Stephen King’s The Institute

‘Twas the spookiest of nights and all through the house, not an evil being was resting-not even a mouse.  The kidnappers went down the hallways with care, taking another child and his teddy bear. The child was kept, only parents killed, because the Institute’s cages needed to be filled.  

Goblins, ghouls, and witches beware, Stephen King’s latest novel is finally here. The scary scene described above summarizes King’s The Institute, which was released just in time for Halloween season. The novel centers around a secret organization that kidnaps children with special abilities, kills their parents, and takes the newly orphaned youth to The Institute.  Morality holds no ground, rooms have no windows, and innocent children are subject to ruthless experimentation in this hellish building.

Once you enter, there is little hope of walking out… | Photo Courtesy of sublimehorror

Critics are openly congratulating King’s ever-present craftsmanship and ingenuity  in this latest edition to his psychological thrillers. “The Institute, is another winner: creepy and touching,” Clea Simon from The Boston Globe said.   “Written with the swaggering confidence of a master,” James Lovegrove from the Financial Times said. 

In short, critics have arguably come to the consensus that King’s latest novel has topped the former. King’s progress in both his writing and creativity is evident from the spooky characters which seem to grow more realistic with every page turn. The obvious intention of his trademark style is to suck readers into the story and keep them there until the very last page.  The Institute, however, exceeds this standard.  The story does not end at page 576. It does not end when the imagination has subsided. In fact, the novel currently has no end  in sight. The Institute will only end when society allows it to do so. 

“Of all the cosmic menaces that King’s heroes have battled, this slow creep into inhumanity may be the most terrifying yet because it is all too real,” Laura Miller from the New York Times said.

The realistic attribute of King’s latest novel, like many other discoveries, was stumbled upon by accident. “As I was rewriting this book, all at once I found out we’re locking little kids up in cages on the border, and I’m thinking to myself, this is like my book,”  King said while on The View.

When King made this comment, he was referring to the Mexican border crisis.   Since April, the Trump administration has been prosecuting nearly all border-crossing cases.  Under the “zero-tolerance policy” adults are being detained, whether or not they bring children.  These children are separated from their families and placed at border stations.

Migrant Detention Center | Photo Courtesy of nbcnews

“Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.” The New York Times said in description of a border station in Texas.

King clarified on The View that the political connection to his novel is purely a coincidence, though an eerie one.

“I try to keep my politics separate from the stuff that I write,” King said. “People like story. People want story and if they want the news…they can go on and get [it] […] Sometimes life comes and imitates art instead of the other way around, “ King said while on The View.The shelves are filled with the latest horror novels, including King’s The Institute for the Halloween season.  Read it through once, maybe even twice.  Be warned, however, “Like the roach motel, you check in but you don’t check out,” as Kalisha, a character from the novel said. King’s book lives on in reality, entrapping all its readers in a story with no foreseeable end. Reading his book may provide an adrenaline rush, but it also puts into perspective how horribly inhumane humanity can be.

Written by Devina Tavathia

Devina Tavathia is a senior and Co-Editor in Chief for the MCSun. She is on the school's varsity track team and loves volunteering as a Science Olympiad coach at MBMS. In her free time she enjoys grooving to some Urban Choreography at StudioFx.

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