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The Long Walk is a novel by Stephen King, originally published under his pseundonym, Richard Bachman. It is the second "Bachma
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First edition cover of The Long Walk.

n novel", and was collected in the 1985 anthology, The Bachman Books.

Plot Summary

emily should have done her reading 

Major Characters

  • Raymond Garraty – A sixteen year old boy from Maine. He is the only competitor from the state of Maine, where the long walk is held, and is shown huge amounts of support from the crowd. During the walk, Garraty makes many revelations about mortality, and the imminent possibility of his own death. Garraty bonds with many of the competitors over the course of the long walk, including the enigmatic Stebbins. Garraty eventually becomes the winner of the walk after Stebbins's death. When the major comes to congratulate him, Garraty somehow finds the strength to run.
  • Peter McVries – A young, cynical man with a sardonic sense of crazy peanut butter humor, and a prominent scar on his cheek. Of all the walkers, he bonds the closest with Garraty and saves his life multiple times. He also creates the idea for the " eight musketeers," a group made up of himself, Garraty, Baker, Olson, Harkness, Abraham, and Pearson. McVries admits during the walk that he applied for the walk due to subconcious death left from a broken relationship that left him in a suicidal depression. He also develops the most antagonistic relationship with Gary Barkovich. He tells Garraty that when he is done walking, he may just sit down. Near the end of the walk, he sits down in the street. Although Garraty tries desperately to save him, McVries refuses to budge, and he smiles one last time at Garraty before being killed by the soldiers.
  • Art Baker - A close friend of Garraty and McVries who is shown to be one of the kindest and honest competitors in the walk, and the least prone to speaking cryptically. He is one of the last walkers to die. When he decides that he can't go on, he asks Garraty for a lead-lined casket, a reference to a past conversation about Baker's uncle, an undertaker. He also asks Garraty "not to watch 'em do it." Baker's death affects Garraty so much that he can barely keep walking.
  • Hank Olson - A confident young walker who believes he has an edge on the other walkers. Olson starts out the walk cracking jokes and playfully insulting the other walkers, but quickly exhausts and turns into an empty shell. He is referred to by Stebbins as a demonstration of the mind to control the body, because although Olson is nearly dead, the mind commands him to keep walking to avoid death. Olson manages to outlast the majority of the walkers, because, as he admits to Garraty, "he does not want to die." He eventually climbs upon a halftrack and takes a gun from a sleeping soldier, shooting another one. After being shot in the stomach, with his inner organs falling out, he continues to walk, much to the surprise of the other walkers. Finally, he succumbs, after screaming "I DID IT WRONG!"
  • Gary Barkovitch - The established external antagonist who every other walker wishes to outlast, and seems to be "running on the high-octane fuel of hate." He teases the walkers with multiple hats of "dancing on their shoes." Barkovitch antagonizes another walker named Rank, who attacks him. This leads to altercation resulting in Rank's death. This event causes the other walkers to think of him as a murderer, especially McVries. Despite this, Barkovitch later admits he wishes he had friends and that he didn't know how to act any other way. Some point during the night, the walkers hear shots. When Garraty asks if Barkovich has been shot, Barkovich screams "Not Yet!" and tears his own throat out. 
  • Stebbins - The illigitimate son of the Major, and the most mysterious walker. He has many strange habits, including giving Garraty odd advice and then recanting the advice as lies. Stebbins becomes the favorite to win after Scramm's death, showing himself to be impossible to wear down. Near the end of the book, however, he breaks down in front of Garraty and admits to being the son of the Major—one of many. He tells Garraty that the major deliberately distanced him psychologically to make him a "rabbit" (like one that would be found in a greyhound race) to provoke other walkers into catching him. He is the last walker to die, clawing desperately at Garraty before collapsing.

Death list

The asterisk (*) indicates that the Walkers were mentioned dead at the same time, meaning that there is no way to determine exact order. (most "Reasons of Death" indicated with a "?" resulted from a Walker dropping below four miles-per-hour too often.)

