Though fictional, ‘The Outsider‘ shows how lack of acknowledgment can harm a person. The king of horror portrayed this idea by using a common unacknowledged idea; the belief in the supernatural.
Belief and Disbelief
“A person did what a person could, whether it was setting up gravestones or trying to convince twenty-first-century men and women that there were monsters in the world, and their greatest advantage was the unwillingness of rational people to believe.”
Stephen King portrayed the lack of belief and how that affected serving justice in ‘The Outsider.’ The quote above explains the rigidity of humanity towards accepting a concept they have no clue or control over. The Outsider used the lack of belief as his greatest weapon because he knew that people would never consider the possibility of a supernatural entity that could transform into others and commit a gruesome crime.
“I would like to believe in God,” she said, “because I don’t want to believe we just end, even though it balances the equation—since we came from blackness, it seems logical to assume that it’s to blackness we return. But I believe in the stars, and the infinity of the universe. That’s the great Out There. Down here, I believe there are more universes in every fistful of sand, because infinity is a two-way street. I believe there’s another dozen thoughts in my head lined up behind each one I’m aware of. I believe in my consciousness and my unconscious, even though I don’t know what those things are. And I believe in A. Conan Doyle, who had Sherlock Holmes say, ‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.’ ”
The quote above shows the paradoxical approach to belief and disbelief. Jeanie Anderson realized one thing after a man approached her in her kitchen, the supernatural was only visible if it appeared to you, and she knew it was real, as she had encountered it.
However, encountering The Outsider created doubt in her as she had always refuted the idea that the supernatural was real. Jeanie knew that The Outsider changed everything she believed in, and it made her make sense of the idea that there was a God, who would have enormous control over everything; something that defied logic and scared her at the same time.
“Strip away the metaphors, Jeannie had said, and you are left with the inexplicable. The supernatural. Only that’s not possible. The supernatural may exist in books and movies, but not in the real world.”
Though Ralph’s wife, Jeanie, told him to have an iota of belief for things he could not explain by mere logic, Ralph still found it hard to bring himself to acknowledge the existence of a supernatural force. Though he had an atheistic point of view, the main reason for not wanting to acknowledge the supernatural was the guilt he knew would be present with admitting that a higher force did exist.
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.’ ”
The world works with a set of rigid rules that creates what we term the possible and impossible. With this line drawn, we can have an existence that is satisfied by these rules. However, what happens when the line we already believe to be solid fades away? Ralph’s line of the possible and impossible did fade, leaving him with no other choice than to accept that once you eliminate the impossible, what is left has to be the truth.
“He realized something else, as well. He was angry, probably angrier than he’d ever been in his life, and as they turned onto Main Street and headed for the Flint City police station, he made himself a promise: come fall, maybe even sooner, the man in the front seat, the one he’d considered a friend, was going to be looking for a new job. Possibly as a bank guard in Tulsa or Amarillo.”
Betrayal makes one feel angered, and Terry was in a position to feel every string of betrayal and anger towards the man who had shattered his life by leading a public arrest on him for a crime he did not commit. Though Terry did not know Ralph also acted as a result of feeling betrayed by the man he trusted with his son, Terry felt revenge was his best alternative.
“He felt that if they did get out of here, he could drink daylight like water.”
Freedom has been a basic need of every human, and in ‘The Outsider,’ freedom became an insatiable desire. Ralph wanted freedom from being trapped, and he fantasized about that freedom. Trapped under a cave, the desire for wanting to see the light above ground became a human instinct for Ralph, and it showed just how valuable freedom is.
Reality and Change
“Reality is thin ice, but most people skate on it their whole lives and never fall through until the very end. We did fall through, but we helped each other out. We’re still helping each other.”
The quote above talks about a concept that has stayed relevant in society, the idea of change. Stephen King portrayed the change of ideologies in ‘The Outsider’ by making a scenario where ideologies change with a single event. The element of change was The Outsider himself, an entity that could have never existed by mere logic. Ralph knew that from the moment he encountered such a force, his atheistic beliefs would falter, and he knew his reality would completely change. Reality is indeed thin ice and relativistic from how one views it once influenced. ‘The Outsider’ showed this concept with eloquence.
“People are blind to explanations that lie outside their perception of reality.”
It is hard to change and harder to accept a change that contradicts your belief, but what do you do when that change perfectly fits into the doubts you have had all along? Ralph never wanted to answer this question as he knew the existence of a being like The Outsider would make him directly responsible for the death of Terry. Ralph turned a blind eye to accepting someone else was responsible for Frankie’s murder, and his denial cost an innocent man his life.
“Dreams are the way we touch the unseen world.”
Dreams, a gateway to the vast unknown world of the subconscious. Can a dream be real, or does a dream exist for the sole purpose of the mind letting go of all doubt? ‘The Outsider’ indirectly asked this question. In the book, Jeanie encounters an entity and then wakes up safe and hearty as if she were in a dream, same for Grace, but it leaves one wondering if the subconscious was involved.
“It was no dream she said. Dreams fade. Reality doesn’t.”
In ‘The Outsider,’ there was a thin line between dreaming and reality. Jeanie knew that what she had experienced was not a perceived feeling. Reality sticks with one like a sore thumb, and the fact that Jeanie encountered The Outsider made her over agitated and scared. She realized it had to be real and not a premonition.
Is The Outsider by Stephen King demonic?
Though a fictional horror story, ‘The Outsider’ is not a demonic book and certainly did not involve any element of demonism.
Are the quotes in The Outsider an expression of Stephen King’s ideologies?
The quotes from ‘The Outsider’ shows Stephen King’s view of the society at the fundamental level but each quote still comes off as an emotion expressed by the character and not the writer.
What quotes in The Outsider are particularly important?
“It was no dream she said. Dreams fade. Reality doesn’t.”
Was Jeanie scared of The Outsider?
Yes, Jeanie was scared after she met The Outsider in her house.