Joyland Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Joyland.
This section contains 704 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Joyland Summary & Study Guide Description

Joyland Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Joyland by Stephen King.

Joyland by Stephen King begins with Devin Jones’ first time at the amusement park. Devin takes a summer job at Joyland to make money and keep his mind off the fact that his girlfriend Wendy is spending the summer in Boston working with a friend. Devin is upset that Wendy would choose to work in Boston rather than be with him.

Devin travels to North Carolina to visit the park for the first time. After taking a ride on one of the park’s main feature rides, Devin decides to take the job. Devin quickly becomes fully immersed in the culture of Joyland. He enjoys the quirky characters and lingo.

Devin meets fellow employees Erin Cook and Tom Kennedy. They become fast friends and spend time together on and off the clock. All stay at Mrs.Shoplaw’s boarding house located close to Heaven’s Bay Beach, a favorite place for Devin to walk.

It is a sign of things to come as it is not long before Wendy begins to avoid Devin and eventually breaks up with him. Devin is devastated and inconsolable for a time. This heartbreak leads Devin to take time off from school to stay at Joyland.

Devin cannot eat or sleep. It is obvious to those around him that something is wrong. It does not take a professional to know that Devin is suffering from a broken heart. Devin is finally confronted by Lane Hardy and Madame Fortuna who are concerned about Devin’s health, particularly in the brutal summer heat. Devin promises to try to eat and sleep, although he does not know how it will be possible.

Devin’s attention is shifted when he learns that Horror House is haunted by the ghost of a young girl named Linda Gray. Linda was murdered inside the Horror House by her boyfriend, a man that continues to elude police more than a decade later. Tom refuses to be involved in any kind of discussion about ghosts and is especially resistant after he sees the ghost of Linda Gray. Erin and Devin however, are intrigued and want to find out the identity of the killer.

There are many characters in the story that play an important part in Devin’s carnival life including the carnival's owner Mr. Bradley Easterbrook, Fred Dean in administration, old timers Pops Allen and Eddie Parks, supervisor Land Hardy, and the carnival fortune teller Madame Fortuna. Madame Fortuna spends her off time as Rozzie Gold, a Jewish mother from New Jersey.

Erin and Tom decide to leave Joyland to return to school while Devin stays behind. Erin is concerned about Devin. The friends agree to stay in touch. Erin promises to continue to work on the Linda Gray case.

After his friends are gone, Devin embraces his loneliness and the work at Joyland. It is not long before he meets Annie and Mike Ross, a mother and son that live on the beach. Mike is eager to make friends with Devin, but Annie is distant and cold. Soon Annie cannot resist Devin’s charms, and the three become close friends. Annie is very protective of young Mike who has a terminal disease and must spend most of his days in a wheelchair. Mike does not seem to mind as much as Annie. Mike is mature for his age and uses his sixth sense to predict what will happen. Mike is comfortable with knowing that he will die.

Erin calls Devin and tells him she has uncovered something big in the Linda Gray case. After viewing photos brought to him by Erin, Devin uncovers the identity of the killer. The killer, Lane Hardy, confronts Devin on a stormy night at Joyland and intends to kill him. Mike’s sixth sense, aided by the ghost of Eddie Parks, sends Annie to Devin’s rescue. The case of Linda Gray has been solved and Lane Hardy is dead.

The story is mainly chronological with flashes forward into Devin’s future life as a writer. Devin details Tom’s death and his ongoing relationship with Erin, Annie, and Mike. The story ends with Mike’s death and the release of his ashes over Heaven’s Bay.

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This section contains 704 words
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