Why the WEST?

Discussion in 'The Stand' started by Chazel1972, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Chazel1972

    Chazel1972 Well-Known Member

    One thing with The Stand that I often think about upon re-reading it, is how/why people who weren't necessarily EVIL went to the West. Were they deficient in some way? More deficient than Larry (who was "not no nice guy" for some of his life)? These are the things I think. Why didn't they dream of Mother Abigail? Did people who didn't dream of Mother Abigail go to Boulder anyway?
     
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  2. HollyGolightly

    HollyGolightly Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, The Stand was a long time ago for me - 1987 the first time and then 1991 with the unedited version, so I'm rusty. But I thought those who dreamed of Flagg and the West were more of an evil, wicked, heartless, cruel type of person - those who don't care much about the right thing or the good thing. I was much younger when I read those - 20's and now I'm in my 40's - so my opinion is might be different now if I re-read it.
     
  3. Walter Oobleck

    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    They didn't have truth in advertising like we have today. :)
     
  4. GNTLGNT

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
    Glen Bateman

    ...
    even though many people are basically good & decent, there is a part of them that is enticed and called to by darkness...
     
  5. HollyGolightly

    HollyGolightly Well-Known Member

    Thus says the Indigo Girls!
    Darkness has a hunger that's insatiable, and lightness has a call that's hard to hear.
     
  6. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I never thought abot it that much, but I think these ideas are correct.
     
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  7. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    In the book, most people dreamed of both Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg; it was up to them who they chose to follow. Classic good vs. evil and exercise of free will. I think Holly is dead right--sometimes (often, according to the bible--"The way of life is narrow") good is so difficult. Some people who weren't necessarily evil went west because it looked (and WAS) easier tan going to Boulder. I think the population of Vegas would have been much higher than that of Boulder for that exact reason.
     
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  8. HollyGolightly

    HollyGolightly Well-Known Member

    Oh - you're right - I had totally forgotten that - but yes, it was a choice.
     
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  9. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    It occurs to me that how the people in The Stand, good guys and bad guys, behave is exactly how people do in real life, relative to the question at hand (what causes some human beings to make good or at least better choices compared to others). We're all given the choice the people in The Stand are; perhaps we sometimes must even make crossroad decisions. We all haves dreams in that we have goals. Our goals are by choice.

    Will I follow after the good, even though it might be harder, less popular, less lucrative, less glamorous, lonelier or not?
     
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  10. jfra3101

    jfra3101 Well-Known Member

    I think it is out of the persons hands where they went. You'll notice with Fran, Stu, Nadine etc. Mother Abigail specifically talked to them in there dreams, telling them to go to her house (or later to Boulder?) whereas Randall Flagg didn't say anything to them, just stood there and freaked the hell out of them. Perhaps the people who went to the West were encouraged to go there by Flagg, but since Mother Abigail wasn't evil, they weren't afraid of her? That's my opinion anyways, I guess it was just a whole Mr. King wants us to fill in for ourselves!
     
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  11. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    Freaked out is right. As Blunt said.. What would I do? I seem to think that I would drift west and then find out that I was wrong.

    Did anyone try to make it back to Boulder? I don't think so. But I would have tried.
     
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  12. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Well-Known Member

    I'll have to come back to this once I get to that part in the book. But I want to try my answer at this point, to see how it changes once I get all the information. As for now, I'd think it would depend on how each town is presented to people in the dreams.

    If the difference is only electricity and comfort versus old style country life, I do not find anything "bad" about any of the options.

    But if the electricity side badmouthed the other, or if they actually showed something worse, then that would mark them as "bad", and the decision would have to be weighed as each one realized if comfort was more important than being away from bad people.

    And if there were incongruities in what was presented and what was actually done, I believe I would not want anything to do with that. I can more easily accept a "bad" person who presents themselves as "bad". But saying something and doing the opposite is something I really dislike.
     
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  13. Aloysius Nell

    Aloysius Nell Well-Known Member

    Vegas drew the folks who are never satisfied, never truly happy, never content with the way things are.
    Boulder drew the others - the eternal optimists, the "fixers", the ones who will manage to find pleasure in the small enjoyments of life.

