Study Guide

'Salem's Lot Lust

By Stephen King


Vampires are sexy. The vampire bite is nothing if not a metaphor for sex and seduction. Small towns are sexy too—or, at least, novels like Grace Metalious's Peyton Place, which was a major influence on 'Salem's Lot, presented small towns as seething with adultery and lust and illicit naughtiness. So maybe vampires are a metaphor for small town lust, or maybe vampires are a punishment for small town lust, but either way, there is a lot of sex in this book. We don't get a lot of hot and heavy details (see our "Steaminess Rating"), but here are a lot of shenanigans implied behind those shutters, hidden in the dark places.

Questions About Lust

  1. Are lust and sex always evil in the novel? Explain your answer.
  2. Is Barlow a metaphor for the townspeople's sexual desires? Why or why not?
  3. Do the vampires in the novel experience love, or only lust? What about the people?

Chew on This

In 'Salem's Lot, sex and death are often equivalent.

Susan becomes a vampire because she had sex.