Stephen King: The Long Walk: Random Thoughts

Return to Stephen King home page
Return to The Long Walk home page

*** Below are my raw notes which have not been finalized yet ***

My Random Thoughts

- The characters McVries and Garraty were like the characters Chris Chambers and Gordie Lachance in Stephen Kings novella The Body.
  Both Garraty and Gordie are story tellers. Both McVries and Chris look out for their friend.

- I don't understand why Garraty wasn't thinking and talking about seeing his father again.

- After Parker was shot and he's dying, he's trying to say "You Bastards".
  At first I thought he was talking to the soldiers, but now I think he was talking to the walker,
  because he stared at them viciously as they passed.
  "You. Ba. Bas. Bast. Ba." He died, staring viciously at them as they passed by.

- Stebbins had a green sweater and purple pants like many super heroes.
  The Hulk is green with purple pants.
  https://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/zeraphyne/lists/purple-green/14614/

- Bad English. Should be "could"
  He wondered if he couldn't feel the first faint twinges of a charley horse in the arch of his left foot.

- Harkness doesn't understand that he's either going to die or never need to work again
  "No, I'm going to write a book," Harkness said pleasantly. "When this is all over, I'm going to write a book."
  Garraty grinned. "If you win you're going to write a book, you mean."
  Harkness shrugged. "Yes, I suppose. But look at this: a book about the Long Walk from an insider's point of view could make me a rich man."
  McVries burst out laughing. "If you win, you won't need a book to make you a rich man, will you?"
  Harkness frowned. "Well ... I suppose not. But it would still make one heck of an interesting book, I think."
- Baker and Garraty also talks about careers they wanted, but like Baker says, it no longer matters.
  "I don't think I'd still want to be a mortician," Baker said. "Not that it matters."
  "I always thought I'd get into urinal manufacture," Garraty said. "Get contracts with cinemas and bowling alleys and things. Sure-fire. How many urinal factories can there be in the country?"

- What does it mean "The spot behind Mike and Scramm was barren and empty."?
  A tremendous cheer went up from the Walkers, and Garraty felt weak tears beneath his eyelids. The crowd was silent. The spot behind Mike and Scramm was barren and empty. They took second warning, then sat down together, crosslegged, and began to talk together calmly.

- Olson probably dropped his food belt because he had it slung low
  Olson slung his belt low on his hips like a gunslinger
  Garraty looked back and saw Olson's food belt lying across the broken white passing line.

- Walkers trying to escape into the crowd might be shot, which may result in one or more spectators getting shot.
  He drifted over to the right until the clutching hands of Crowd were inches from him-one long and brawny arm actually twitched the cloth of his shirt, and he jumped back as if he had almost been drawn into a threshing machine-and the soldiers had their guns on him, ready to let fly if he tried to disappear into the surge of humanity.
  A moment later Mike and Scramm did an abrupt about-face and began to walk toward the crowd, which, sensing the sharp tang of fatality about them, shrieked, unclotted, and backed away from them as if they had the plague.

- Map should have time estimates for view-areas based on 4.5 mph average

- I'm surprised that The Long Walk seems anti-cigarette since smoking was popular when he wrote the book in 66/67

- if the man had sprayed the boys, he'd be assisting them with cooling off, which is against the rules
  They passed a sunny gas station where a mechanic in greasy coveralls was hosing off the tarmac.
  "Wish he'd spray us with some of that," Scramm said. "I'm as hot as a poker."

- Article in World's Week must have published all 200 names, because at the time of publication, you don't know who is a Prime Walker or Backup.
  The article lists Garraty's name, and at that point, he could be a backup or he could back-out.

- captions to go with pictures from Lay Black to indicate why
  - jeans
  - faded fatigue coat
  - purple pants
  - green sweater
  - blond hair
  - boy scout packsack
  - etc.

- Thought they were going to win
  - Harkness
  - Scramm
  - Stebbins
  - Olson
  - Barkovitch
  - Garraty at some point

- how far could you drop back if you stopped for 1.75 minutes every 3 hours?

- one boy had a transistor radio, another had a pocket thermometer, so they could learn new from the outside world, including how far they had traveled.

- Fake the envelope they get from Wilmington, scan in an actual envelope, and have Garraty's address, and the Wilmington DE address
- Acceptance letter

- Questionnaire: When you submit the form, it should say when the Major says.

- Alive, Alive-O
  "He talked to me, Pete. He wasn't dead until they shot him. He was alive." Now it seemed that was the most important thing about the Olson experience. He repeated it. "Alive."
   something about cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o.

- Fact check constellations
  The stars were coming brighter overhead, Venus glowing steadily, the Dipper in its accustomed place. He had always been good at the constellations. He pointed out Cassiopeia to Pearson, who only grunted.

- Taking a rest is a good idea
  Someone up ahead was given a third warning and Garraty thought, I don't have any! I could sit down for a minute or a minute and a half.
  "Listen, I'll catch up," Larson hastened to assure him. "I'm just resting. A guy can't walk all the time. Not all the time. Can he, fellas?"
The pavement fascinated him. How good and easy it would be to sit on that pavement. You'd start by squatting, and your stiff knee-joints would pop like toy air-pistols. Then you'd put bracing hands back on the cool, pebbled surface and snuggle your buttocks down, you'd feel the screaming pressure of your one hundred and sixty pounds leave your feet ... and then to lie down, just fall backward and lie there, spread-eagled, feeling your tired spine stretch ... looking up at the encircling trees and the majestic wheel of the stars

- packsack, knapsack, backpack

- this sounds weird. Teens don't talk this like this.
  How many you or I have outlasted doesn't matter, I think.

