Quitters Inc.

Stephen King

Conflict

In the story Quitters Inc. Morrison wants to quit smoking, so he goes to a place a friend recommended. The place he goes to, however, has a weird way of helping people quit... They tell him if he smokes, they're going to shock his wife, and the more he smokes the worse the punishments are, but he never gets the punishment. His punishment is watching the people he love suffer through the things that are being done to him. The conflict in this story is internal because Morrison is debating whether to give into his addiction or save his wife from being shocked. Throughout the story, he goes back and forth from wanting and not wanting to smoke, but he wasn't debating this with any other being, it was an argument in his head, therefore internal.

Plot Line

Exposition - Right off the bat in "Quitters Inc.", Morrison runs into his old friend who recommends the company Quitters Inc. to him to stop smoking. Morrison then goes to the Quitters Inc. building and meets with the boss of the company and signs a contract, therefore committing to whatever the people there are going to require him to do to stop smoking. After this first meeting, he smokes his last cigarette and heads into his second meeting a few days later.

Rising Action - The rising action of the story beings with Morrison finding out what the treatment is, because that's when the tension really begins. Since he doesn't want to hurt his family, he refrains from smoking. He does start making real progress until he gets into a traffic jam in a car with half a pack of cigarettes.

Climax - I think the climax of this story is him giving in and smoking while he's in the traffic jam. This, to me, is the climax because it's what everything was really leading up to, you were almost expecting it to happen and when it happened, the author dragged it out even though it only happened in a couple minutes maximum.

Falling Action - During the falling action, Morrison's wife gets shocked and he is forced to watch. His wife forgives him though, and he's learned his lesson and continues on with his life without smoking. After a little while, Morrison gets a call from Donatti. Donatti tells Morrison about diet pills that he needs to take, and if he doesn't, Donatti threatens to cut off his wife's pinki because he knows this tactic worked the last time.

Resolution - All that really happens in the resolution is Morrison hasn't smoked for a year, so he's basically stopped for good. This is the resolution because everything returns to normal with a couple of changes. Morrison has stopped smoking and him and his wife are doing good, therefore Morrison has reached his goal and the story has resolved.

Foreshadowing

I think a really important part of this story is the foreshadowing that the author used. Foreshadowing is when an author puts something in the story that indicates what's going to happen later in the story. Authors usually use this to give the reader something to think about and also to keep the reader guessing about where the story is going to lead. The author used a lot of greatly placed foreshadowing in this story, which really made the story interesting and made me think one thing when really something else was going to happen. Some examples of foreshadowing in "Quitters Inc." is when the boss asks Morrison about his wife before he actually knows anything about the treatment. This makes you know that something is going to happen later with his wife, but you don't know exactly what. Another example is when Danotti told Morrison that he would chop off his wife's pinki if he didn't take the diet pills. It seems a bit random to add that in as you're reading, but it comes back into play later in the story that makes it tie back in. The foreshadowing in this story really helped move the story along and make it compelling to read, and I really enjoy the where the foreshadowing was placed and how the author sprinkled it in throughout the story.
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Theme

Donatti said that the punishment that Morrison would get if he smoked a cigarette would be his wife getting shocked. In fact, the only punishments that Morrison would get for smoking was his family getting hurt and him having to watch. This is because Donatti understood that love is more powerful than any drug and I think that's the major theme of this story. Throughout the whole story, the only thing holding Morrison back from smoking a cigarette and giving into his addiction is the fact that the ones he loved the most could potentially get very hurt. He does eventually smoke a cigarette but learns his lesson very fast after he has to watch his wife get tortured for a very long 30 seconds. There are other smaller themes in the story such as 'make sure you know what you're getting into before you sign a contract', however, I think the main theme in the story is that love is the strongest thing on earth because it's pretty much what the whole story revolves around. Lastly, here's an example from the text to show how the message is tied into Morrison's realization of why Donatti was doing what he was doing:

"hugging his son tightly, realizing what Donatti and his colleagues had so cynically realized before him: love is the most pernicious drug of all. Let the romantics debate its existence. Pragmatics accept and use it"(11).


I think the most compelling aspect of the story is the amount of tension the author put in that leads up to the climax. Throughout the whole rising action, you know that something is going to happen, you just don't quite know what it's going to be. The author drops a few hints that make you assume things that end up being wrong and that kept me on my toes and compelled me to keep reading. Throughout the story, I just kept thinking to myself, "what would I do?" because Morrison is caught in so many situations where he could go either way depending on how strong his will power is in the moment. I like to think that I wouldn't smoke the cigarette in the moment that Morrison does, but I also think that maybe I would give in just as he does. I like how much this story made me think and made me try and guess what was going to happen next. The suspension in the story, I think, made it very worth the read and what definitely makes me recommend it to people who like that sort of story.