Night Shift Characters

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Night Shift Summary & Study Guide Description

Night Shift 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 Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Night Shift by Stephen King.

Charles Boone is a widower who recently inherited the family home built by his grandfather and great-uncle. There was a falling out between these two gentlemen that caused a rift between the two sides of the family until Boone and his cousin began corresponding with one another. After the death of his wife, Boone suffered a fever that left him delusional. In order to help him recover, Boone's friends contacted his cousin, who died shortly thereafter and left Charles the ancestral home, Chapelwaite. Boone has come to the house to live, hoping the new surroundings will help him recover his health. The first few days at the house are peaceful with the exception of the odd reactions of the people in the nearby town when they learn where Boone and his companion, Calvin McCann, are living.

After a time, strange things begin to happen in the house. Boone and Calvin begin hearing strange noises in the house, assuming it to be rats. They also find a map showing a town up the road from Chapelwaite. Boone and Calvin go to explore the town and find it strangely untouched by vandals or by time. They also find a church that is sinister, that appears to be for the worship of something evil. Later, they find a diary written by Boone's grandfather that describes the purchase of a book that Boone saw in the church. Boone becomes convinced that he must return to the church and destroy the book. When he does, Calvin is killed, but the book is successfully burned. Unfortunately, Boone comes to realize that the burning of the book has only deterred the evil temporarily, but that he is the gateway and he must die. Boone believes he is the last of his line, but is unaware of the illegitimate children his grandfather fathered in his lifetime. These letters written by Boone are presented by his great-grand nephew who has come to live in Chapelwaite more than a hundred years after Boone's suicide. The nephew does not believe his uncle's story, but believes him to have been suffering the effects of a fever.

Artie is an astronaut who once went on a mission to Venus. Artie's partner, Cory, had to leave the aircraft before they arrived at their destination in order to fix a transmitter, and it is at this point that Artie believes Cory was infected with something alien. They continued to their destination and made four orbits before returning to Earth. An accident occurred upon reentry and the aircraft crashed into the ocean, leaving Cory dead and Artie unable to walk. Artie retired to the Florida keys with a medal and a generous pension. Every year Artie meets with a government official to make sure he is not suffering any ill effects from his time in space. It is after one of these meetings that something strange begins to happen to Artie. It began with itching. Soon eyeballs appeared in his hands. Artie could actually see through these eyes and feel the emotions of the creatures attached to the eyes.

After time, Artie becomes aware that the eyeballs are controlling his body, doing things that he cannot remember doing. One night, Artie realizes that the eyes have killed a young boy. Artie tries to tell his neighbor but is unable to convince him without showing him his hands. When the eyes are uncovered, they once again take over Artie's body and kill his neighbor. Artie then decides he must stop them. Artie burns his hands severe enough that they are amputated. However, this does not stop the creatures. Artie finds twelve eyes have appeared on his chest and decides he must kill himself to stop them completely.

Officer Hunton is a cop who thinks he has seen it all. However, Hunton has never seen anything like the mangler. Hunton is called to the death of a woman at a laundry. The woman was pulled into a machine that irons and folds sheets. There is a safety bar on the machine that is supposed to stop the worker from being injured, but for some reason it did not work this time. An inspector checks the machine out and discovers that it is in perfect working order. Hunton begins to wonder how this accident could have happened if the machine was working correctly. A neighbor convinces Hunton that the machine is possessed by a demon, especially after two more accidents happen.

Hunton and his neighbor decide to attempt to rid the machine of the demon possessing it. They do some research and find a method they believe will work. Unfortunately, they are not right about how the machine came to be possessed and only succeed in making the machine angry. The machine breaks free of the braces that hold it to the floor and chases Hunton down the street. Hunton turns to the only person he can think of, the inspector who suggested to him in the first place that sometimes machines have a mind of their own.

Lester Billings is a grieving father who believes he is the reason his children are dead. Billings had three children, all of whom have died in the night. Each of the children were afraid of a monster in their closet, the Boogeyman, but Billings did not believe the first two who tried to convince him of the truth behind their fears. The first child, a boy, insisted on sleeping with his parents, but Billings forced him to sleep in his own bed, afraid that if he indulged the boy's fears he would grow up to be a coward. Billings could not imagine raising a coward. The second child, a girl, complained of the same things, but again Billings did not want her to be weak, to depend on others to protect her.

Billings and his wife moved from their first home and bought a house. They believed everything would be better now. Unfortunately, they were wrong. They have a new baby, a surprise, and Billings finds himself drawn to this child like he never was with the others. Billings adores his son, indulging him in ways he never did the others. Billings even allows this child to sleep with him and his wife, unconcerned with turning him into a coward. Ironically, however, it is not the children who are the cowards, but Billings himself. When the Boogeyman comes back and begins harassing Billings, he moves his son into his own room, making him a sacrifice to the monster.