    Think of several examples and see if I'm right. I could be wrong, it's a new theory (like in the last 3 minutes). But it's working for me so far. In other words, not necessarily good vs. bad, although there is generally a lot of overlap. And of course Flagg used their dissatisfaction for his evil purposes.
     
  14. rudiroo

    rudiroo Well-Known Member

    Elegantly expressed!:okay:
     
  15. rudiroo

    rudiroo Well-Known Member

    Good point - never crossed my mind before and how many times have I read The Stand?

    Most obvious (and lame, but cut me some slack because I live in the UK) is climate.

    The US is prone to "Extreme Weather: Special Edition", nu?
    Without all the amenities of modern life - heat at a touch of a button - I would want to be somewhere hot.
    But a dry heat, preferably.
    Not swampy with a side order of mosquitoes.

    Aside from that. . dunno.
    The power of the random?
     
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  16. not_nadine

    not_nadine Comfortably Roont

    That was good, and just about how I saw it. Thank you.
     
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  17. staropeace

    staropeace Richard Bachman's love child

    I am here in the West and very evil lol. No seriously, there were good people in both groups the way I read it.
     
  18. Grandpa

    Grandpa Well-Known Member

    While The Stand is one of my very favorite SK books (after Dead Zone), there were things in it that were offputting to me.

    I get that Vegas is Sin City, where nothing is natural, it's an artificial facade, it's a place built on vice, and sure, let's nuke it. Within the larger context, the point was being made East is good, West is bad, and that bothered me. Having traveled a bit, I will grant that there is corruption (and goodness) everywhere, but in the older (i.e., East) cities, the corruption is older and more ingrained. When I came west to live (and away from the Chicago influence), I enjoyed the comparative lack of corruption in public institutions, and it was a bit jarring to me to read "East is more morally upright than West." I confess that I'm quite possibly putting more into it than the author intended.

    Another part, and now this is just me projecting again, is the whimsical wish to go back to a world of magic where water flows uphill and fairies dot the landscape with frost. That's nice and fanciful, but in my view, all that "go back" stuff refers to made-up things, because the world was never like that, and believing that it was, aside from entertainment value (I like LOTR as much as anyone), slows down our appreciation of, and ability to deal with, the world as it actually exists. "We don't like an unpredictable world. Let's have supernaturalism so we can figure it out!" I don't favor that approach.

    Okay, yeah, I'm making too much of it. And I really, really did like the book.
     
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  19. Aloysius Nell

    Aloysius Nell Well-Known Member

    See, and to most of the country, BOTH of those cities are in the West. Boulder's several hundred miles west of the Mississippi.

    Is that SK's way of saying, "We're ALL F-ed up; some just more than others?"
     
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  20. Pucker

    Pucker Pithy Sentiment Here

    I would have to look at it again, but I believe the point is made when Dana and Tom get to Vegas that most of the people there appear to be just regular folks trying to get along. In fact, I think Glen Batemen points out the likelihood of this somewhere in the preceding narrative. I don't think it's so much a question of clear "good" vs. clear "evil." We get a fair picture of the struggle some of the main characters have with the dreams, but the larger struggle is left to our imagination. It may come down to the simple idea of what scares you, as opposed to what comforts you.

    For myself, if you show me an image of an Old Testament stump-jumper who promises to "save" me from her angry god, and then show me an image of a serpent (or whatever), I'm gonna choose the serpent every time. I know what a serpent is -- or would at least be likely to be fooled into thinking I do -- and would take reasonable precautions to protect myself from the devil I know. An evangelist might be anything. Of course, that's pride talking, and we know what role pride plays in the story, but I don't think we can simply classify everyone in the west as "bad" (which is easy) and everyone in Boulder as "good" (which is hard).

    A person of a certain perspective could as easily say that the people in the Free Zone are simply sheep cowering in a fold, waiting for the Invisible Man to save them ... which, of course, He does.
     
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