The Lottery is NOT Random
- Theory: Garraty and others may have been chosen because one or both parents got Squaded.
- Theory: The major may put his illegitimate bastards into the long-walk to get rid of them.
- They try to stack the odds with super-strong walkers like Scramm and McVries. Stebbins would have come in third, if McVries didn't sacrifice himself for Garraty.
- Theory: Maybe the most dysfunctional or useless boys are chosen
- McVries worked in a pajama factor and did his job badly. "So we got jobs working for a pajama factory in New Jersey."
- Scramm worked in bed-sheet factory in Phoenix making $3/hr. "Went to work for a bedsheet factory out in Phoenix, three dollars an hour."
- Garraty wants to sell urinals for a living. "I always thought I'd get into urinal manufacture," Garraty said.
- Abraham's essay:
"I feel qualified to participate in the Long Walk because I am one useless S.O.B. and the world would be better off without me"
- that is exactly who they are looking for!
- Baker wanted to be mortician.
- Kids bound for college don't get selected.
- Theory: The physical and mental test is not for picking the strongest and most stable mentally.
- If the lottery is random, the names in the drum do not include the boys that show promise for the future.
- Barkovitch was anti-social.
- Collie Parker was a mean son of a bitch.
- Hank Olsen's ego went way beyond his abilities (Hank Olson's the name. Walking is my game).
- Tubbins went insane.
- They are not mentally stable.
- Harkness was not physically fit (Harkness's face was red and sweaty).
- The Long Walk is a type of Purge, to remove undesirable boys from society.
"I dropped out of school when I was fourteen."
"Went to work for a bedsheet factory out in Phoenix, three dollars an hour." (2018 conversion: 1966=$23 1979=$10)
Most teeth are gone: Scramm smiled, showing the stubborn last survivors of his teeth.
"I dropped out of school when I was fourteen.
McVries is poor and fails at his jobs
"the factory was on piecework. That means we got lousy wages, but a percentage for all we did over a certain minimum."
"I did about twenty-three bags a day, but the norm was usually right around thirty."
I'd go home with a check for $64.40 (2018 conversion: 1966=$498 1979=$222)
She was making something like ninety a week (2018 conversion: 1966=$696 1979=$310)
she didn't have to make me feel like a failure, because I was a failure. I didn't have anything in particular going for me
- Low quality shoes
a glint from the worn nails, a glimpse of cracked and tissue-thin shoeleather.
Joe and Mike, the Hopis who lead the Vanguard: They're proud. And poor.
Art Baker is poor: "You might be if you grew up on potato soup and collards," Baker sid. "Sidemeat only when your daddy could afford the ammunition."
Art Baker was thinking of going into the family business as a Mortician: "Well, I was turnin' over the idea of going to mortician's school in a few years."
Art Baker: He caught up quickly with Baker, who was also walking shoe-less.
Harkness: His stocking foot slapped the road rhythmically.
Garraty is poor:
"I had a brother, Jeff. He died of pneumonia when he was six, and-it's cruel-but I don't know how we'd've gotten along if he'd've lived."
"I was sure it said I'd flunked the physical or the mental or both" - evidence they don't pick the best. Abraham tried eliminating himself with his essay. Backfired.
Garraty low quality shoes:
It seemed to Garraty that he felt every pebble through the paper-thinness of his shoes.
his sock felt ragged back there
His left great toe had poked through his sock
His ripped socks flapped and slapped his swollen feet.
Garraty could feel his right heel wobbling. Pretty soon the nails would let go, and he would shed the shoeheel like dead skin.
His feet pounded the pavement and the loose heel flapped looser, like an old shutter on a dead house.
feeling the dew seep through his cracked shoes
"My damn shoeheel came off," he said.
I have lost my shoes.
feet were now bare, cold, and scraping raw
"Rich men don't enter the Kingdom of Heaven," Garraty said.
Scramm refers to their group as the poor folks "You finally decide to come back and visit the po' folks?"
Garraty noticed that the tongue of Wyman's left shoe had worked out from beneath the lacings and was flapping obscenely.
Barkovitch: "I've got a stone in my shoe!" Barkovitch said waspishly. - low quality shoes with holes picking up stones from the parking lot?