- words used to search for tickets
	guns
	shot
	dead
	died
	ticket
	rifle
	round
	holed
	bought
	gunshot
	mailsack

- Stebbins mind game, wanting to get Garraty to accept death. Psychological warfare.
  The most important lesson you'll ever learn, maybe. The secret of life over death. Reduce that equation and you can afford to die, Garraty. You can spend your life like a drunkard on a spree.

- The concentrates are good because they maximize protein, calories, fat, etc., with little bulk, so they minimize bowl movements

- They joked about feet early on, but not later.
  p85 "It's your mind," McVries said, "using the old escape hatch. Don't you wish your feet could?"
  p278 Walkers joking about beards but not about feet ... never about feet.

- Spectator's Guide, #45, Garraty is asking him his name, and he doesn't answer. I made it so that he doesn't speak English. That's why he didn't answer.
  45 Gadaffi, Amanuel (Aman) - age 18 from Kentucky (no English)
"What's your name?" he asked the boy, but there was no answer. And he found himself suddenly spitting the question at the boy over and over, like an idiot litany that would save him from whatever fate was coming for him out of the darkness like a black express freight. "What's your name, huh? What's your name, what's your name, what's-"
"Ray." McVries was tugging at his sleeve.
"He won't tell me, Pete, make him tell me, make him say his name-"
"Don't bother him," McVries said. "He's dying, don't bother him."
The boy with 45 on his trenchcoat fell over again, this time on his face. When he got up, there were scratches on his forehead, slowly welling blood. He was behind Garraty's group now, but they heard it when he got his final warning.

- 93 Tubbins (number not mentioned, but can be assumed since Tubbins falls between Tressler #92 and Wayne #94)
  We meet 93 on p42
  Number 93-Garraty didn't know his name-walked past him on Garraty's right. He was staring down at his feet and his lips moved soundlessly as he counted his paces. He was weaving slightly.
"Hi," Garraty said.
93 cringed. There was a blankness in his eyes, the same blankness that had been in Curley's eyes while he was losing his fight with the charley horse. He's tired, Garraty thought. He knows it, and he's scared.
  p349 Tubbins had gone insane.

- Connection: You could say that McVries is mentioning Cathy and the pit is the baby, but he says it before he learns that Scramm's wife is pregnant.
  p81  McVries said. "Author of A Peach Is Not a Peach without a Pit
  p150 "Sometimes we'll be watching TV and Cath will grab me and say, ‘We're happy people, honey.' She's a peach."
  p151 "Well, Cathy's pregnant right now.
  p152 "I ain't looked at anyone else since I married her. Cathy's a peach."

- Old Town is a phone hick New York, but Augusta is a party-down town.

- I think it would have been more interesting if the boys had gotten a 20-30 minute rest at the bridge that was out.
  Then when it came to walk, some of their muscles had stiffened, and they got tickets from resting too long.
  Maybe they just didn't wake up.

- If injuring another walker only gets a single penalty-warning, you could come up behind someone and injure them in a way that would make it difficult for them
  to walk 4 mph. You could walk off this penalty-warning in an hour, and they'd be crippled and fall back, get their warnings and ticket.
  It would back-fire if others would get revenge and do this to you.

- Someone with long legs has an advantage

- is quackfuzz a thing?

- Groans and moans. <- same thing?
  groan - a prolonged, low, inarticulate sound uttered from or as if from physical or mental suffering.
  moan - a low, mournful sound uttered in pain or grief

- Weird that the characters reference old stuff
  - Art Baker's favorite books is The Women in White written in 1859
  - Collie Parker was referencing Mother Machree, a 1928 silent film

- The book has the word "audible" in it six times.

- Unfair to give out the same amount of food to each person. A person like Scramm would require more food that a lean person like Stebbins.
  McVries: They say the heavier guys get tired quicker
- If I had written this book, the soldiers would count down verbally, the last 10 seconds, so you can make better decisions.
  Curley might have gotten up in time, had he known. But time moves at a different speed when you're under stress, so it's hard to judge when they'll fire.
- If he's not aware of the pain and stiffness, then how can it be there?  There is another mention of pain that he's not aware of.
  He was not even aware of the steady dull pain in his feet and the frozen stiffness of the hamstring muscles behind his knees.

- It's possible they get a penalty-warning for stopping. It's not really clear.

- Why is everyone so supportive on the first back-out date, then flip as the final backout date approaches?
	Jan: the Long Walk is nothing but murder
	Mom: "I love you, but this way is best, one way or the other." "It's not," she said

- Why were they trying to stop the fight between Rank and Barkovitch?  It's in their interest if others are fighting. Idiots!
  Cries of "Break it up!" and "Cut the shit!" filled the air
- It would have been funny if the boys sang the Bottles of Beer song, every time someone got a ticket, as a way of keeping track

- Frustrating exchanges that don't go anywhere
"Why do you hate him so much? Why not Collie Parker? Or Olson? Or all of us?"
"Because Barkovitch knows what he's doing."
"He plays to win, do you mean?"
"You don't know what I mean, Ray."
"I wonder if you do yourself," Garraty said. "Sure he's a bastard. Maybe it takes a bastard to win."
"Good guys finish last?"
"How the hell should I know?"

"He wanted us all up there with him, Garraty. And I think we could have done it."
"What are you talking about?" Garraty asked, suddenly terrified.
"You don't know?" McVries asked. "You don't know?"
"Up there with him? ... What? ..."
"Forget it. Just forget it."

