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Ending interpretation (spoilers for this and Cell)

Discussion in 'Pet Sematary' started by César Hernández-Meraz, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    I finished reading Pet Sematary last week. I really liked the story and the characters.

    At the end, we see Louis being forced by whatever is in those woods to bury someone else there. We have seen evidence of that evil thing's powers and influence. We know how it plays with humans' minds and makes them do what it wants.

    Obviously, it has an interest on having people keep using the graveyard, so I suppose it might let Louis live, only to have him "infect" others with the knowledge of that burying ground. Oz might let Rachel keep up appearances to Louis (he himself would try to convince his brain that everything is alright) at least until he tells other people about that place, who knows (even if they have to live hiding after what happened, that place would call back to him).

    All the things he kept thinking about how Rachel had not been touched by whatever was in there because he was quick to bury her this time are obviously caused by the Oz. Whatever it takes to convince this otherwise rational man to do what is needed.

    But a couple of days after I finished reading it, I thought of Cell.

    In that book, young Jordan explains his theory about restarting/rebooting the brain of the affected people, with a high degree of certainty that it could work (at least, it was worth trying it). The book ends before we see the actual results of this theory put in practice.

    SK later said he thought it was clear that it was going to work, and that the book has this relatively happy ending.

    Then I found the parallels between those two books interesting. I still think all evidence in Pet Sematary points to a not-truly-happy ending, with undead-Rachel still being an avatar of Oz/Wendigo.

    But forgetting about Oz just a little, seeing Louis's conviction that it will work this time (he was somewhat more objective in Gage's case, although, of course, he was less exhausted) and undead-Rachel's last word before the end, this presents an interesting case of "what if" and an alternate chance of "lived happily ever after".

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...Oz?....and I don't think "Darling" means rose petals on the bed....
  3. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    The Gweat and Tewwible. Wendigo. Some evil form of Death.

    It was Louis's name for it (after Rachel's story of Zelda). I guess if the "long boy" and "Boo'ya Moon" from Lisey's Story can be referenced that way, so can Oz th Gweat and Tewwible. =D
  4. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the Board! Keep posting!
    GNTLGNT and muskrat like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ....now I unnerstand!....
  6. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid

    Hmmm . . .

    You know, it's a funny thing about this story:

    Clearly there is something in the woods which announces its presence to those who visit the cemetery, but I never really thought of the evil in this story as external. I've always felt that whatever power influences the cemetery is somehow buffeted by the deadfall (which is why the deadfall must be crossed with faith, rather than carefully).

    Obviously, there is something at work which keeps people going up there (and telling other people about it), but not everyone who uses the cemetery goes as crackerbox as Louis does (although some do), and what I keep getting from this story -- whenever I allow myself to visit -- is that Louis is so far intellectually removed from . . . what? . . . mysticism? . . . that he believes he can "outsmart" the cemetery in a way that Judd or any of the other locals do not.

    Either that . . . or I am entirely wrong.
  7. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    No, I always thought Louis was too far removed from whatever and thought he could outsmart it. I think he was a very modern person who had no concept of anything outside this world.
    Alan_Sefton and GNTLGNT like this.
  8. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    Agreed. I saw much of myself in Louis. I try to see things coldly and objectively. But I wonder if I could be the one to break when faced with some situation that requires less logic and more emotions.

    In this case Rachel, who has always been "weak" for letting her emotions rule her life, is the one who keeps her cool and gets to be the (would-be) strong hero of the story when presented with a situation that requires emotional fortitude and accepting greater powers (without trying to make them fit our own logic and needs).
    GNTLGNT likes this.
  9. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid

    This is a very good point. For me this becomes pronounced when Louis decides he's going to dig up Gage's body. This, to me, is when Louis "snaps" . . . except that he doesn't. Like you said, he's very cool and calculating about how he is going to go about this obscene thing. He does his research. He makes a plan. He gathers his tools. He's completely out of his mind, doing absurd things in a very rational manner.

    To me, that's a lot scarier than a spirit wandering around in the woods.
    GNTLGNT likes this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...makes the Wendigo look like a paper boogie man....
  11. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid

    I think it does, yes.

    The Wendigo may inform or influence or protect or promote (or whatever) the cemetery and its magic, but I think the people who use the cemetery bring their madness with them.
    GNTLGNT likes this.
  12. César Hernández-Meraz

    César Hernández-Meraz Wants to be Nick, ends up as Larry

    Very true. But then again, excessive use of the burial ground may weaken the barrier that may be keeping the Wendigo in there. After he's had his way and the barrier is finally broken, he may be able to do more than just influence from a distance. :concern:
    GNTLGNT likes this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...I concur, and further postulate that the Wendigo acts a type of supernatural amplifier of said madness....
  14. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid

    Hey . . . that's not bad.

    I think you might be onto something there.
    GNTLGNT likes this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...well, for god's sake don't tell anyone!....I certainly don't want to corrupt my well crafted guise of dipsh*tedness.....
  16. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid

    Your secret is safe with me.
    danie and GNTLGNT like this.
  17. Aloysius Nell

    Aloysius Nell Well-Known Member

    When I first read this, in the late 80s, I remember flipping idly through it, before reading, and reading the random phrase - a dangerous game with Stephen King! I got caught by the sequence where Louis is breaking into the cemetery, and ended up reading several pages. So, I knew his son was dead before reading the book. But, I just couldn't believe it. Could not reconcile THAT Louis with the Louis I met on page one, or walked with for the next few hundred pages. I was completely surprised, amazed, and dumbfounded by the line "Gage, who now had less than two months to live, ..." Surreal, and it is no different on rereads. (I always think Romeo and Juliet are going to make it, too!)
  18. Alan_Sefton

    Alan_Sefton Member

    One of the few things that I thought didn't work so well in the book was the introduction of the wendigo or the idea of the wendigo while Louis was on his way to the burial ground. It just felt dropped in and generic. Stephen King might as well have brought Bigfoot or some other mainstream legend into play (perhaps Bigfoot could have had a marker in the Pet Sematary - 'Bigfoot - he was elusive'). The unknown quality of the burial ground and its powers is terrifying - and so bringing a well-known native American legend such as the wendigo detracts from this, for me. I found the unexplained face that was ahead of him for a long time on the path much scarier.
    Doc Creed and GNTLGNT like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ....suffice it to say, there was enough fear and loathing to go around.....
    Doc Creed and Alan_Sefton like this.
  20. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    The whole book is based on the premise of Indian burial grounds and mythologies of the afterlife so I don't think he went too afar afield by introducing the Wendigo which, by the way, is a central legend to that part of the country. It seemed apropos to me.
    GNTLGNT and Alan_Sefton like this.

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