Pearson: He had lost his shoes. - poor, low quality shoes
Percy: "I want m'boy!" - his mother sound uneducated, and therefore I'm assuming Percy and his family were also poor
Whyman: Garraty noticed that the tongue of Wyman's left shoe had worked out from beneath the lacings and was flapping obscenely.
Garraty: "Those look like good shoes, Abe." "Yeah. But they're too goddam heavy. You buy for distance, you gain the weight."
- light shoes fall apart, heavy shoes stay together but are too heavy. Best to do what Stebbins did and have two different pairs.
- Stebbins explains when he watched the end of the long walk
"They walked right past me. One of them was a big blond with his shirt open. One of his shoe soles had come unglued or unstitched or whatever,
and it was flapping. The other guy wasn't even wearing his shoes anymore. He was in his stocking feet. His socks ended at his ankles.
The rest of them ... why, he'd just walked them away, hadn't he?
- Hint that they are not the most physically fit
Baker: "Did you go out for track or anything? In school?"
Baker: "Me either.
"Two of them were wearing identical leather jackets, with what looked like eagles on the back."
- Joe and Mike "the leather boys", with what looked like eagles on the back. Bronze skin. Hopi Indians. Brothers. Part of the vanguard.
- Highly unlikely that two brothers would be picked
"Joe and Mike? The leather-jacket guys everybody thought was queer for each other? They're Hopis. I think that was what Scramm was trying to tell us before,
and we weren't gettin' him. But ... see ... what I hear is that they're brothers."
- Garraty and McVries shouldn't have been in The Long Walk
"You and your friend McVries stand out in this motley crew, Garraty.
I don't understand how either of you got here. I'm willing to bet it runs deeper than you think, though.
- Stebbins hints at some kind of conspiracy. Stebbins was groomed to win it, but someone else had other ideas.
- Stebbins had the patience, the mental fitness, the right attitude, the fitness, the strategy, the pace, to win it.
- Maybe McVries was a plant to help Garraty win it. Maybe McVries was given something or threatened. Maybe the 12th walker to drop-out was murdered or poisoned so McVries could take his place.
- Maybe someone made Scramm sick on purpose, so that Stebbins or Garraty could win it. With 2 billion bet on it, it's possible someone "tipped the game", "stacked the deck".
1966 = $15,468,518,518 in 2018
1979 = $ 6,903,305,785 in 2018
- Those betting on a long-shot like Garraty would win big and are therefore motivated to take out the odds-on favorites.
- They could bribe the soldiers to slip something into the food belts for a specific walker. Maybe that's how Scramm got sick. Maybe that's why Stebbins suddenly collapsed dead.
- Garraty almost died 13 times. He had the laughing fit, the muscle cramp, he wanted to walk off the road into the crowd to be with Jan, he didn't want to leave Jan,
he almost fainted several times, but McVries was to save him most of the time. Then McVries sat down, perhaps knowing the Stebbins would be taken out, so Garraty could sin.
It may not be coincidental that McVries and Garraty met in the parking lot. That may have been engineered.
- The Major wanted Stebbins to win so he trained Stebbins to be strong mentally, physically and conserve energy.
Stebbins is more of a tortoise than a rabbit.
"Hail Mary," McVries muttered. "Full of grace," Stebbins said from behind them. "Help me win this stock-car race."
Stebbins is like the pace-car, except he slows down the pack so they'll conserve energy.
Hint 6: Slow and easy does it.
Stebbins: "Go ahead and tell yourself it's a straight game."
How come I know so much about the Long Walk? I know all about the Long Walk! I ought to! The Major is my father, Garraty! He's my father!"
"Oh my God," McVries said. "Is it true?" He ran his tongue over his cracked lips.
"It's true," Stebbins said, almost genially, "I'm his bastard. You see ... I didn't think he knew. I didn't think he knew I was his son.
That was where I made my mistake. He's a randy old sonofabitch, is the Major. I understand he's got dozens of little bastards.
What I wanted was to spring it on him-spring it on the world. Surprise, surprise. And when I won, the Prize I was going to ask for was to be taken into my father's house."
"But he knew everything?" McVries whispered.
"He made me his rabbit. A little gray rabbit to make the rest of the dogs run faster ... and further. And I guess it worked. We're going to make it into Massachusetts."