- Price and the Money. I'm surprised there aren't more conversation about what people want for the Prize and what they'll do with the money.
- What did Baker mean by "are we in?"
Baker was beside him again. "Garraty?"
"What?"
"Are we in?"
"Huh?"
"In, are we in? Garraty, please."
Baker 's eyes pleaded. He was an abattoir, a raw-blood machine.
"Yeah. We're in. We're in, Art." He had no idea what Baker was talking about.
"I'm going to die now, Garraty."
"All right."
- Rather than give them numbers from 1 to 100 in alphabetical order, just give them the number they were out of the drum from 1 to 200.
  Garraty was 73rd out of the drum, so he'd be 73.
  Abraham was 16th out of the drum, so he'd be 16.
- What kind of clothes are "stained white"?
  a little man wearing stained white, had set up a soft drink cooler
- Fenter had a St. Christopher's medal.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Christopher
  St. Christopher offered protection to travelers and against sudden death. King is perhaps criticizing religion.
- ID NUMBER 49-801-89 <- mean anything?
- McVries flips out when he quits his job, and his girlfriend won't go back home with him. It's only a summer job. She'd be back once the summer ended.
  McVries had a fragile ego and couldn't let things go. He was clingy, and needed her, and couldn't bear to be seperated from her for a few months.
- Why do they think Barkovitch killed Rank?  He didn't break any rules. They should be happy that he got rid of the competition. If they were smart, they'd all be pulling this psychological warfaire on each other.
  All Barkovitch did was verbally prod the guy. That is within the rules.
  Barkovitch had once killed a faceless number named Rank.
- I thought the parents can't stop the kids from going on the long walk. Why would McVries say the parents should be squaded if they don't have a choice?
  "I walked up and took a good look at 'em," Baker was going on. "And I'll be goddamned if they don't look like brothers."
"That's twisted," McVries said angrily. "That's fucking twisted! Their folks ought to be Squaded for allowing something like that!"
- I don't understand the part about Baker not saying anything. Art Baker is probably from Louisiana, so he might have responded to the smell of the honeysuckle.
  "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."
McVries looked straight ahead. "I think ... I wish I were insane," he said thoughtfully.
  Only Baker said nothing. And that was odd, because Garraty suddenly got a whiff of Louisiana honeysuckle.
- They keep asking Garraty how far to this or that city. You'd think they would each have a map and could track it themselves.
- What does it mean "not bothering as a rule"?
  so Garraty wandered off by himself to the far side of the road, waving now and then to someone, but not bothering as a rule.
- Theory: The Major has dozens of bastards, and the Major prepares them all, because he wants his sons to win.
  Perhaps all the boys born to women that the Major has impregnated are put up for adoption, and adopted by soldiers in the squads, so they can be trained for the long walk.
  Maybe the Major has a son or two in each Long Walk as a source of his own pride.
- TODO: Calculate how far they would travel at different speeds. 4 mph, 4.5 mph, 5 mph, 5.5 mph, 6 mph in 30, 60, 90, 120 seconds, 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes, etc. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days.
  Calculate average speed along the route. You know the mileage and time, can calc average mph. Use average mph for walks is typically ... for spectators guide.
- Route: Plan all the way through Boston, Virginia and Florida. New Orleans was mentioned. Search on "walk all the way"  If the walk reached the end, they would turn around and walk back.
- McVries had shown red
  What does "shown red" mean?
- The New Hampshire Provo Governor seems to be modeled on Joachim Roenneberg, who blew up a plant producing heavy water in 1943, a hydrogen-rich substance that was key to the later development of atomic bombs.
  This was followed by the face of the New Hampshire Provo Governor, a man known for having stormed the German nuclear base in Santiago nearly single-handed back in 1953. He had lost a leg to radiation poisoning.
- I seriously doubt getting hit in the head with a baseball would leave an imprint of the threads for a week
  The threads on the ball left an imprint dead square on his forehead for a week, like a brand.
- I wonder if Stebbins participated in the 40 man raspberry
- Audible - no Maine accent!
- I'm surprised Stephen King didn't go off and describe people's fantasy's if they win. These are teens with dreams. If it were me, my head would be filled with ideas.
  Maybe it's one of the ways they shortened the novel before publishing. It's obvious they cut some sections out, since there are references to things they didn't happen
  for example "The hiatus Parker had so accurately predicted was almost over."  He never predicted a hiatus.
- Larson didn't seem to understand the rules when he got his second warning and said "Listen, I'll catch up," Larson hastened to assure him. "I'm just resting. A guy can't walk all the time. Not all the time. Can he, fellas?"
  That's the point!  Nobody can walk all the time. Taking regular rests and stretching seems like a good idea, unless you get to the point where your muscles freeze if you stop.
- McLaren's Dodge - perhaps real at the time of writing or publishing?
- I don't know what Baker means by "Want a party favor?"
  "I'll hit you if you don't shut up!" Abraham bellowed.
  "Don't," Garraty said, frightened. "Please don't fight. Let's ... be nice."
  "Want a party favor?" Baker asked crazily.
- Google: distance lens perspective -photography -television -video -camera -contact -focus -focal -vision
  Cannot find any mention of "distance lens perspective" for references.
- Gallant was #63. Maybe inspired by Goofus and Gallant from Highlights for Children
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goofus_and_Gallant

- p326 "It's getting harder to work me up,"

p335 Stebbins gets Garraty worked up
"It's really your mother you want to see anyway."
Garraty recoiled sharply. "What?"
"Aren't you going to marry her when you grow up, Garraty? That's what most little boys want."
"You're crazy!"
"Am I?"
"Yes!"

