Written by: Stephen King , Poster by: Ellie Purgavie
The story starts with Morrison sitting at a bar and being confronted by Jimmy McCann. Jimmy goes on to explain a treatment that he took for addiction to cigarettes, which Morrison is struggling with. Morrison takes the card with the address of the treatment center, and goes to it later on in the month to sign up.
As the story progresses, the treatment is explained to Morrison in depth. He finds out that there are 10 levels of punishment if he smokes, and he will be watched on and off for the rest of his life. He also learns that in the levels of punishment, it is not him that will get hurt, but his wife and son.
The climax of the story occurs when Morrison decides to smoke months later, even though he is risking so much. He then gets a call that he must go to the treatment center to watch his wife get electrocuted for 30 seconds.
In this section of the story, Morrison is again called into the treatment center, and is given a certain weight that he can not exceed. He learns that if he exceeds the weight, his wife's pinky finger will be cut off.
The resolution of this story comes when Morrison sees Jimmy McCann again, this time with his wife. But, when Morrison shakes Jimmy's wife's hand, he quickly realizes that her pinky finger is cut off.
Morrison is the protagonist. He is struggling with a cigarette addiction throughout the story which he cannot seem to quit. The author indirectly showed that he is self conscious , selfish, and unhappy. I found he was self conscious because of his son, who has mental health issues. I also found he was selfish because he smoked even though he was risking his wife and sons health and wellbeing. Also, I learned he was unhappy because the author talked about Morrison having a very hard time at work and struggled while dealing with his substance abuse. The author directly showed that he was a smoker, and that also he was very curious about a lot of things. "'Look, you've got my curiosity aroused'"(2). In that quote, you can see how the author directly states Morrison is curious.
Jimmy McCann is another main character who comes up in the beginning and also at the very end. He is the one who recommends the treatment center to Morrison in a positive way. The author chose to show off this character in a very businessman-like way, which was one example of direct characterization. The author indirectly shows that there is something mysterious about Jimmy, as he does not explain the treatment at all and seems to be hiding something. "'I'm sorry, Dick. I really can't talk about it.' His voice was firm"(2). Obviously Jimmy has something that he is not telling Morrison about the treatment.
Donatti is another main character in this story. Donatti is not introduced until Morrison goes to the treatment center and is assigned Donatti as the person who will be in charge of his time at the treatment center. Almost instantly, you can tell through indirect characterization that Donatti is scary, mysterious, and unsettling. All of those feelings are justified later on in the story when Donatti uses a bunny to represent the electrocution that would happen to Morrison's wife if he smoked. "'Indeed. Watch him.' Donatti pressed a button by the window-sill. The rabbit stopped eating and began to hop about crazily. It seemed to leap higher each time its feet struck the floor. Its fur stood out spikily in all directions. Its eyes were wild" (7). That action obviously shows the crazy, scary, unsettling side of Donatti.