is a novel written by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
A disturbed high schooler, after being expelled, shoots his teacher and takes the rest of his class hostage. A show-and-tell session with an unexpected flavor of The Breakfast Club
Stephen King requested the novel to be pulled out of circulation after its connection to several similar school shooting incidents possibly inspired by it.
The novel provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Charlie's father.
- Axes at School
- Break the Haughty: What happens to Ted.
- Chekhov's Gun: Early in the book Charlie places a padlock in his shirt pocket. It's what saves his life when he's shot by a SWAT team sniper.
- Darker and Edgier: Decades later, it's still one of King's bleakest works.
- Facial Horror: The Cherokee Nose Job, as told by Charlie's dad; if a women is unfaithful, then the response is to cut her nose in half (representing her "cunt") to let everyone know of her indiscretion.
- Force Feeding: The other kids beat Ted and force paper down his throat, putting him in a catatonic state.
- Hero Antagonist: Ted, despite being a jerkass, is trying to rally the class against someone who just killed two innocent people and is effectively holding them hostage.
- Horrible Camping Trip: Charlie is forced to go on one with his father and some of his friends. There he learns about the Cherokee Nose Job.
- Karma Houdini: Presumably, the rest of the class who went along with Charlie and ultimately drove Ted insane.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Both the original novel and the omnibus collection (The Bachman Books) that it was part of are out of print. The rest of the novels published under the Bachman name have since been published separately under King's name.
- Lying Finger Cross: Charlie does this at one point to reassure his quasi-hostages while toying with the school psychiatrist over the intercom.
- Manipulative Bastard: Charlie is one.
- My Beloved Smother: Pig Pen's mother.
- Noodle Incident: A few things happen to some of the class in the epilogue, but these events are censored in the letter to Charlie.
- Oedipus Complex: Charlie has a dream about his father killing his mother after giving her a Cherokee Nose Job and wakes up with an erection.
- Old Shame: For King.
- The Pig Pen: Pig Pen.
- Pocket Protector: Charlie's padlock.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Ted tries to do this to Charlie to get the rest of the class on his side. It doesn't work.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Many of the students find themselves sympathizing with and expressing approval towards Charlie.
- Suicide by Cop: Charlie tries this at the end.
- Villain Protagonist: Charlie.