The Hero Versus Darklight: A Test of Mettle in Stephen King’s Later
Keywords:Supernatural villain, revenant, battle of wills, good vs. evil, mastery
Heroes and villains are diametrically opposed characters, representing the moral duality of good and evil. Both are homogenous in terms of power but remain opposites through antithetical actions and intentions. The mettle of the hero and the villain is tested when they confront and challenge each other. Jamie Conklin, the protagonist of Stephen King's novel Later, must face his fears and destroy his inner demons to annihilate a supernatural force known as the Darklight that haunts him repeatedly. Darklight is an otherworldly and malevolent entity, a mixture of darkness and dazzling light that resides within the body of deceased serial bomber Kenneth Therriault. Armed with the Ritual of Chüd, a spiritual practice performed to gain clarity, Jamie can confront the Darklight, connect with it, crush its willpower, and dominate it. Good triumphs over evil and Darklight is made to serve Jamie when needed. Towards the end of the novel, Jamie uses Darklight to destroy evil which is a fantastic display of good overcoming evil.