What Is a Summary of “The Body” by Stephen King?

“The Body” is a Stephen King novella set during the 1960s a few short weeks before summer vacation ends for the four protagonists, a group of young boys in rural America who set out to find and recover the corpse of another 12-year old boy. A coming-of-age story, “The Body” focuses on the love between friends and what they learn and lose as they cross over the threshold to maturity.

Although most novels and short stories about transitioning from childhood to manhood focus on love and sexual awakening, Stephen King chooses to focus “The Body” on a group of boys’ first encounter with death. The boys are also tangentially aware that the upcoming school year marks a divide between them. Gordie, the narrator, is likely to continue on to college prep courses while the other three enroll in shop courses. As the boys sneak out over the weekend and journey to find the dead boy’s body, they confront their demons. Not all of them are successful, and it is implied that their failures ultimately have long-reaching effects on their lives.

“The Body” also concerns itself with Gordie’s development as a future writer. The novella is told in a nonlinear fashion, as Gordie’s adult self comments on events and his younger self struggles to gain control over the chaos in his life.