Garraty: "You like to think the game is rigged. But maybe it's a straight game. That scare you, Stebbins?"
Stebbins: "Go ahead and tell yourself it's a straight game. Any game looks straight if everyone is being cheated at once."
- Perhaps those who wanted Garraty to win (the long shot for Vegas bets), bribed the soldiers or were able to spike his food belt with pain killer meds
Garraty had experienced an odd, light lifting of his entire being. His feet seemed to remember what they had once been. There was a kind of frozen cessation to the blinding pains in his back and neck.
- Eventually the meds wore off
He was falling off his own peak now; all the ugly, dragging pains were rushing back in.
Certain Feedbelts/Conteens contain Poisons and Stimulants
- Someone might have put something in certain walkers food and/or water, to either poison them, or provide pain-killers and stimulants to allow them to be super-human.
- There is over two billion bet on the long walk each year.
- The Major likes to mention the Gross National Product, in his speeches.
- Maybe the corporation that runs The Long Walk, takes very large and secret donations from wealthy people, to either limit or stimulate certain walkers.
- Maybe the Major used his power to poison or stimulate certain walkers.
"Said that over two billion dollars gets bet on the Long Walk every year. Two billion!"
"You and your friend McVries stand out in this motley crew, Garraty. I don't understand how either of you got here. I'm willing to bet it runs deeper than you think, though."
"Go ahead and tell yourself it's a straight game." Thin color had come into Stebbins's cheeks. "Any game looks straight if everyone is being cheated at once."
- Stebbins knew McVries shouldn't have been in the walk, and that there were hidden forces at work.
- McVries was a spy, planted to help an underdogs like Garraty and Olson win. He was bribed with some reward to his family, to sacrifice his life so a long-shot would win.
- Garraty almost dies 12 times and McVries saves him 5 times. Some of the prime walkers were probably bribed to backout so McVries could fill-in.
- That's why he was 12th and last to become a backup. They wanted him to come in naturally, but when he wasn't in, they made it happen at the last minute,
- just past 11 PM the day before.
- McVries encouraging Olson
"They're playing your song, Olson," McVries said between pants. "Pick up your feet. I want to see you dance up this hill like Fred Astaire." "What do you care?" Olson asked fiercely.
"Leave him alone," Baker said quietly. "Why should I? He's busy convincing himself he can crap out any time he feels like it.
That if he just lays down and dies, it won't be as bad as everyone makes out. Well, I'm not going to let him get away with it."
- McVries Saving Garraty
Maybe he was scared when Garraty got his charley horse, because he was there to protect the long-shot Garraty since so much money had been bet on this long-walk.
Maybe if he succeeded, his family would be taken care of financially, or maybe he requested revenge on his ex-gf Pris, who gave him the scar.
"Garraty?" It was McVries. He sounded scared ... surely that was only an illusion? "What is it? Charley horse?"
"I christen thee Raymond Davis Garraty" <- how did he know Garraty's middle name? Because he's a spy!
- Olson was given stimulants
- Something in the food, water and/or cigarettes he got from McVries, caused him to go into a zombie-state where he was able to push beyond exhaustion.
- The drug was some kind of mind control, that converted his fat and muscles to energy, and stimulated his adrenalin glands.
- This caption shows how the drug was converting his fat and muscle to energy, making him very thin. He had also lost his jacket due to his mindlessness.
"But Olson was still there, his flapping clothes revealing how amazingly fast the weight had melted off him. Olson had lost his jacket somewhere;
the arms that poked out of his short shirtsleeves were bony and as thin as pencils."
His form had seemed to elongate as the weight sloughed off him. His skin had gone scaly with dehydration. His eyes had sunk into hollowed sockets.
They were going up another hill now and he was panting again. Olson did not seem to be out of breath at all.
"Olson did not stop. He gained the top of the halftrack and grabbed the barrel of the gun that had just shot him. He levered it up into the air as it went off again."
"Olson grabbed the barrel of the closest and yanked it out of the hands that held it as if it had been an ice-cream stick."
"Olson sat up. He put his hands against his belly and stared calmly at the poised soldiers on the deck of the squat vehicle."
Abraham to Scramm: "Jesus, how do you keep going?" Abraham asked, and there was a kind of religious fear in his voice.
