wore no wedding ring.
'You're pregnant,' I said. 'I don't believe you doubted it much, did you?'
'It will be a Christmas baby,' I said. '10 December is the date I'll give you.
'All right.' She hesitated briefly, and then plunged ahead. 'Will you attend me? Even though I'm not married?'
He liked her.
'I admired her. That was the long and short of it. And my admiration grew with each of her visits. '
I did not love her, I've told you, but in that moment I could have loved her; I was on the verge of falling in love with her.
The doctor discovered the principle of the silent birth and the idea of the Breathing Method. Screaming wastes energy which would be better used to expel the baby.
The Breathing Method was uniquely vulnerable, uniquely delicate
From this aspect, at least, Miss Stansfield was the ideal patient She had neither friends nor relatives to talk her out of her belief in the Breathing Method.
Something magic happened to this young woman.
'Cheap magic!' I roared into the sleet, and I believe that as I yanked her dress up to her waist I began laughing. I believe I was mad. Her body was warm. I remember that. I remember the way it heaved with her breathing.
The eyes were open-those direct hazel eyes that had always been full of such life and such determination. They were full of determination still.
The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them-words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were In your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
DanieleDaniele wrote a review
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Un libro diverso
Se tutte e quattro le novelle di questo libro fossero state all'altezza della prima, avrei dato cinque stelle a questo libro.

Rita Hayworth e la redenzione di Shawshank
Questa prima novella ha un ritmo serrante, descrizioni psicologiche di altissima qualità, una trama intrigante e uno stile degno di King. Mi sono veramente appassionato alla storia di Andy e ho pensato alle molte condanne quando l'imputato era innocente e alle assoluzioni quando era colpevole. Il finale è veramente avvincente e mozza fiato.

Un ragazzo sveglio
Il livello cala un po' rispetto alla prima, ma rimane comunque molto alto e la storia riesce ad accattivare il lettore fin dall'inizio. Non avevo mai letto di una relazione interpersonale del genere prima d'ora: un parassitismo all'inizio che si trasforma in un commensalismo e sfocia in un finale prevedibile, ma comunque ritmato e ricco di dettagli intimi dei due personaggi.

Il corpo
Lento a partire, ma poi la trama riesce a incalzare e ad avere un picco a circa metà/tre quarti. Amicizia, odio, amore e altri sentimenti di un gruppo di ragazzini dettagliati e descritti in modo da entrare nella mente dei protagonisti. La critica declama questa la migliore delle quattro novelle, e qui non mi trova d'accordo. La metto alla pari della seconda, ma non supera assolutamente la prima.

Il metodo di respirazione
Questa ultima e molto più corta novella parte molto lentamente, ha un picco verso la fine e nient'altro, ma va bene come finale. Decisamente non all'altezza delle altre tre.

Molto carina l'appendice finale di commenti scritta direttamente da Stephen King che ci fa capire meglio come sono nate queste novelle.
Anne ShirleyAnne Shirley wrote a review
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