- This is where I came in, Garraty thought, walking around the twitching, mumbling form on the road where the rifles sight in, seeing the jewels of sweat in the exhausted and soon-to-be-dead boy's hair.
  - sight in?
- "Go! Great! Go! Go! Oh, great!" - no reference
- "I'd also like to remind you that the longest distance a full complement of Walkers has ever covered is seven and three-quarters miles."
  They'd have to measure from the location of the last walker when the first walker got his ticket.
- Stebbins only talks to Garraty, until the very end when he talks to McVries
- Stebbins swung one thin arm to indicate the other Walkers and laughed, but Garraty thought he sounded sad-"they're never even going to leave any bastards." He winked at Garrity. "Shock you?"
  Scramm is having a bastard
- You'd think more of the boys would smoke since they come from poor families.
- What is sunfish?
  He fell on the road and began to snap and sunfish and jackknife viciously.
- In the words of the great rock and roll poet, I gave her my heart, she tore it apart, and who gives a fart."
  cannot find this reference!
- Road trip May 1: check if can see constellations mentioned
- OK-OK-OK means they passed all 3 tests. The most obvious thing to see if they failed would be NO for example OK-OK-NO or maybe XX, OK-OK-XX
- "I brought along ninety-nine pennies. Every time someone buys a ticket, I put one of 'em in the other pocket.
  I'd think that would have made a lot of noise jingling and annoying other walkers.
- Imagine if they tempted the walkers with rest, food, sex, etc., but they'd get a ticket 1 hour after stopping. 1 hour of bliss, then death.
- Collie Parker was waving and smiling, and it was not until Garraty closed up with him a little that he could hear him calling in his flat Midwestern accent: "Glad to seeya, ya goddam bunch of fools!" A grin and a wave. "Howaya, Mother Mc-Cree, you goddam bag. Your face and my ass, what a match. Howaya, howaya?"
  - I don't get the reference of Mother Mc-Cree
- Your goal in The Long Walk is no make it as short as possible to reduce overall suffering. Helping other just lengthens the suffering.
  Baker: "we're all in this together and we might as well keep each other amused."
  McVries smiled. "Why not?"
  Because by improving the mood of those around you, you improve their chance of survival and extend the long walk, extending the suffering.
- "I wonder why he's here, why he doesn't say anything.
  Foreshadow that Stebbins has a secret reason for being here.
- "Said that over two billion dollars gets bet on the Long Walk every year. Two billion!"
  1966 = $15,468,518,518 in 2018
  1979 = $ 6,903,305,785 in 2018
- No matter how fast the dogs run, they can never quite catch the rabbit.
  Sometimes the greyhounds do catch the mechanical lure. YouTube: greyhound catch mechanical rabbit/lure
- It's ironic that Abraham got everyone to promise not to help each other. Then he got hives from his synthetic shirt and had to remove it, then suffered during the cold night
  which lead to his ticket.
- Wonder if a walker ever escaped. They might wait until later to have the big crowds. It's harder to mix with the public once you look like you've walked in your clothes for 3 days.
  They probably offer a reward so the crowd is motivated to prevent a walker from escaping.
- Garraty to Barkovitch: "We'll all spit in your brains," Garraty said crazily. "Do you want to touch me too?"
  What is Garraty talking about?
- "What was the first thing you did when you got your letter of confirmation?" McVries asked softly. "What did you do when you knew you were really in?"
  Not sure what McVries meant by "really in", because at this point they are only one of like 40,000 in the lottery so there chances of being in the Long Walk are one in 40,000.
- "the leather boys, Mike and Joe, were pacing the group"
  In reality, Stebbins was pacing the group to go more slowly and conserve energy.
- When Garraty fell back to talk to Stebbins, while he had 3 warnings, Stebbins could have subtly slowed down so that Garraty bought his ticket before he himself got a warning
- Tradition to blow off the head of the first ticket with 4 soldiers?
  Tradition to gut-shot walker who attacks a soldier?
- Misleading: get the feeling TV coverage starts right away
  Back in the parking lot, engines started and a number of cars began pulling out-boys from the backup list who would now go home and watch the Long Walk coverage on TV.
- How do they track 100 boys with radar/sonar? I suspect that the stick-on patch they give them has a tracking device which also identifies them, like RFID, Blue-Tooth or some type of transponder.
- Maybe only the local backups showup May 1. That's why McVries wasn't on a plane to be a backup.
- Parents cannot say no.
  Garraty's mom didn't want him to go. She did start to say "Ray, it's not, if your father was here, he'd put a stop to-"
  Percy's mom didn't want him to go.
  "My dad has a half-ownership in a drive-in movie theater," McVries said. "He was going to tie me and gag me down in the cellar under the snack concession to keep me from coming, Squads or no Squads.
  two of the biggest, meanest-looking soldiers you ever saw were standing on the porch.
  My dad took one look at them and said, "Petie, you better go upstairs and get your Boy Scout pack."
- Stebbins the rabbit. Maybe his slow pace got them to slow-down and observe Hint 13: Conserve energy whenever possible, and therefore go longer
  "Hail Mary," McVries muttered.
  "Full of grace," Stebbins said from behind them. He had moved up, moved up for the kill, and he was grinning like the Cheshire cat in Garraty's dream. "Help me win this stock-car race."
  Funny he should mention stock-car races, because Stebbins is like the pace-car.
  He may have slowed the pack so they conserved energy and went a further distance, and have gone further than any other walk.
  It's a source of pride for the Major. The Major wanted the full-compliment to go further than 7.75 miles and they went 8.9 miles.
  Stebbins may have been hand-picked to be the pace-car. He had a sound strategy, was mentally and physically fit.
  Rather than the rabbit, he's more like the tortoise. Slow and steady wins the race.
  It's possible his father trained him to win the long walk.
- The only time the soldiers showed any emotion
  "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."
- I'm surprised nobody has to stop and tie their shoe laces
- "No help for anybody. Do it on your own or don't do it."
  I guess what he means by "don't do it" is "die".
- I have no idea what Art Baker is talking about.
  Baker was beside him again. "Garraty?"
  "What?"
  "Are we in?"
  "Huh?"
  "In, are we in? Garraty, please."
  Baker's eyes pleaded. He was an abattoir, a raw-blood machine.
  "Yeah. We're in. We're in, Art." He had no idea what Baker was talking about.
  "I'm going to die now, Garraty."
  "All right."
- What if you anonymously slipped into The Long Walk. Would that be possible?  Once you got in, could you get out?
- "We're a quarter of the way home, Pete."
  He means that they are 1/4 the distance of the average long walk.
- Larson doesn't know the cues after the third warning
  And at the end, Larson did realize, apparently. Reality came crashing back in. "Hey!" Larson said behind them. His voice was high and alarmed. "Hey, just a second, don't do that, I'll get up. Hey, don't! D-"
