Characterization of Lester Billings

Outer characterization

Lester Billings is the main character in the short story “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King. He is described as a 28-year-old man from Waterbury, Connecticut. He works for an industrial firm in New York, but we never learn his exact occupation. He is divorced and the father of three children, all of whom are dead. As seen from the point of view of Dr Harper, he looks old and pale, with thinning hair. He is also an alcoholic, as suggested by the sentence: “his eyes held all the miserable secrets of whisky” (p. 1, l. 24). At first glance, this description seems indicative of someone who has suffered a great trauma.

Lester’s “rubbery, frightening grin” that is gone as soon as it appears is mentioned three times in the story (p. 2, l. 22, p. 3, l. 36 and p. 8, l. 39). This tendency to grin in moments of extreme tension and inner conflict may point to Lester’s mental instability. This is further highlighted by the way his voice switches from his normal range to “a high treble, like a child’s” (p. 9, l. 18) and then “clicked back into an adult range” (p. 9, l. 27).

Inner characterization

Lester Billings comes acros...

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