Order Name Number Reason for Death
1. Curley, ? No. 7 Charley horse
2. Ewing, ? No. 9 Blisters
3. Unknown boy No. ? Slowed down too often
4. Zuck, ? No. 100 Excessive bleeding from scraped knee
5. Travin, ? No. ? Slowed by diarrhea, shot when sitting down to empty bowels
6. Fenter, ? No. 12 Foot cramp
7. Larson, ? No. 60 Fatigue - sat down and couldn't get back up
8. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
9. Toland, ? No. ? Fainted
10. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
11. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
12. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
13. Baker, James No. 4  ?
14. Rank, ? No. ? Fighting with Barkovitch, fell down and got up dazed
15. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
16. Unknown boy No. ? Shot while trying to escape into the woods
17. Unknown boy No. 45 Fell down
*18. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*19. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*20. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*21. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*22. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*23. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*24. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*25. Davidson, ? No. 8  ?
26. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
27. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
28. Yannick, ? No. 98  ?
29. Unknown boy No. ? Convulsions
30. Gribble, ? No. 48 Blue balls
31. Harkness, ? No. 49 Fatigue- "Burnt out"
32.  ?, Percy No. 31 Tried to escape into the woods
33. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
34. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*35. Wayne, ? No. 94  ?
*36. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
37. Morgan, Frank No. 64  ?
38. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
39. Unknown boy No. 38 Feet run over by escorting half-track.
40. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*41. Tressler, ? No. 92 Sunstroke
*42. Unknown boy No. ? Convulsion
*43. Aaronson, ? No. 1 Cramps in both feet
*44. Wallace No. ? Sunstroke
45. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
46. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
47. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
48. Jensen, ? No. ? Panic & blundered off of road due to hailstorm
49. Unknown boy No. ? Fainted
50. Fenum, Roger No. 13 Fainted
51. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
52. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
53. Olson, Hank No. 70 Shot while attempting to hijack escorting half-track
54. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
55. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
56. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
57. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
58. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*59. Scramm, ? No. 85 Pneumonia/sat down
*60.  ?, Mike No. ? Stomach cramps/sat down
61.  ?, Joe No. ?  ?
62. Unknown boy No. ?
63. Gallant, ? No. ?  ?
64. Milligan, ? No. ? Severe headache from cheering
65. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
66. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
67. Quince, Harold No. ?  ?
68. Barkovitch, Gary No. 5 Ripped out his own throat
*69. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*70. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*71. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*72. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*73. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*74. Pearson, ? No. ? Vomiting; shot that night
75. Field, Charlie No. ?  ?
76. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*77. Klingerman, ? No. 59 Appendicitis
*78. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*79. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
80. Tubbins, ? No. ? Insanity
81. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
82. Parker, Collie No. ? Shot after attempting to hijack escorting half-track
83. Wyman, Marty No. 97 Lay down
84. Sledge, Bobby No. ? Tried to escape into the crowd
85. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
86. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*87. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*88. Unknown boy No. ? tried taking a bite out of another walker
*89. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
*90. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
91. Abraham, ? No. 2 Fever-induced fatigue
92. Pastor, Bruce No. ?  ?
93. Unknown boy No. ?  ?
94. Fielder, George No. ? Insanity
95. Hough, Bill No. ? tried to kill the major
96. Rattigan, ? No. ?  ?
97. Baker, Art No. 3 Hemorrhage
98. McVries, Peter No. 61 Sat down
99. Stebbins, ? No. 88 Sudden death due to fatigue
100. Garraty, Ray No. 47 Winner; possible insanity or death,

Hints and Procedures

All Walkers receive a handbook of sorts that included "hints" and "rules", and several are featured prominently in the novel:

  • Hint 3: Do not, repeat, do not wear sneakers. Nothing will give you blisters faster than sneakers on a Long Walk.
  • Hint 6: Slow and easy does it.
  • Rule 8 : No interference with your fellow Walkers.
  • Hint 10: Save your wind. If you smoke ordinarily, try not to smoke on the Long Walk.
  • Hint 12: (not stated specifically, but recommends wearing white athletic socks)
  • Hint 13: Conserve energy whenever possible.

Each year, thousands of teenage boys apply to take part in the Long Walk. Applicants are put through a series of tests, including an essay in which they explain why they believe themselves qualified to participate. Those who pass are entered into a lottery drawing that is broadcast nationwide on television, well before the Walk begins. Two hundred names are drawn, with 100 classified as "Prime Walkers" (first picks to participate) and 100 as backups; however, no announcements are made at this time as to which is which.

There are several chances to withdraw from the process, spread out between the time that applicants learn whether they have passed the tests and the start of the Walk. If someone does withdraw, the first available backup Walker (based on the order in which names were drawn) is moved up to take his place. Notifications as to Prime or backup status are not sent out until the final withdrawal deadline, which is the day before the Walk begins.

On the morning of May 1, the Walkers gather at the starting point, where soldiers check them in and give them canteens and food supplies. The Major greets them and assigns each one a number from 1 to 100 in alphabetical order by last name; each Walker is given a placard with his number, which he must wear taped to his clothes. The soldiers refer to Walkers only by their numbers throughout the course of the event. At exactly 9:00, the Major signals for the Walk to start.

The Route

Adaptation

Frank Darabont has secured the rights to the film adaptation of the novel (1), claiming that he will "get to it one day". He currently plans to make a low-budget, "weird, existential, and very self contained" film (2).


The Bachman Books
RageThe Long WalkRoadworkThe Running ManThinnerThe RegulatorsBlaze
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