The Running Man by Stephen King

Group Members:
Dustin P
Jeff S
Davis B
Nate P
Abbie H
Andy D
Nissa F*

Discussion Time:
Thursday January 7th 2W 7:55-9:25

Dustin P
Jeff S- Mary Stuart made Coffee Cake
Davis B- Dunkin D
Nate P
Abbie H- Brownies :)
Andy D

* After Book Group Meeting:

Using the discussion tab again, each student must post at least one thoughtful comment about the discussion or continuing a comment from the discussion as well as thoughtfully respond to the comment of another student. These must be posted no later than January 10.

* Book Group Meeting Requirements:

Each student must participate actively in the discussion. This means raising questions, responding to the comments of others, finding evidence to support or negate comments by others, and generally contributing to the discussion so that it is a thoughtful, respectful, intellectually challenging, and interesting experience for all involved. Please see the rubrics linked under "Student Evaluation" on this home page for more specific information.

~ Agenda ~

Discussion Facilitator: Dustin

Participants Names:
Dustin P
Jeff S
Davis B
Nate P
Abbie H
Andy D
Nissa F*

Clarifying Questions:

Why did you choose to read the Running Man?
What was your favorite part?
What was your least favorite part?
What did you think of the book overall?
Alright, so I wish that they explained the nose filters a little better, because I didn't know what to picture as far as how they are implanted in the nose, how they work, and how Bradley was able to build one using cheap/stolen mechanisms. What did you picture a nose filter to be like, look like, and function like?


Ben Richards- How has Ben's view on Kilian and the Hunters changed from the moment he walked into the Games Corporation to the end?
How is Ben impacted by other characters that help him along his escape?
Why do you think that Ben was not impressed by auto-pilot when Holloway and Duniger explained it to him?
Sheila Richards- I wonder if she anticipated that Ben was going to eventually make it into one of the Game competitions?
Cathy Richards
Dan Killian- As the novel progresses does Dan start to root for Ben?
Evan McCone- How did he become the "chief of the hunters"? (From what I saw and heard of him in the novel, his role as a hunter didn't seem all that impressive or leader-worthy)
Why does the Network portray McCone as "A boogeyman?"
The Hunters- I wonder how they were selected to become hunters... seeing as Ben Richards was offered a job as a hunter for surviving "The Running Man" (were they all former "running men")?
Charlie Grady
The Cops/Troopers- How did those men become cops? (They were given one of the privileged jobs, whereas the remaining majority of the population are either unemployed are work one of the under-privileged jobs.)
Bobby Thompson
Arthur Burns
Laughlin Jansky- How long did you expect Laughlin to last in the "Running Man" Game? Were you surprised he died before Richards?
Crowd of People- How much of the booing and mean/offensive comments do you think were real? Would you be a part of a crowd like that on a game show if you were given the chance?
Molie Jernigan- What did you think of his character? Would you consider him a "good guy" or a "bad guy"?
Bradley's strong fatherly influence on Stacey keeps him, for the most part, out of trouble (drugs, alcohol etc.) Do you think that if Ben Richard's had that kind of a role-model and fatherly figure, that he might have become a different person?
Bradley-Friend and helper of Ben along the road, as well as his brother Stacey
Bobby and Mary Cowles
Elton Parrakis
Virginia Parrakis- What did you think about her reaction to Ben? Would you have called the cops in a similar situation?
Boy w/ Dog- I was surprised he was so willing to talk to and offer to help a ragged-looking stranger!
Amelia Williams- How would you react if a hitchhiker/enemy of the state broke into your car at a stop sign and held you at gun-point?
Flight Captain Don Holloway
Co-pilot Wayne Duninger
Kippy Friedman
Donahue- Do you think, based on his reactions to Ben's rude comments, that Donahue was a homosexual and was offended?
Hotel Clerks
Taxi Driver- One of the self-centered types of people that wants to take advantage of others for their own gain (taking a picture of Ben and wanting to brag to the whole world about it.) Would you act like the taxi driver, or would you give your passenger (in this case Ben,) a ride without hassling him?
Games Doctors- I wonder if they believe in the concept of the Games (killing off the weaker of the human race for entertainment purposes)?
Games Secretaries - Do you think they are selected because they are considered the more attractive end of the female spectrum - almost to tempt the men and encourage them to put their lives on the line for the Game?
Games Test/Exam Supervis


The narration of this book is in a third person view.- Would the story have been better/more interesting if it was in the view of Ben Richards?


Ben Richard's Appartment
The streets south of the Canal
Co-Op City
The Network Games Building- Did it surprise you that it was the tallest building in the city?
Molie Jernigan's Shop/Store- Were you surprised the Molie was willing to help Ben? Do you think he helped him just for the money (personal gain,) or because he supported Ben and hoped he would survive?
The Brant Hotel
The streets of New York City
The Boston Y.M.C.A. - If you were in a situation similar to Ben, would you make the decision to stay in a nasty place like that?
The Sewer- What did you think of Ben's escape through the sewage system? (kind-of daring considering that he could have gotten stuck and died in the pipes- plus I thought he would be part of the explosion when the YMCA was blown up)
Bradley and Stacey's House
The Highway
The Winthrop House Hotel
The Library
The streets of Portland
Elton Parrakis's House
An abandoned Mall
Voigt Field in Derry, Maine
Inside the Jet Plane


Sacrifice is a theme in this novel, In what ways did sacrifice help citizens through this novel?
The individual vs. "the higher power" was a theme in this novel- Do you think that the individual (Ben Richards) had any personal rights/freedoms/power, or did the Games Network control all aspects of life?