  The shot.
- Why did Gribble freak-out, calling the Major a murder?  He knows what it's about!
	"Where's the Major?" someone screamed. The voice was on the raw edge of panic. It belonged to a bulletheaded boy named Gribble number 48. "I want to see the Major, goddammit! Where is he?"
	The soldiers walking along the verge of the road did not answer. No one answered.
	"Is he making another speech?" Gribble stormed. "Is that what he's doing? Well, he's a murderer! That's what he is, a murderer! I ... I'll tell him! You think I won't? I'll tell him to his face! I'll tell him right to his face!" In his excitement he had fallen below the pace, almost stopping, and the soldiers became interested for the first time.
	"Warning! Warning 48!"
- kidney's contract - what does that mean?
- p8 "That composition surface will be hot by noon," McVries said abruptly. "I'm going to stick to the shoulder."
  - It would be too hot to walk on with shoes!
  p124 Then you'd put bracing hands back on the cool, pebbled surface
  p321 He had lost his shoes.
  p327 The road was now expansion-jointed concrete, hard on the feet.
  p337 The pavement was cold against his feet.
  p353 feet were now bare, cold, and scraping raw
  p381 The pavement was hard and shockingly cold
  How convenient!  Perhaps light-colored expansion-jointed concrete stays cool compared to the black composition surface.
  Walker's without shoes, like Garraty, should have burned their feet on the hot black top during the day
- Confirm your Sex - was that a thing?
- Theory: They want to pick the uneducated, the poor, the boys that are probably not going to contribute to society.
  - Test question: have you ever used snuff?  If you answered Yes, it would improve your chances of getting in.
    Abraham's Essay said he was a useless S.O.B. and the world would be better without him.
	Art Baker, McVries, Garraty, Scramm were all poor.
- Stebbins was the smartest one conserving energy walking at minimal speed
  Stebbins. He hadn't thought about Stebbins in a long time. He turned his head to look for Stebbins. Stebbins was there. The pack had strung out coming down the long hill, and Stebbins was about a quarter of a mile back, but there was no mistaking those purple pants and that chambray workshirt. Stebbins was still tailing the pack like some thin vulture, just waiting for them to fall-
- "We're a quarter of the way home, Pete."  I think he's talking about Freeport. We don't know where McVries is from.
- Actors to play in the movie. Find web page to find the right actor.
- Start is 10 rows of 10. Stebbins row 10, Art/McVries/Garraty row 3.
- Audible says "The Long Walk by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman read by Kirby Heyborne"
  It was published as Richard Bachman, but written before the pseudonym Richard Bachman was created.
- "The hiatus Parker had so accurately predicted was almost over."  Parker never predicted a hiatus in the book.
- Imagine if a walker got his ticket right before the 400-gun salute, and they shot him with 400 guns simultaneously
- One big crowd from Oldtown and TV coverage from Augusta
- Most upsetting deaths
  - boy who got his legs run over
  - boys who fainted
  - boy who had a seizure
- If I did this, I'd pair up with someone. Stop every 4 hours and one person would give the other person a massage, taking turns.
  You need a rest, a stretch and a massage where you ever you need it!  Feet, legs, back, shoulders, etc.
  Barkovitch had the right idea!
- Porterville Maine, where Garraty is from, is fictional and also mentioned in the short-story Dediction from Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
- Collie Parker "Friday night," Collie yelled loudly. "Keep it in mind. You and me, Friday night."
  If Parker knows the walk typically lasts 5 days, then May 1 would be a Monday. Years since 1966 where May 1 is a Monday: 1967, 1972, 1978 1989, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2017, 2023, 2028
- Early in the novel, things like time and miles were spelled out, and later the numbers were used. The writing style changed.
- I'm guessing they have to 13 to 18 on May 10th to apply, otherwise they could be 18 would they apply and have their birthday before May 1 and be 19 on the long walk
- If this was a sport where you're just eliminated, then it would be easier to have points you'd have to reach before a certain time, or get eliminated.
- What would happen if two or more of the last walkers had their timer hit zero at the same time?
  Perhaps the software would rank them based on their previous lowest timer setting.
- If the boys teamed up and attacked the soldiers while they were strong and outnumbered the soldiers, they could kill the soldiers and the Major.
- Why are they shocked by Stebbins description of the finish of the long walk?  It televised every year. They should know.
- April 31 Last Back-out date - McVries got the call.
  Assuming you can backout until 11:59 PM your time-zone, they would call the 800 number, back-out, then a back-up would get the call.
  If a boy backed-out in South Texas or South California, they would have to scramble fast to fly the backup boy to Maine by 8:00 AM.
  "No. Twelve of the original Walkers used the April 31st backout. I was number twelve, backup. I got the call just past 11 PM four days ago."
- Did Garraty and his mom need to leave their home at 2 am to make it to the Maine/Canada border by 8:00 AM
  "they set out in the dark of two in the morning"
- Does Rt 1 go all the way to Florida?  New Orleans?  Virginia?
- They walked the first mile in 13 minutes. How fast were they walking?
- "The Major is my father, Garraty! He's my father!"
  Coincidentally, the Long Walk was published 1979, and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back came out 1980.
  Darth Vader: Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.
- Animals used in analogy: pigs, dogs, moose, rabbit
- There must be a rule that you can't kill another walker. If you could kill a walker, and just get a couple of warnings,
  they'd be killing each other. The book didn't mention that they were added down for weapons. A gun, knife, poison blow dart, etc.
  I would think, if you killed a walker, then you're killed immediately, for example if you choked a walker to death.
- The camera was purposely placed behind Jan to take advantage of the reaction of the reunion "The TV camera tracked him enthusiastically."
- how far south does Route 1 go?
- It's hard to believe that Scramm would be most likely to win because of his size
  "They say the heavier guys get tired quicker"
- Once Scramm knew the other boys promised to take care of his wife and kids, he knew that he could go out strong and defiantly and not wait until he was weak
- Don't judge a book by its title. I passed up The Long Walk based on its title. Sounded boring. Had I read the synopsis, I would have read it.
- I would think there would be incidents of walkers stopping to tie their shoes
- How did Garraty know how far they have traveled?
- It would be a lot simpler if there was a pace car. You wouldn't need sophisticated computer equipment to track the speeds.
  The pack might stay closer together. One difference would be that you could walk 10 minutes ahead, then take a 10 minute break.
- If this was the current day
  GPS would track each walker and their speed with some implant that would be difficult to remove
