Setting

Physical setting

The story “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King takes place in the United States. We know that at some point the family moved to Waterbury, Connecticut, which is where Andy died. Later, it seems Lester Billings moved to New York, where the psychiatrist’s office is.

The time setting for the story is between the year 1965, when Lester marries Rita, and the year 1972, when Lester goes to see the psychiatrist. However, the timeline of Lester's story is inconsistent. Lester first tells Dr Harper that Shirl died in 1971, but when he begins his detailed account, it becomes clear that her death happened in 1968. This could be a clue indicating that Lester is unreliable and confused.

The story takes place in the psychiatrist’s office, and, through flashbacks, in the two houses where Lester and his family lived. Since this is a horror story, the setting plays an important part in creating the mood and contributing to the feeling of unease in the readers.

The first house, where Denny and Shirl died, was a two-bedroom place, and Denny slept alone in his own bedroom. After Denny died, Shirl was sent to his old bedroom, and then she died as well. From this sequence of events, we get a sense of the isolation of the children. They were alone in a dark room, without even a night light, and with a closet which turned out to be the boogeyman’s hiding spot. The repeated image of the closet “open just a crack” contributes to the feeling of unease.

The Billings’ second house was “on a quiet street with nice neighbors” , which contributes to the deceptive good feeling that Lester had about their move in the beginning. When things began to change for the worse, it first became apparent in the physical environment: “Something about the house changed”. The change in the house apparently also brought about a change in Lester, who became anxious and started to sn...

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