Study Guide

'Salem's Lot Memory and the Past

By Stephen King

Memory and the Past

Ben's journey to 'Salem's Lot is a journey into his past: he's looking to reclaim the few happy years he had as a child with his aunt. So in some ways 'Salem's Lot isn't just about vampire and horror; it's also about nostalgia. Ben goes back to the Lot to remember his childhood, with all its larger-than-life terrors—terrors that are, in some ways, better than the everyday unhappinesses of adulthood, like losing your wife. Gore and guts and blood in your teeth and dead Hubie Marsten? That's Ben's version of a happy past. Cheerful fella, ain't he?

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. Are vampires a freezing of the past? Or a break with the past?
  2. Why is the town named Jerusalem's Lot? What does that past have to do with the story of the novel?
  3. Both Matt and Barlow are attached to the Lot because of its past. How do their versions of its past differ?

Chew on This

Ben is saved by looking to the past.

Ben is destroyed by looking to the past.