Scramm: "Me? Talk about me?" Scramm said. "Look at hib! How does he keep going? Thad's what I'd like to know!" And he cocked his thumb at Olson.
"Some of these guys will go on walking long after the laws of biochemistry and handicapping have gone by the boards."
Stebbins: "No, you're not getting exhausted yet, Garraty." He jerked a thumb at Olson's silhouette.
"That's exhausted" Stebbins tricked Garraty into talking to Olson, to wake him up to break the spell of the drugs briefly, so he would commit suicide.
"I don't. Want. To die," Olson finished. Olson knew he was under the control of this drug. "That baggy feeling I told you about. It isn't going away."
- His food belt was also spiked to start that transformation, or it was someone else trying to poison Olson. McVries lied about having that baggy feeling.
- He knew Olson was a smoker. Olson was his target to make win. A long-shot that would pay big in Vegas.
- The drug allowed Olson to ignore pain which is why he kept going after he was shot.
- The drugs turned his Olson's hair gray.
"Did you see Olson's ... did you see his hair? Before he bought it?"
"What about his hair?" Baker asked.
"It was going gray."
"No, that's crazy," McVries said, but he suddenly sounded very scared. "No, it was dust or something."
"It was gray," Garraty said.
- Maybe Mike was drugged too.
"Mike, of Mike and Joe, the leather boys, had been struck suddenly with gut cramps."
- Scramm was poisoned because bets can make more money on the longshots, or someone rich gave a donation to the corporation to take Scramm out of it.
"Vegas odds made me the favorite just before the Walk started," Scramm said. "Odds-on."
"Naw, it's the pollen. Happens every spring. Hay fever. I even get it in Arizona. But I never catch colds."
"I am getting a cold," he announced disgustedly.
- Stebbins was poisoned for the same reasons as Scramm
"Stebbins opened his mouth and with shocking abruptness he threw up the crackers and peanut butter he had eaten, almost whole and seemingly untouched by digestive juices."
"Stebbins's face had gone the color of old cheesecloth"
"Stebbins turned and looked at Garraty with huge, floating eyes that saw nothing for a moment. Then recognition came and he reached out and clawed at Garraty's shirt, pulling it open."
"Oh Garraty!" he cried, and fell down.
- Maybe Stebbins hung back so he didn't attract attention, because he knew boys get poisoned.
- Maybe some food belts or canteens were spiked with drugs that give cramps, which took Curly out, or causes seizures "a boy in a black turtleneck sweater suddenly had a convulsion.
"He fell on the road and began to snap and sunfish and jackknife viciously. His limbs jerked and flopped. There was a funny gargling noise in his throat, aaa-aaa-aaa, a sheeplike sound that was entirely mindless."
Pearson was poisoned "I don't feel good," Pearson said. His voice was flat. He dry-retched and walked doubled over for a moment. "Oh. Not so good. Oh God. I don't. Feel. So good. Oh."
- Barkovitch was poisoned. It explains why he suddenly went crazy and had the strength to tear out his own throat.
- It also explains why he threw his hands up in the air like startled doves. As McVries says "Because Barkovitch knows what he's doing."
- As Barkovitch says ...
"You have to pace yourself. You have to focus on yourself. You have to have a Plan."
- Barkovitch also understood the importance of taking a rest. Olson also threw his hands in the air, as well as the boy that Stebbins saw when he was young.
- All reacting to that same poison.
- Garraty was given stimulants
"A very short while ago-just after Stebbins had made his confession-Garraty had experienced an odd, light lifting of his entire being.
His feet seemed to remember what they had once been. There was a kind of frozen cessation to the blinding pains in his back and neck.
It was like climbing up a final sheer rock face and coming out on the peak-out of the shifting mist of clouds and into the cold sunshine and the bracing,
undernourished air ... with noplace to go but down, and that at flying speed."
- Durgs were wearing off
"He was falling off his own peak now; all the ugly, dragging pains were rushing back in."
- Other walkers were drugged into a zombie-like state
There were only nine Walkers left. Some of them looked at the belts dully, as if they had never seen such things, and let them slide out of their hands like slippery snakes.
Of the other ten, five seemed to have drawn into that special netherworld that Olson had discovered-one step beyond pain and the comprehension of what was coming to them.
They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead.
