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Puppet Masters Essay, Research Paper

PUPPET MASTERS The two novels Winter Moon and The Key To Midnight, written by Dean Koontz, havemany different things in common. For example, Koontz puts great detail into both books and hetries to portray the most realistic setting as possible; which in both books is the same setting in terms of the time period and lifestyle of the main characters. He uses a great deal of suspense inboth books leaving the reader hanging in between chapters. Also, he deals with the commonconflict of man versus himself which will be looked at in this essay. The essay will illustrate how Koontz uses this conflict as the main idea in both novels. Both deal with the common theme of mind control and human manipulation, though each in acompletely different way. One way is through telepathic mind control and the other throughdrugs, hypnosis, and the influence and control of powerful people and organizations. Koontzshows how people are puppets being controlled by more powerful people or beings, puppetmasters . First, in the novel Winter Moon, Koontz introduces an alien life form to the planet Earthand some of Earth s occupants. The alien takes over animate and inanimate objects through thepower of mind control. It uses sound waves and radio waves to hypnotize its subject. Thebeing is a power hungry force on a mission to control and become everything. To achieve it sgoal the alien form controls various animals in its surrounding area learning more and more eachtime it takes over a different animal though it can not quite master the control of a human mind. When the alien finally gets close to controlling John, an elderly man living on a ranchnear by, he commits suicide not allowing something to take over his mind. The character loseshis conflict of man against himself as he is not mentally strong enough to reject the intruder fromcontrolling his mind. He gives into fear and cannot go on living any more. Not knowing what will transpire over the next few weeks, a family from Los Angeles, ahusband, wife, and a young son, move into the ranch previously occupied by John. The family istrying to start a new life as they were previously faced with the tragedy of Steve, the father,winding up almost dead after a gun fight while on duty as a police officer. The family, justhaving been challenged emotionally and mentally, will soon have to face their fears andovercome another major mental obstacle in order to survive and get on with their lives. Knowing that Toby, the young boy, is the most vulnerable in the family, the alien formgoes after him first. The alien uses sound waves and television signals to try to influence him. Toby has to reject the suggestions of the alien and not give into it or else the alien life form willbecome Toby. Koontz uses this to show that the most vulnerable and most influenced minds arethose minds of young, immature children. Toby goes into trances for long periods of time communicating with the alien. It learnsfrom Toby but at the same time Toby learns from it. All the while the alien is telling Toby togive in. The boy can reject the alien suggestions at first but as time goes by it becomes harderand harder for him. This can be taken that the more something is told to someone andhammered into their head, the harder it becomes for the person to resist something and sooner orlater they will break and give in. The alien goes after both of Toby s parents but they resist much easier than their son doesthough it becomes increasingly harder each time. They both fear that their son will not be ableto resist much longer and they decide to get out but not before a big winter storm hits leaving

them stranded and miles away from any form of civilization with the power knocked out. Soonthe boy will have to face the ultimate battle, which is going on in his head, in order to defeat thecreature and be freed from it. Koontz uses a dramatic ending to the novel as a final confrontation occurs between thealien and the boy. The boy uses what he has learned from the alien to take control over the thinghimself. In the end it works and the creature is defeated. The boy overcame his fears and theinfluence of the creature on his mind in order to survive. In the second novel, The Key To Midnight, Koontz uses a different approach to mindcontrol. Throughout the novel hypnosis is used as one of the main tools to influence someone toremember something from their past or to shape the persons mind in order to create falsememories and characteristics in someone. Koontz shows how hypnosis can be either a good orbad tool, depending on the person in control of it, as it is used in both good and bad ways. First, Koontz uses it in a bad way as a doctor uses hypnosis to create false memories in awoman named Joanne to make her someone she is not. The doctor implants memories andsuggestions into her subconscious mind in order to control her life. He totally erases part of herearlier life so that she will never remember her past again. Later in the book, another doctor uses hypnosis in order Joanne to remember who sheonce was and a life which she once had. It works to reveal part of her past including how shebecame the person she is now and who the people who did this to her were. The whole book centers around how Joanne lost her old life and the personal obstaclesthat she has to overcome in order to find her old life and move on. This is made easy for herbecause throughout the book the main characters are puppets being controlled by very powerfulpeople in order to accomplish their dirty work. Joanne s life had been programmed into her mind with the use of powerful mind drugsand hypnosis. Certain thing have been programmed into her to ensure that she doesn t leaveher present location in Japan and so that she does not reveal her past which has been hiddenaway somewhere in her head. When ever she becomes close to someone it becomes impossiblefor her to keep the relationship going and she breaks it off. If Joanne ever tries to leave thecountry she becomes sick and passes out leaving no hope of ever traveling outside of Japan. Through the use of hypnosis, the support of a detective named Jack, and the will of herself sheovercomes these barriers. As Joanne gets nearer to finding her past the obstacles become larger but at the sametime she becomes more and more determined. With the help of Alex and a doctor usinghypnosis, she discovers her past and is freed from the puppet masters which were controllingand running her life. But as Joanne discovers her past, she and Alex discover that all along theyhad been programmed to find her past and that they had been puppets in a larger game beingplayed out. What happened to them was all planned and programmed into them unknowingly. Koontz also brings in powerful groups including the CIA and KGB In the book, they alsohelp in controlling the fate of the two main characters, Alex and Joanne. No matter what theydid they could not escape the control of someone or something else on them. Though, at the endof the book, Koontz turns the tables on everyone and gives some control to Alex and Joanne. Koontz used two completely different story lines in the two novels but each had acommon theme: man versus himself with the focus being on the battle going on in one selvesmind. He shows how people can be control and manipulated and if they aren t strong enoughmentally to say no than they will become puppets controlled by someone else.

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