Quitters, Inc.

Stephen King

Plot Line

Exposition: Morrison's old school friend runs into him in an airport and tells him about Quitters, Inc., a new company that helped him kick his smoking habit.

Rising Action: Morrison makes the decision to go to Quitters, Inc. and the treatment is explained. He struggles with refraining from smoking.

Climax: Morrison caves into his cravings and smokes a cigarette, causing his wife to be kidnapped and punished for his actions.

Falling Action: Morrison stops smoking and recommends Quitters, Inc. to others.

Plot Twist (instead of resolution): Morrison notices that his friend who told him about Quitters, Inc. did not follow the program like he did.

Theme: Love is more powerful than any addiction

This is shown by Morrison constantly struggling with giving into his craving for cigarettes versus the well-being of his family. After seeing his wife suffer, he knows no drug is worth his loved ones.

Morrison – Protagonist

Morrison is characterized by indirect characterization. His thoughts in the beginning of the story are cynical and bitter. He judges people for telling him they don't smoke and he does not like it when people keep things from him. This makes the reader see him as ignorant (with health risks), skeptical and cynical. He also talks about his son in a way that makes him seem cold-hearted and selfish. Later in the story, though, he makes decisions on behalf of his wife and son's well-being, showing that he really is caring. He also eventually shows compassion for his son.

Donatti – Antagonist

Donatti is characterized by both direct and indirect characterization. Directly, he is described as a heavy-set man with white hair, brown eyes, and a strong opinion. Indirectly, the reader learns from his actions that he is cold-hearted, ruthless, and cruel. His cruelty is shown through him torturing an innocent animal to set an example and his forcing of Morrison to watch his wife being punished for his own actions. He is perceived as cold-hearted and ruthless in that he goes to great, damaging lengths just to have a business.

Major Conflict

The central conflict in the story is an internal conflict within Morrison. He is faced with whether or not smoking and indulging his cravings is worth the pain and suffering of his loved ones.


"'Sit down.' The voice was as cold as shaved ice." This is one example of simile in the story. This particular example gives the reader chills and an unsettling feeling about Donatti's character. Morrison just witnessed something cruel, but Donatti is unfazed and only worried about business. King most likely chose to phrase it this way so the reader understands the lengths at which Donatti is cruel and uncaring, and certainly not warm.

Why You Should Read "Quitters, Inc."

For me, the most compelling aspect of this story is the constant suspense. While reading, I never knew what was going to happen next and I was always curious about what characters were going to say or do. It kept me on my toes until the very last word, as I'm sure it would you if you decide to read it!