Suffer the Little Children

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Suffer the Little Children” by Stephen King. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Suffer the Little Children”
Author: Stephen King
Published in: Cavalier
Date of Publication: 1972
Genre: Short story

Stephen King (b. 1947) is an American writer, popular for his preference for literary genres like horror and supernatural fiction. Many of his books are bestsellers and some have been adapted into films. Some of his most well-known works are Carrie, The Shining, and Misery.


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The ending includes the falling action in which we find out Miss Sidley is sent to a mental institution without a trial: “The State Legislature called for more stringent teacher exams, Summer Street School closed for a week of mourning, and Miss Sidley went quietly to juniper Hill in Augusta.”

The resolution takes place a year later as Miss Sidley begins therapy with small children. After an initial period when she seems to get along with the children, she later asks to be taken away and then kills herself: “That night Miss Sidley cut her throat with a bit of broken mirror-glass...” 

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Suffer the Little Children

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