John Renshaw is a cold-hearted assassin who travels the world to kill people for money. Renshaw is a very cautious man, never opening a package he does not recognize without caution. However, all the caution in the world could never be enough this time. Renshaw receives a package from the toy company that belongs to a man he just killed. In the package is a toy soldier set that includes tanks, helicopters, and bombs. The soldiers are animated, declaring war on Renshaw. Renshaw is shocked, unable to react until the pain of the tiny weapons makes its way through the shock.

Renshaw begins fighting the tiny soldiers but finds it difficult to fight these tiny creatures while they are bombarding him with bullets and bombs. Renshaw hides in the bathroom, but the soldiers make a hole in the door and get through to him. Renshaw decides to sneak into the living room behind the soldiers and launch a sneak attack. Unfortunately, Renshaw does not know that they have a thermonuclear weapon. Renshaw's fire bomb sets the weapon off and kills him.

Jim Norman is a young teacher who has only recently finished his training. During his first assignment after graduation, Norman had a nervous breakdown, leaving him unable to work for a time. However, Norman has recovered and is happy to be working again. The first few months of his new job go well, with the only dark cloud that of a class full of delinquents who would rather be somewhere else. Norman is also having bad dreams, mostly based around the murder of his brother Wayne when they were children. However, they are only dreams and do not affect his real life.

After Christmas, Norman learns one of his students in his Living with Literature class has died. In his place, a new student has been assigned to the class. This young man has an uncanny resemblance to one of the boys who killed Wayne. A few weeks later, another student dies and is replaced with another boy who is definitely the same boy who attacked Norman while his brother attempted to defend him. Finally a third boy disappears and is replaced by the leader of the boys who killed Wayne. Norman is unsure about what is happening, but knows that he must stop these boys. He contacts the police in the town where Wayne was killed and learns all three of these boys are dead. Norman begins to read a book about demons, hoping to find a way to stop these boys from murdering him like they did Wayne. Unfortunately, Norman is not able to stop them before they kill his wife, but he does conjure a demon to help him get rid of the boys. Now Norman has to worry about how to stop the demon.

Stan Norris is a tennis pro who spent time in prison and therefore has few options in career choices. That is why it is unfortunate that he has fallen in love with one of his clients who happens to be married to a mobster. The mobster will not let his wife go. Norris has come to try to convince him to allow the woman to go. The mobster suggests a wager. If Norris can safely walk the ledge around his building, he will allow him and his wife to go. Norris does, but the mobster is not through with Norris. The mobster wants Norris to believe the mobster has found his wife and killed her. Norris gets control of the gun the mobster's man was holding on him and forces the mobster out onto the ledge. Now Norris is waiting for him to return, not confident he ever will.

Dick Morrison is an advertising executive who smokes and lives a life that is full of stress. Morrison runs into an ex-colleague and learns that he has stopped smoking. The man offers Morrison a card for the company that helped him and assures Morrison that it will change his life. Morrison goes to the company out of curiosity, only to discover that the company's success is based on threats against the client's family members. When Morrison smokes a single cigarette, the company steals his wife out of their home and submits her to momentary shocks.

Morrison sticks to the program, afraid for his wife and child. Morrison never would have quit on his own otherwise, was not determined to follow this program until he learned the consequences. Now Morrison is a changed man, closer to his wife and child than ever before, and smoke free. Now Morrison gives the card to another man, determined to get the company off his back and to leave him and his family alone.

Larry is the personification of the modern man. Larry is career driven, spending so much time on advancing his career that he has lost his wife and lost touch with his sister. Larry and his sister were once very close, but now his sister does not even know his current address. After his sister dies in a fall, Larry receives a letter from her that reminds him of a time when he saved her life after a ladder crumbled while she was climbing it. The letter tells Larry that she wished she had not survived that fall, that he had not piled hay up to save her. Larry reads the letter and sees it as a cry for help that he missed because she did not have his proper address and the letter was delayed. Now Larry realizes what is important in life and hopes to never forget it again.

Johnny's mother is dying of cancer. Johnny visits her every night and sometimes sneaks her aspirins because the doctors do not seem capable of giving her enough medication to cover her pain. Johnny has been forced to watch his mother wither away and he is no longer able to do it without drinking before arriving at the hospital. Johnny has found some pills that he knows will kill his mother and debates whether or not he can give them to her. Johnny eventually does, hoping that the medication will put her out of her misery at last.

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