Study Guide

'Salem's Lot Good vs. Evil

By Stephen King

Good vs. Evil

Vampires are way evil—there's no doubt about that. Big evil, supernatural evil, evil with fangs and lust for blood—you name it. The vampires in 'Salem's Lot are definitely evil, but there's a lot of other evil stuff going on in this town, too. Sometimes vampires seem like they're a metaphor for other evil things: sex perverts like Hubie Marsten, or the other small town evils like adultery, child beating, greed, nasty gossip, and all that jazz.

At other times, though, the vampires seem like a contrast with those little evils: a big, nasty, clear evil, that kind of thing that sets Father Callahan's blood pumping. Ultimately, maybe vampires are both EVIL in all-caps, and little sneaky evil, too—which is why good has such a hard time of it in the novel.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. Which wins in the novel, good or evil?
  2. Callahan initially seems to almost hope that the vampires are real—and to think big evil is less frightening than small evil. Is he right?
  3. Who's the most evil person in the novel? Barlow? Straker? Hubie Marsten? Lawrence Crockett? Explain your reasoning.
  4. Who's the most "good" person in the novel?

Chew on This

The town is evil, and the vampires are its just punishment.

The fun of the novel is in seeing all that boring good turned into much more enjoyable evil.