Olson whispered, "What's the matter with you?" but the boy seemed not to hear. They got that way, Garraty had noticed.
Complete withdrawal from everything and everyone around them. Everything but the road. They stared at the road with a kind of horrid fascination,
as if it were a tightrope they had to walk over an endless, bottomless chasm.
The Soldiers are ROBOTS
- Theory: Robots have taken over the world but nobody knows it
- Theory: Garraty never saw his father again because he was reprogrammed to be a robot
- The walkers discussing the ancestry of the soldiers on the halftrack seem to think it was fake
Yannick, 98, was discussing the ancestry of the soldiers on the halftrack in an overloud voice with Wyman, 97. Both agreed that it was mixed, colorful, hirsute, and bastardized.
"You rotten sonsabitches!" somebody screamed. "My Prize is gonna be your public castration!"
The soldiers did not seem exactly struck to the heart with terror at the thought. They continued to scan the Walkers with their blank eyes,
referring occasionally to their computerized console.
- There may be one human solider that controls the other robot soldiers
The one who had shot Percy was now sitting down and eating a sandwich.
- Fan theory: The Major and the soldiers are robots, or the soldiers are given a drug or operation to remove their emotions, which makes their reaction time slow,
- strength to be lowered and shooting accuracy to be bad. It also answers why the Major always wore reflective glasses. They are to hide his robot eyes.
- Robots fire in perfect unison
Four carbines fired.
Another volley of bullets drove him flat again.
then the rifles crashed in unison.
They fired in neat unison
The other two guns roared in unison
- Robots have Bad Aim
Someone else was shot down ... behind him, this time. The aim was bad, and the unlucky ticket-holder screamed hoarsely for what seemed a very long time before another bullet cut off the sound.
It was the sound of the guns that brought him out of it. In the crowd-hushed stillness the sound was shockingly loud and he could hear someone screaming.
Then there was a single sharp report, a pause, then a second.
The holed Walker made a high, gobbling sound, like a turkey grabbed suddenly by a silent-stepping farmer.
Two shots rang out suddenly. There was a cry, then a third shot.
The first gunshots rang out. There was a loud, yipping scream that was drowned by more gunshots. And at the brow of the hill they got one more.
- When they shot Fielder, he did not die instantly. He danced around.
Garraty could not even hear the gunshots when Fielder bought out; only the savage scream from the throat of Crowd.
Fielder's body did a gangling but strangely graceful rhumba in the center of the road, feet kicking, body twitching, shoulders jerking.
Then, apparently too tired to dance anymore, he sat down, legs spread wide, and he died that way, sitting up,
his chin tucked down on his chest like a tired little boy caught by the sandman at playtime.
One of the soldiers pinned Ewing's arms behind him while the other put his carbine up to Ewing's head and shot him. One leg kicked convulsively.
- Robots are Slow and Weak
The soldiers brought their guns around in perfect four-part harmony. Olson grabbed the barrel of the closest and yanked it out of the hands that held it as if it had been an ice-cream stick.
Olson did not stop. He gained the top of the halftrack and grabbed the barrel of the gun that had just shot him. He levered it up into the air as it went off again.
- Parker had disarmed a soldier and shot him with his own gun
One of the soldiers had fallen off and lay staring up at the sky with empty, expressionless eyes. There was a neat blue hole surrounded by a corona of
- Robots are Expressionless
One of the guards, an expressionless young man in a khaki uniform and a Sam Browne belt, asked to see the blue plastic ID card.
The Major's fingers dropped. "Luck to all," he said. His face was expressionless and the reflector sunglasses hid his eyes. <- theory, the Major is a robot, so they hide his eyes with sunglasses
All of them were looking straight ahead now, their faces carefully expressionless.
Garraty could feel the soldier's expressionless marble eyes sizing him up.
The soldier went away with no change of expression.
One of the soldiers had fallen off and lay staring up at the sky with empty, expressionless eyes.
"Warning," one of them said in a perfectly neutral voice. "Warning 61. Second warning."
Garraty thought of the blond soldier's face. It had shown as much emotion as a plate of potatoes.
- Robots have no Gender
A soldier speaking through a sexless bullhorn was giving them both first warning.
- Robots are Mute
He handed it to Garraty wordlessly, then trotted back.
