Quitters, Inc.

By: Stephen King


In the story Quitters, Inc, Stephen King tells a tale of a man who doesn't intend on quitting smoking, but does in a very unusual way. One day the protagonist Morrison, is waiting for someone in Kennedy International Airport when he ran into an old friend Jim McCann. In high school, Morrison knew McCann as a chainsmoker who didn't have potential to do much with his life. In this scene, the author conveys that McCann had cleaned himself up and looks put together. McCann states that he has quit smoking and that Morrison (who has picked up smoking since high school) should try the method that he used. McCann doesn't disclose much about the program, but he hands a business card to Morrison and then has to go to his terminal before explaining it. Morrison sees how well McCann is doing and decides to check this mysterious program out. This is where the initial conflict starts, he goes to the program and signs a contract stating that he won't opt out of it and disclose the methods used in the program. Although this is strange, Morrison doesn't think twice and signs it. This is where the whole story kicks off, Quitter's Inc causes Morrison to think very deeply of the meaning of cigarettes to him and the meaning of his family. What could smoking cost him? How could not smoking help him? The internal conflict that Morrison faces is when he has to decide whether or not to risk the lives of his wife and son or decide to never smoke again. The external conflict is what will happen if he smokes and how his life will be affected. The story centers around both internal and external conflict and the challenges that Morrison faced within himself and those around him.
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Plot Line

Exposition: The exposition was definitely when Morrison reunites with his old friend. This was an important start to the story because his friend introduces him to the smoking program and that led into the rising action.

Rising Action: I think that the rising action happened Morrison was stuck in the office with Dr.Donatti. The story didn't start off scary, but once Morrison went to the office and began the program, I could tell something was weird about the situation. The rising action occurred when Morrison was sitting in the office with the doctor made Morrison watch the bunny get electrocuted. This was very important because they told Morrison that this is what would happen if he smoked again, Morrison wouldn't get electrocuted... his wife would. That was if he smoked ONCE, and if he smoked again it would be his wife and him together, then his son and the consequences continued.

Climax: The climax transpired when Morrison smoked for the first time after learning about the dangerous treatment. This was definitely the most intriguing part of the story because he thought no one would notice and that one breath of smoke wouldn't harm anyone even though he knew what could arise. When he returned from work after smoking, his wife wasn't there and he knew... he knew in that moment they had taken her. He immediately called the treatment center and they had indeed taken her in. When Morrison arrived at the office, he saw his wife and she was very confused. Sadly, he had to explain to his traumatized wife what had happened and that it was his fault.

Falling Action: The falling action was at the end of the climax and led to the resolution. It happened in the scene when Morrison has to explain to his wife what has happened and why she was electrocuted. After he ends the explanation, Cindy is okay and happy with the treatment. When the doctors see this happen, they make sure to inform her that if he smokes again, at the next electrocution they will cut off her pinky.

Resolution: The falling action led into the resolution because at the end of the story, the Morrisons run into Jim McCann and his wife. They chat and Morrison states that the program has worked wonders and has been great for his life. The story ends with Morrison realizing that Jim McCann's wife was missing her pinky finger. I thought this was the resolution because it really brought the entire story together in an interesting way. At the beginning Morrison and McCann see each other, than Morrison goes to the treatment, he hates the thought of the way that they "cure you" from your addiction, it works, he recommends it, he runs into McCann again at the end. The story comes full circle when Morrison realizes that the program really had worked and worked on his friend as well.


The use of the literary device foreshadowing helped me grasp an understanding of this story. It seemed as if something small would happen in every scene, and they would touch back on that subject on a broader note again in the story later on. It was a clever way of telling you what would happen later on in the story. For example, Morrison is so disgusted at the process of how the clinic gets you to stop smoking it is unbearable for him to believe how McCann could even recommend something as awful as this. When the program eventually worked for him, he recommended it to a friend. This was interesting way of foreshadowing what would happen and also ironic. You wouldn't expect Morrison to recommend this program after he is so upset about the program, although later on he does. It was foreshadowing indications like this that helped me understand what would happen to Morrison later on in the story.

What was the theme?

This theme was eery and disturbingly realistic. The way that Stephen King conveyed the characters, setting, tone, and events of the story made it gripping and a good read. One of the major themes that I understood from the story was the idea of addiction. This short story is a chase around Morrison and all of his next moves as he tries to climb out of the hole that he dug himself into. The story was supposed to be a creepy and fun read but it helped me understand what actually happens to someone that is addicted to something.

What is worth more to you? Family or smoking? The concept that the thing you are obsessed with can possibly hurt your family. I liked how the story was based around smoking, because smoking is a very dangerous drug. Lung cancer is one of the big outcomes of a smoking addiction and the doctor's approach of getting the patients to quit smoking through proving a message was a good way to get the readers attention. Although this short story is fiction and can be considered a horror story, it is realistic when you ask the question would you risk your family for your own benefit?