  The boys would have smart phones rather than the one buy having a transistor radio
  The killing of the boys would be automated by their timer with something a poison capsule implanted that would release when the timer reached 0
  Each boy would have a watch telling them how many seconds are on their timer, and how many minutes:seconds to get 30 seconds added to their timer
  - If this was real
  - boys would have pain pills
  - they could get cortisone injections in their knees, ankles and backs to block the pain
  - they would sit down, stretch, massage their muscles every 4 hours, once they worked off their warnings.
    The problem with Garraty, is by the time he thought of resting, it was too late. His legs would have stiffened if he sat down.
	He needed to be taking these rests all along the long walk.
-----------------
Someone up ahead was given a third warning and Garraty thought, I don't have any! I could sit down for a minute or a minute and a half. I could-
But he'd never get up.
Yes I would, he answered himself. Sure I would. I'd just-
Just die.
-----------------
  - each boy would have his own chronometer which would buzz as often as they'd like. They could set it to buzz every 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. seconds
- The Long Walk was the first book Stephen King wrote, in 1966, when he was 19, and finished in 1967, while he was a freshman at the University of Maine. It was the 7th book he published. King came up with the pseudonym, Richard Bachman, about 1977, so actually he wrote the book as Stephen King but published it as Richard Bachman in 1979.
- Where does the route end?
  "If I have to walk to Virginia,"
  Florida?
  New Orleans?
- Spectators are not allowed on the road, but walkers can go over and have physical contact with the spectators.
  Garraty took advantage and went over and kissed the girl. At this point, there were no walls since the spectators were limited to locals.
  In Freeport, there were big crowds, so they had walls. Although Garraty's mom and girlfriend had a pass, they still had trouble getting to the wall.
  But Garraty was able to hold his girlfriend and mother's hands at the same time.
- There are no more millionaires, so if you won the long walk, you couldn't ask for millions
  "Not so much the Prize itself as the money. All that money."
  Is the Price separate from the money?
- It doesn't matter if you're walking at 3.9999 miles per hour, standing, walking or running the wrong direction,
  your timer will count backwards at the same speed. So if you want to visit someone behind you, then turn around walk in the opposite direction
  to shorten the time that your timer counts down. I don't know why the boys simply slowed down to let others catch up with them.
- Good strategy - As soon as you remove a warning (get 30 seconds added to your timer), sit down and stretch for 30 seconds.
  I'd take a 30 second break every hour and 5 minutes.
- Pictures for blog of things
  - half track
  - carbine
  - loudhailer
  - chronometer
  - moccasins
  - PF Flyers
- Harkness was an idiot. The names and numbers of everyone in the Long Walk is public record.
- I'm surprised that in all the history of the long walk, a full compliment of walkers only made 7 3/4 miles.
- Hunger Games and Battle Royale
- Perhaps inspired by the Bataan Death March
  Survival of the fittest
- The road is mentioned twice as "composition surface". Maybe that was a think you said in the 60's or 70's.
- I wonder what happens to walkers that don't show up on May 1
  "They'd understand, I know they would. The Major-"
  "The Major would-" Garraty began, and saw his mother wince. "You know what the Major would do, Mom."
  The least that would happen is that you'd get squaded. The worst thing is that you'd get shot on the spot.
  I'd like to think the Major would shoot him on the spot.
- Stebbins and 0 warnings and Garraty had 1 warning, when Stebbins collapsed. Had Garraty stayed with Stebbins, Garraty would have bought his ticket before Stebbins,
  even though Stebbins is dead. Stebbins would win the Long Walk, even though he was dead.
  "The Major stood in the jeep. He held a stiff salute. Ready to grant first wish, every wish, any wish, death wish. The Prize.
  Behind him, they finished by shooting the already-dead Stebbins"
  The major was ready to grant the wish before Stebbins was killed. He jumped the gun.
- Coincidence with the comic/TV show, The Walking Dead where the zombies are called walkers.
  "He's been walking dead all day."
  They walked through the rainy dark like gaunt ghosts, and Garraty didn't like to look at them. They were the walking dead.
  "I'm pleased to announce that you have finished the first mile of your journey, boys. I'd also like to remind you that the longest distance a full complement of Walkers has ever covered is seven and three-quarters miles. I'm hoping you'll better that."
  The Walkers were tired and hollow-eyed and barely conscious of the cheering and the waving signs and the constant hoorah as people cheered on their favorites and those on whom they had wagered.
  When the Walkers passed through Freeport that year, they had been on the road over seventy-two hours.
- Not futuristic: Garaty's watch has hands. 1972, a digital watch cost over $2000.
- Book was written during the draft of the Vietnam war which was the motivation for the concept of getting squaded
  Also, the boys will have PTSD, so they will never be the same, just like Vietnam vets.
- Why was Stebbins leading at the end?  He always trailed behind.
- The problem with reviewing The Long Walk, a year after you read it, will cause you to misremember.
  Every time we remember something, we alter that memory, so over time they added things and changed things, usually simplifying the facts.
- I feel like the warnings are computerized. "Warning! Warning 47! Second Warning 47."
- "At the end of the week I'd go home with a check for $64.40 and put some Cornhusker's Lotion on my blisters. She was making something like ninety a week,"
  How much is that adjusted for inflation from 1967?
- One scary thing is if you get 3 warnings, you might dip under 4 mph without knowing it, and before you knew it, you'd get your ticket, without a warning.
- The most extreme thing is one a walker would pass-out, they'd get their warnings, then be shot while they are still unconscious.
  It's also disturbing that you can just lose the will to live like McVries: "when I get tired enough ... I think I'll just sit down." and he did it.
- Evidence that you get ticket after 2 minutes: Yard post, year before last, kid froze at 9 am, got his ticket 9:02 am.
  "Up ahead Toland fainted and was shot after the soldier left beside him had warned his unconscious body three times."
- Other warnings, example fighting, 30 seconds added to timer which triggers a warning
- 4 mph in the right direction. Cannot walk opposite direction
- 4th time you fell below 4 mph, you were out of the walk
- Exhausted walkers will be unable to walk 4+ mph for a full hour, which means they will slowly add to their timer until it reaches 2 minutes
- I think a pace-car would have made more sense. The pace-car would start a mile back, moving at 4 mph. If the pace-car passed you, you'd be shot.
  This way, you could run ahead and rest. With the novels rules, running ahead does not gain you any advantage.