- Robts are Wooden-faced
He was staring with an odd fixity at the wooden-faced soldiers atop the halftrack. They were staring back impassively.
The soldiers looked at Olson impassively.
The soldiers stared over Olson, through him, around him, wooden-faced, deaf and dumb.
The rest of them alternately cheered those who had managed to get some of it, or cursed the wooden-faced soldiers, whose expressions were now satisfyingly interpreted to hold subtle chagrin.
The wooden faces of their color guard did not change, but seemed all the same to indicate a subtle reproach.
Garraty looked up at the soldiers. They were wet, too, of course, but if they were uncomfortable, they didn't show it. Their faces were perfectly wooden.
- The soldier was shot in the head but there was no blood, no brains, no skull fragments.
One of the soldiers had fallen off and lay staring up at the sky with empty, expressionless eyes. There was a neat blue hole surrounded by a corona of powder burns in the center of his forehead.
"You rotten sonsabitches!" somebody screamed. "My Prize is gonna be your public castration!"
The soldiers did not seem exactly struck to the heart with terror at the thought.
The two soldiers that had dropped off it trudged along with the boys, their faces empty.
The blond stared back at him indifferently.
No mercy in that face.
For one horrified moment Garraty thought the soldier was going to shoot the kid as the dog had been shot, but the soldier merely swept the little boy indifferently back into the crowd.
They were both warned by the soldiers, who were now watching the developments carefully but emotionlessly-like men watching a couple of ants squabbling over a crumb of bread, Garraty thought bitterly.
Stebbins has ROBOT Legs
- Stebbins robot-legs made him the pace car. Unlike the rabbit at the dog-races, which made the dogs run faster, Stebbins set the pace, and made the walkers go slower.
- If Stebbins wasn't getting any warnings, they knew they could go as slow as Stebbins. Notice that the leaders in the vanguard all burned out.
- Most of the walkers that made it to day 5, hung back with Stebbins like Garraty, McVries, Baker, Pastor, Abraham. Stebbins computerized robot legs allowed him to walk
- at a steady pace barely above 4 mph.
Stebbins the lean Buddha. His feet carried him along automatically
p200 McVries looked down at his left foot. "Hurts. I can't wiggle the toes very much anymore.
- Garraty's toes went numb, then Stebbins made it clear that his toes were fine.
p242 Garraty's toes were numb.
p283 "I was counting my toes," Stebbins said companionably. "They are fabulously good company because they always add up the same way.
- Stebbins made it clear that his feet were fine by stretching up on his toes
Stebbins stretched up on his toes and grinned sleepily. "I feel like I could walk all the way to Florida, Garraty."
He looked no better or worse than he had the night before.
Stebbins was Stebbins. He went on and on, like Abraham's shoes.
Stebbins hadn't folded up. He showed no signs of folding up. He went on without complaint and hadn't been warned since the starting line.
- Is Stebbins a robot? Or maybe he's half-robot.
"I'm the rabbit," Stebbins repeated. "You've seen them, Garraty. The little gray mechanical rabbits that the greyhounds chase at the dog races.
No matter how fast the dogs run, they can never quite catch the rabbit. Because the rabbit isn't flesh and blood and they are.
The rabbit, he's just a cutout on a stick attached to a bunch of cogs and wheels.
"But he knew everything?" McVries whispered.
"He made me his rabbit.
Hint 3: Do not, repeat, do not wear sneakers. Nothing will give you blisters faster than sneakers on a Long Walk.
- Stebbins was wearing tennis shoes. Maybe Stebbins was fighting blisters right now.
- Barkovitch wanted plastic feet. Maybe Stebbins has plastic feet, so he can wear sneakers without getting blisters.
- He also wouldn't get cramps, stiffness, numbness, tired feet, bleed from cuts, etc.
"I was counting my toes," Stebbins said companionably. "They are fabulously good company because they always add up the same way.
Garraty said, and jerked his head toward Stebbins, who was still walking along at the same pace he had been walking at when they started out.
"Do you still think I'll win?"
"Does it always get this foggy up here in the spring?"
"What's that mean?"
"No, I don't think you'll win. It's Stebbins, Ray. Nothing can wear him down, he's like diamonds.
The word is Vegas likes him nine-to-one now that Scramm's out of it.
Christ, he looks almost the same now as when we started."