Structure

Title

The title of the short story “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King can be interpreted literally or symbolically.

In its literal sense, 'the boogeyman' refers to a supernatural creature which specifically targets children. The appearance and behavior of a boogeyman may vary slightly from culture to culture, but generally, they are thought to be evil monsters, often with a mix of human and animal features. Sometimes stories of the boogeyman are used to scare children into good behavior, because the boogeyman supposedly comes for children who have been bad. The title thus creates the expectation that the story could be about some kind of monster who frightens or kills children.

However, the term 'boogeyman' can also be interpreted symbolically, as a reference to an ordinary human being with evil or monstrous tendencies. It can also be used as a metaphor that describes a thing or phenomenon that people are generally afraid of.

It is never made fully clear whether the story's boogeyman is literal or symbolic. Even though the boogeyman is 'revealed' at the end, the fact that the ending is shown from Lester's somewhat unreliable perspective means that we cannot be entirely sure whether the boogeyman is real or whether the title instead refers to Lester's own dark side.   

Beginning

The short story "The Boogeyman" by Stephen King opens with an exposition, as the main character Lester Billings shares his reason for coming...

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