Style of Writing:

Why do you think the chapters of the book were structured to count down from "Minus 100 and Counting" down to "Minus 000 and Counting"?
Why do you think that Stephen King decided to use a pseudonym to write under for this book?
A Book about Stephen King's pseudonym

What did you think about the way in which Bachman/King explained the situation of Ben approaching the Voigt Airfield as a five-card stud game of poker? (pg. 234-236 - Minus 035 and Counting Chapter)

Significant Passages:

"You don't really have a chance; nobody does with a whole nation in on the manhunt and with the incredibly sophisticated equipment and training that the Hunters have. But if you stay low, you'll last longer. Use your legs instead of any weapons you happen to pick up. And stay close to your own people." (pg 74).

Bradley: "...If we doan (SIC) stick out our necks for our own, they got us. No need to wait for the air. We could just as well run a pipe from the stove to the livin (SIC) room, turn on the Free-Vee and wait."
Richards: ""Someone'll (SIC) kill you. Someone will stool on you and you'll end up on the basement floor with your guts beat out. Or Stacey. Or Ma."
Bradley: "...A bad day is comin, (SIC) though. A bad day for the maggots with their guts full of roast beef. I see blood on the moon for them. Guns and torches. A mojo that walks and talks."
Richards: "People have been seeing those things for two thousand years."
Bradley: "...An when they get you, take a few along" (150-151).

"'What if I could go up?' he asked, and gestured with his head toward the ceiling and the eighty stories above the ceiling. 'Who could I kill up there? Who could I kill if I went right to the top?'" (pg 75).

"All over Harding, Free-Vees went white with interference and people stared at them with stupid, fearful incredulity. The thunder filled the world. Killian looked up from his desk and stared into the wall-to-wall window that formed one entire side of the room...The entire window was filled with an on-coming Lockheed TriStar jet...and for just a moment, an insane moment of total surprise and horror and disbelief, he could see Richard's staring out at him. His face smeared with blood, his black eyes burning like the eyes of a demon. Richards was grinning. And giving him the finger. "--Jesus--" was all Killian had time to get out...Healing over slightly, the Lockheed struck the Games Building dead on, three quarters of the way up" (316-317).

"When the Games first started, people said they were the world's greatest entertainment because there had never been anything like them. But nothing's that original. There were the gladiators in Rome who did the same thing. And there's another game, too. Poker. In poker the highest hand is a royal straight-flush in spades. And the toughest kind of poker is five-card stud. Four cards up on the table and one in the hole. For nickels and dimes anyone can stay in the game. It costs you maybe half a buck to see the other guy's hole card. But when you push the stakes up, the hole card starts to look bigger and bigger. After a dozen rounds of betting, with your life;s savings and car and house on the line, that hole card stands taller than Mount Everest. The Running Man is like that. Only I'm not supposed to have any money to bet with. They've got the men, the firepower, and the time. We're playing with their cards and their chips in their casino. When I'm caught, I'm supposed to fold. But maybe I stacked the deck a bit. I called the newsie line in Rockland. The newsies, that's my ten of spades. They had to give me safe conduct, because everyone was watching. There were no more chances for neat disposal after that first roadblock. It's funny, too, because it's the Free-Vee that gives the Network the clout that it has. If you see it on the Free-Vee, it must be true. So if the whole country saw the police murder my hostage-- a well-to-do, middle-class female hostage-- they would have to believe it. They can't risk it; the system is laboring under too much suspension of belief now. Funny, huh? My people are here. There's been trouble on the road already. If the troppers and the Hunters turn all their guns on us, something nasty might happen. A man told me to stay near my own people. He was more right than he knew. One of the reasons they've been handling me with the kid gloves on is because my people are here.
"My people, they're the jack of spades.
"The queen, the lady in the affair, is you.
"I'm the king, the black man with the sword.
"These are my up cards. The media, the possibility of real trouble, you, me. Together they're nothing. A pair will take them. Without the ace of spades it's junk. With the ace, it's unbeatable."
"I haven't got the ace," he said softly... (pg 234-235)

"The explosion was tremendous, lighting up the night like the wrath of God, and it rained fire twenty blocks away." (pg 317).

Outside Resources:

* Movie Trailer...
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards

The Running Man Trailer
The Running Man Movie Poster

* Stephen King Biography (w/ Richard Bachman Biography)...
Stephen King

Book Covers-

RUNNIN1.jpg RUNNING.jpg Running_man_2.jpg


Interesting Review Websites:

Discussion Protocols:

1. Everyone should pick his or her favorite scene from the book and explain why it's his or her favorite.

2. Each person states what he or she liked and did not like/understand about the book.

3. Lets all write some comments/questions about all of the major characters in the above list

4. If you can, everyone should find at least one significant passage in the book that struck him/her and type it with the other ones

5. Also, anything you can contribute in terms of outside resources (about Stephen King, "The Running Man" Movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger interview, etc.)

- Introduce Ourselves (have the community member introduce themselves)
- Let the community member start the conversation if they wish to bring something up right away

DISCUSSION OUTLINE... (Remember: The conversation should last for a full 90 min. = so be prepared to share your thoughts/ideas and respond to others)

1. Discuss favorite scenes.

2. Discuss opinion on book.

3. Go over questions brought up on the wiki page (under "Character" heading, "Clarifying Questions" heading, "Narration" heading, "Writing Style" heading, and Discussion tab)

4. Talk about the theme(s)/motif(s) brought up in the book and where they're shown.

5. Are the Games a random act of human cruelty or a repeating act of human nature?

6. Where could it be shown in this book that, like books, people shouldn't always be judged by their covers?

7. Discuss the ending of the book.

8. Discuss Themes/Motifs, Significant Passages, and Outside Resources (movie/movie trailer & reviews)

9. Any extra/open time can be filled with other questions, comments, concerns, feedback from the community member etc.