- Timer scenario: Walker has 1 warning and 15 seconds, so 45 seconds on your timer.
  You walk an hour at 4+ mph, so you lose 30 seconds on your timer, which leaves walker with 15 seconds.
  The warnings are not important. What's important is how far you are from the two-minute (120 second) death.
  The warnings are a courtesy to remind you that you're falling behind. No warning at 120 seconds.
- Timer: You might get the idea that walkers would get warnings immediately after slowing under 4 mph every time, but it's not true.
  In those cases, what is actually happening is that those walkers already had seconds on their timer,
  so they were close to a warning when they slowed.
- They "sqad" you for backing out of the long walk, or talking against it. You're forced to serve in this military.
  It might be entirely possible, that all the soldiers doing the killing on the long walk, are walkers who backed out.
- When several walkers ran back moving at more than 4 mph, to get the watermelon slices, they were all given warnings.
  It wasn't just a warning for traveling in the wrong direction.
  What I think happened is that their forward motion slowed under 4 mph. In fact, their speed was, was negative.
  So their timers incremented, and they reached either the 30, 60 or 90 second warning points.
  "Several of the Walkers, Abraham and Collie Parker among them, broke for the shoulder at a dogtrot. All were warned. They were doing better than four an hour, but they were doing it in the wrong direction."
  If you were a walker and wanted to walk with someone behind you, you would have to drop under 4 mph, so they can catch up with you.
  Since it doesn't matter how slow you go, you might as well stop and change direction and walk in the wrong direction, so you can
  get back up to speed in the right direction in the shortest time.
  The device they wear does not measure the speed. It measures their speed in the right direction. If they were to
  walk toward the shoulder, they would not be going the right direction. If they were walking 4 mph, at a 45-degree to the correct direction, then
  the device would register 2.8284 mph (trigonometry), and they would get seconds added to their timer.
  If they wanted to maintain 4 mph forward, while walking at 45-degree angle toward the shoulder, they'd have to walk at 5.7 mph.
- Evidence that you can slowly accumulate seconds on your timer long after you get a warning.
  "The guns came down and bore on one of the loners he had been looking at, a short, stoutish boy who was wearing a battered green silk vest. It seemed to Garraty that he had collected his final warning about half an hour ago. He threw a short, terrified glance at the guns and stepped up his pace. The guns lost their dreadful interest in him, at least for the time being."
  He was probably within seconds of reaching the 120 second mark. Until he can walk 4 mph for 1 hour, his seconds earned will remain.
- Pearson says "There ought to be a runner-up Prize"
  If that were the case, when you got the last 3, it would become a race, so when the 3rd to last guy dies, the winner might be whoever is in the lead.
- Garraty says "Maybe it takes a bastard to win. Good guys finish last?"
  But Garraty was a good-guy and he won. He came close to dying 6 times. McVries saved his life 5 times!
  1. SAVE #1: Walking up the hill, Garraty almost fainted. Another boy had fainted and bought his ticket. McVries told him to pour his canteen over his head. That worked.
  2. leg cramp (2 seconds short of dying, lucky the leg cramp let up)
  3. SAVE #2: walking with McVries after the leg cramp, he had to maintain 4+ mph for 1 hour, but was having trouble. McVries saved him by distracting him and taking his mind off the pain.
  4. SAVE #3: laughing fit "they're so funny!" (McVries tries lifts him to his feet, but can't lug him, so slaps him on the cheeks, then walks away) He almost fainted and he was on third warning, so he came within 10 seconds of dying
  5. SAVE #4: When Olson got shot
	Garraty began to cry. He ran over to Olson and fell on his knees beside him and held the tired, hectically hot face against his chest. He sobbed into the dry, bad-smelling hair.
	"Warning! Warning 47!"
	"Warning! Warning 61!"
	McVries was pulling at him. It was McVries again. "Get up, Ray, get up, you can't help him, for God's sake get up!"
	"Its not fair!" Garraty wept. There was a sticky smear of Olson's blood on his cheekbone. "It's just not fair!"
	"I know. Come on. Come on."
	Garraty stood up. He and McVries began walking backward rapidly, watching Olson, who was on his knees.
  6. Stebbins makes him so mad, he almost "faint with rage"
  7. Chest pains - Garraty felt a stabbing, needling pain in the left side of his chest and was still unable to stop cheering, even though he understood he was driving at the very brink of disaster.
  8. Freeport, when he doesn't see his girlfriend, he wants to die.
  9. SAVE #5: Seeing his girlfriend Jan, and his mother (again, McMvries saves him, they both got 3rd warning so probably came with 5 seconds of dying)
     SAVE #6: McVries sits down sacrificing his life so Garraty can win.
	 "He tried to pick McVries up, but, thin as he was, McVries was much too heavy."
	 "To Garraty, Peter McVries looked rather more than that-he looked awesomely fit."  McVries could out-walk Garraty and Stebbins and those were the last three
  10. p336 For a moment Garraty was sure he must throw himself on Stebbins or faint with rage
  11. p381 He began to cry a little bit. His vision blurred and his feet tangled up and he fell down. The pavement was hard and shockingly cold and unbelievably restful. He was warned twice before he managed to pick himself up, using a series of drunken, crab-like motions. He got his feet to work again.
  12. When down to Stebbins and him, he decided to give up and let Stebbins win at the end, but then Stebbins dies
  Garraty tried to help McVries from dying even though he promised everyone not to help.
  "What makes you think you deserve to win, Garraty? You're a second-class intellect, a second-class physical specimen, and probably a second-class libido.
- You could have a walker that runs in the opposite direction at 10 mph for nearly 2 minutes, every 4 hours.
  Given the other walker's maintained 4 mph average over 5 days, they would travel 480 miles. They wrong-way guy would go 1/3 a mile on the wrong direction every 4 hours.
  He'd fall back from pack 2 miles per day. On day 5, he'd be 10 miles back!
- "They were pleased and proud because most of the kids in the country over twelve take the tests but only one in fifty passes. And that still leaves thousands of kids and they can use two hundred-one hundred Walkers and a hundred backups. And there's no skill in getting picked, you know that."
  Proof that boys 13 years old were in the long walk
  "Up ahead someone began to scream, and Garraty felt his blood go cold. It was a very young voice. It was not screaming words. It was only screaming."
- gathering gloom, from Moody Blues, Late Lament, from Days of Future Past, 1967
  They dropped back a little at a time, eventually leaving the sinister-faced Harold Quince to lead the parade. They knew they were back with their own people when Abraham, out of the gathering gloom, asked: "You finally decide to come back and visit the po' folks?"
- Not Possible: Barkovitch ripped out his own throat.

