Study Guide

'Salem's Lot Community

By Stephen King


'Salem's Lot is built around the contrast between the community of the town and the community of the vampires. On the one hand, the two communities are opposed: the townsfolk are good, and they try to fight the vampires. On the other hand, though, it's the same community—it's the townsfolk who become the vampires.

So which is the real community? Is it the group of people fighting the vampires? Or, if you think about the fact that pretty much everyone is corrupt in some way, is the corrupt community of vampires the real one? After all, in a lot of ways, the townspeople pretty much become their real, true, nasty selves when they turn into vampires.

As a reader, who are you rooting for, anyway? Are you part of the community of Jerusalem's Lot? Or are you with the vampires? (See "In a Nutshell" and "Characters: Susan Norton" for more.)

Questions About Community

  1. Why are there so many characters in this novel? How is King trying to create a sense of community?
  2. How is 'Salem's Lot as a community defined by its secrets, both before and after the vampire attack?
  3. Is Ben Mears part of the 'Salem's Lot community? Is Barlow? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Matt Burke loves Jerusalem's Lot, and is a symbol of the community.

Barlow loves Jerusalem's Lot, and is a symbol of the community.