So I've been re-reading lots and lots of random Stephen King novels, and noticed a couple of weird recurring tropes in several of his books that are kind of bugging me, the more so because I really like his books otherwise.
1) The magic black guy (and occasional magic black woman) : in several of his books (The Shining, The Talisman, The Stand (If I recall correctly), arguably in IT, possibly others I'm not recalling) there is a magic and/or psychic black guy who talks to the (usually pre-adolescent, white and male) protagonist and offers important advice, guidance and aid in a marked dialect from a lower-class position. This figure offers a caretaking role for the main character, and is usually the only non-white figure in the book. In The Stand, I think this figure was a psychic elderly black woman who gathered a bunch of survivors together, offered maternal wisdom, and died, and in IT, Mike Hanlon kind of touched on this role (though obviously did not fully embody it) as the only one of the seven who remembered the events in Derry as an adult and had to gently hand-lead the others to full recollection but could never take on a leadership role.
1a) Although the villains in these works are usually either literally inhuman or possessed of forces that are, and are murderous beings of evil incarnate who kill dozens, if not hundreds, depending on the work in question, just in case we the readers missed how evil they really were, at some point in the book, they tend to start dropping the n-bomb wildly in wrathful rants. If this had happened in only one or two novels, I don't think I would have remarked on it, but it's something that keeps recurring. It seems sort of like it's going beyond "something evil will say anything to disturb/upset you" to "only INHUMAN EVIL (or something touched by it) would be that consistently racist."
2) Menatally/developmentally disabled people are angels/ virtuous beyond human norms/ magically uplifting to all who get to know them. I seem to remember something along these lines in one of the Bachman books (either The Regulators or Desperation), but it's really apparent in Dreamcatcher, where Douglas/Duddits is so bright and angelic and ennobling by dint of his "perpetually childlike" ways (due to Downs Syndrome) that not only does he make his friends better people, he gives them psychic powers. Also, see the perpetually childlike thing - even at age 38 Douglas is not an adult - he's still seen as a child by his mother and his friends, and is the only important human character who's point of view is not directly given - instead we get his mom's if his friends aren't around (at least so far - I haven't finished my re-read yet and it is remotely possible that he'll be treated as a person rather that an uplifting hallmark moment at some point). Even the form of cancer he has in the story is one usually associated with children in our cultural narratives - leukemia.
Am I getting too cranky in my re-reads, or are these things you folks have noticed too? I admit it's been awhile since I re-read The Stand or the Bachman Books, but I have some lengthy flights coming up, so they're on my list for the future.
I'm a wicked young lady but I been trying hard lately
Oh fuck it, I'm a monster, I admit it!
It makes me so mad my blood really starts a-going
La la la la, la la la lie
Sooner or later, we all gotta die
Curse of Millhaven- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds