Rage

Rage (originally titled Getting It On) is the first novel by Stephen King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman in 1977. It was collected in 1985 in the hardcover omnibus The Bachman Books. Protagonist Charles Everett "Charlie" Decker is a junior at Placerville High School in fictional Placerville, Maine. The story begins in first period, when Charlie is called to the main office via intercom from his Algebra 2 class. Principal Mr. Denver wants to discuss with Charlie an incident that occurred two months earlier, where Charlie had almost killed his chemistry teacher, Mr. Carlson, by hitting him in the head with a heavy wrench. For unknown reasons, Charlie snaps and responds with a series of insulting remarks towards Mr. Denver, which prompts him to expel Charlie from Placerville High School. Charlie storms out of the office and retrieves a pistol from his locker. After setting the contents of the locker on fire, he returns to his classroom and fatally shoots his teacher, Mrs. Jean Underwood. The fire triggers an alarm, and students are prepared to be evacuated from the school campus. Charlie sits behind Mrs. Underwood's desk and makes sure all of the students stay where they are. When teacher Mr. Vance enters the classroom to notify students to evacuate, Charlie fatally shoots him as well. As the students and teachers evacuate the school, police and media arrive at the scene.A long discussion ensues with his fellow students, with Charlie claiming that he honestly does not know why he did this, and that he will probably regret this when the incident ends. The hostages eventually express approval to him, displaying symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. In the following four hours, Charlie toys with various authority figures who attempt to negotiate with him, including the principal, the school psychologist, and the chief of police, telling each one of them to do or not to do certain things, like saying he will kill a student if they ask him any questions or fail to call him Charlie. He also unwittingly turns the class into a sort of psychotherapy group, causing his schoolmates to semi-voluntarily tell embarrassing secrets regarding themselves and each other. Interspersed throughout are narrative flashbacks to his own troubled childhood, particularly his horrible relationship with his abusive father. Several notable incidents include a violent disagreement between two female students, and a SWAT team sniper shooting Charlie in the chest (his padlock, which he placed in his breast pocket on a whim, stops the bullet).Charlie finally comes to the realization that one student is really being held there against his will: a seeming "big man on campus" named Ted Jones, who is harboring his own secrets. Jones realizes this and attempts to escape the classroom, however is brutally assaulted by fellow students, rendering him in a battered catatonic state. At 1:00 PM, Charlie releases the students. When police chief Frank Philbrick enters the classroom, the now-unarmed Charlie deliberately makes a "threatening" gesture and is shot three times. He survives being shot and is found not guilty by reason of insanity, and is committed to a psychiatric asylum in Augusta until he is no longer a threat to society. The story ends with Charlie addressing the reader, "I have to turn off the light now. Good night."

(reference: Wikipedia.com)

1 Comment:

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