Essay on The Man in the Black Suit by Stephen King: The Devil in the World of Children

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976 words
George Washington University
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The Man in the Black Suit by Stephen King presents a story of a man named Gary. He tells of an experience that he had when he was nine years old. He recalls the death of his elder brother and how it affected his parents in addition to giving him endless nightmares. He narrates his encounter with the devil and how he managed to escape from him to prevent dying. He also includes his fear of meeting the man with the black suit at an age where he is not strong enough to run away from him. The analysis puts into view the devil in the world of children regarding the devils manipulation of the human mind by using mans vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It focuses on the perception of the devil by children and the scary stare that he gives Gary, the devils message that Garys mother is dead and the issue of trust on family rather than inclining to the devils words.

The devil manipulates Gary from the time that Gary sets his eyes on him. Gary is certain that the man is not human from his body features, and the flames in his eyes. The features make Gary perceive him as the devil possibly due to the description provided to him by his parents and the church on the features of the devil. Gary states, Even before he reached me, I recognized the aroma baking up from the skin under the suit- the smell of burned matches. The smell of sulfur. The man in the black suit was the devil, (King 829). The man suit and appearance frighten Gary such that he is unable to move when they engage in conversation. When he realizes that Gary is afraid of him, he tells him that he has sad news.

The devil also manipulates Gary to give up his life by touching on areas where he is most vulnerable particularly since he is a child. To ensure that Gary believes his story, he tells him that he has saved him from a bee and mentions the death of his brother which was caused by a bee sting. He tells Gary that his mother has just died while preparing the loaf of bread that Gary had left her preparing. He even mentions the name of the familys dog which makes Gary believe him. He then tells Gary that he is angry and that he wants to eat him with the view that eating him would save him from the misery of mourning his mother. He states, Ill save you all that discomfort and unpleasantness. Also, youll go to heaven, think of that. Murdered souls always go to heaven. So well both be serving God this afternoon, Gary. Isnt that nice? (King 832). The view is that when Gary accepts to be killed, he has nothing to lose since he will go to heaven and will not experience the pain associated with his mothers death.

Nonetheless, Gary trusts his family more than the manipulation from the devil. He follows his father home after the assurance that his mother is alive. He also trusts that he will be safe with his father when they go back to the stream to get his fishing equipment. He also tries to view the experience as one of his nightmares. He also trusts the Bible whereby he carries it when his father and he go back to the stream with the view that it will help them keep the devil away.

Despite being able to save his life from the devil, the appearance and the manipulation keep on haunting Gary even at his older age. At the beginning of the narration, Gary explains that the image of the man in the black suits keeps on getting clearer despite the incidence taking place when he was nine years old. He looks at his age and the status of the body and explains that he is uncertain whether his body will allow him to escape him. He states, The devil came to me once, long ago; suppose he were to come again now? I cant even get to the bathroom and back without my walker. I have no fine brook trout with which to propitiate him, either, even for a moment or two. I am old, and my creel is empty. Suppose he were to come and find me so? And suppose he is still hungry? (King 839). It can be perceived that the fear instilled by the devil still disturbed Gary despite the incidence occurring many years ago.

As stated earlier, the analysis puts into view the devil in the world of children regarding the devils manipulation of the human mind by using mans vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The man in the black suit manipulates Gary by including sensitive areas in Garys life. He assures Gary that he is aware of the loss that the family has experienced and that Gary is better of dying rather than experience the pain after the death of his mother. It can be perceived that the manner in which man deals with his situations is determined by the influence presented by the devil in their minds. The devil, in this case, uses the vulnerabilities in an individuals and certain facts which make it difficult when making certain choices. If Gary had chosen to trust the devil, he would have died in the process without proving that his mother was still alive. Also, the manipulation may occur at any stage in an individuals life. Gary was manipulated when he was nine years old whereby the fear projected from the manipulation kept daunting him even at his old age. What can be learned from the narrative is the need to distinguish between good and evil to prevent making regrettable choices.


Work Cited

King, Stephen. The Man in the Black Suit. Pp. 825-839.


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