- How long has the Long Walk been happening?
  "The word was that three boys had gotten tickets here just last year."
  "There was a guy last year that crawled for two miles at four miles an hour after both of his feet cramped up at the same time, you remember reading about that?"
  "That's from the Long Walk the year before last,"
  "I saw the end four years ago," Stebbins said.
  "Stebbins nodded. "The first Walk to do it in seventeen years. They'll go crazy."

- If I wrote The Long Walk, I'd simplify it. No radar. No warnings. No timer. There would be check-points every mile.
  You buy a ticket if the pace-car reaches the next check-point before you.
  There could also be a lead pace-car 1-mile ahead. If you pass the lead pace car, you are shot dead.
  This way, the pack stays together within a 1-mile stretch.
  The crowd also knows exactly when the walkers will pass, and they'll see all the walkers pass within 15 minutes.
  Since tickets will only happen right before check-point, spectators will know where to stand to have the best chance of seeing a ticket.

- McVries would have to be left handed to forehand Garraty on his right cheek, and backhand his left.
  McVries slapped him twice quickly, forehand on the right cheek, backhand on the left. Then he walked away quickly, not looking back.

- Garraty got his confirmation letter on a Friday afternoon.
  I was by myself. My mother works. It was a Friday afternoon. The letter was in the mailbox and it had a Wilmington, Delaware, postmark, so I knew that had to be it.
- Assuming the walk started on Mon May 1, 1978, and that April has 31 days, then counting backwards,
- and that Apr 15 and 31 are the two back-out dates.
- Since Apr 15 would be a Fri, it might arrive then.
- If a week before the first back-out date, then Apr 8.
- If two weeks before the first back-out date, then Apr 1.
Apr                                                                                         May
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01
 F  S  S  M  T  W  R  F  S  S  M  T  W  R [F] S  S  M  T  W  R  F  S  S  M  T  W  R  F  S [S] M
 ^                    ^                    ^

- Coincidence: McVries had 12 stitches and he was the 12th backup.

-It's not a Young Adult novel and yet American Library Association lists it under Best Books for Young Adults.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_and_nominations_received_by_Stephen_King


The Long Walk is mentioned in The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower.  Below is the first part of that paragraph broken down by sentence.

Stephen King takes two walks, the short one and the long one.
The short one takes him out to the intersection of Warrington’s Road and Route 7, then back to his house, Cara Laughs, the same way.
That one is three miles.
The long walk (which also happens to be the name of a book he once wrote under the Bachman name, back before the world moved on)
takes him past the Warrington’s intersection, down Route 7 as far as the Slab City Road, then all the way back Route 7 to Berry Hill,
bypassing Warrington’s Road.



Date Created November 11, 2018
Last Updated January 7, 2021
Contact: patcoston@gmail.com