The Elevator Summary, Theme by William Sleator

The Elevator Summary, Theme by William Sleator

The Elevator Summary

The story “The Elevator” is about a 12 year old boy named Martin who recently moved into a new apartment complex and was scared to go on the elevator. So, he thought of taking the stairs instead. But the dull and stuffy atmosphere around the stairs made him gasp for breath when he reached his floor.

His father was confused as to why Martin was breathing so hard but when he came to know the reason behind, he called his boy a coward. So, to escape the taunt of his father and his classmates, he decided to overcome the fear of the elevator.

The elevator could only fit three people in it and it was claustrophobic too. Somehow, irrespective of all odds, he tried to get used to the elevator but meeting with a strange looking fat lady at the elevator stirred his mind to a great extent.

He started meeting the lady every day and the lady used to stare at him, doing nothing. To avoid this scary situation, he ran for the stairs but accidentally he fell and broke one of his legs. Witnessing Martin’s injury, his father got angry at his son’s cowardice. He took him to a hospital where the doctor told him to take plenty of rest.

While returning home, his father was accompanying him in the elevator and so he was relaxed as he was not alone anymore. But suddenly his father got out of the elevator at the ninth floor as he had to visit Mrs Ullman.

Martin tried to accompany his father but his father left him alone in the elevator. As soon as his father left, the elevator stopped at tenth floor from where the fat lady boarded. She greeted him and laughed at him and the story ended there suddenly, leaving the readers wonder about what would happen next.

The Elevator About the Author William Sleator

William Warner Sleator was born on February 13, 1945, in Havre de Grace, Maryland, but raised in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. An early age he played the piano and composed music. After graduating from Harvard University, he moved to England, where he played the piano at London’s Royal Ballet School. He then returned to the United States and worked at the Boston Ballet while simultaneously writing. His first book, The Angry Moon.

When Sleator began his writing career, he often included experiences he had gone through and people he knew. For example, the cottage in Blackbriar (1972), his first full-length young adult novel involving the supernatural, was modeled on a creepy old cottage that he had visited while in England. As Sleator’s career progressed, however, he began relying more fully on his imagination and turned more toward the creative pursuit of science-fiction themes blended with horror or suspense.

Sleator’s best-known book is House of Stairs. A science-fiction work about mind control and conformity, House of Stairs also broaches the larger subjects of the moral and ethical aspects of science, government interference in people’s lives, and the nature of violence.

Some of Sleator’s other books include The Duplicate, Rewind, about a boy who gets to go back in time over and over in order to prevent his death and The Boy Who Couldn’t Die, about a boy who sells his soul for immortality. His last book, The Phantom Limb, written with Ann Monticone, was published in 2011. Sleator died on August 3, 2011, in Bua Chet, Thailand.

The Elevator Theme

The story “Elevator” is a kind of horror story where a little boy whose name was Martin, had a fear of elevators. There was an elevator in his building in which Martin did not want to get in but he always had to because he did not want to be tagged as a coward. His father used to get angry at his son’s behaviour and thus instead of taking the stairs, which was dull and stuffy too, he took the elevator. One day, he met a strange, fat lady at the elevator whose eerie appearance left a deep impression in his life.

Martin did not want to be face to face with the lady but somehow he always had to. It seemed that the lady was obsessed with Martin. Her presence, used to make Martin terribly afraid. To escape her, Martin took the stairs but broke his leg. His father accompanied him to the doctor where he was advised to take plenty of rest.

When they reached home, his father was with him in the elevator so he was relaxed. But suddenly the scenario changed and at 9th floor, Martin’s father left the elevator to meet Mrs Ullman and once again Martin was alone in it. At 10th floor, the elevator stopped and the lady barged in. Her presence once again made Martin stir from inside and at that moment the story ended abruptly, giving a sense of utmost fear.

The Elevator Title of the Story

The story ‘The Elevator” is one of the masterpieces of William Sleator in which he portrayed how panic and fear can cause serious damages to one’s body and mind. Here we can see little boy whose name was Martin, had a fear of elevators. There was an elevator in his building in which Martin did not want to get in but he always had to because he did not want everybody calling him a coward.

He tried taking stairs once but it did not go well as the stairs were not well-maintained. So, he had no other alternative but to take the elevator. One day, while he was in the elevator, he met a strange, fat lady at the elevator whose frightening appearance left a deep impression in his life. Martin did not want to be face to face with the lady but somehow he always had to.

He wanted to escape her so he again thought of taking the stairs but this thought did not go well as he broke his leg. When he returned home from the hospital, he again met the strange lady in the elevator when he was alone there. Her horrifying appearance made him shiver in fear and the story ended just then, abruptly. Therefore, the whole story started, proceeded and ended in an elevator that gave life-changing experience to Martin. So, the title of the story is apt.

The Elevator About the Story

The short story “The Elevator” is a kind of a horror story of William Sleator. The story portrays a 12 year old boy named Martin, who had a morbid fear about elevators, especially the creaky, old elevator of his apartment building.

This story shows us the fear of this thin kid who though did not like taking elevators, eventually had to because the condition of the stairs were bad. When the story further goes on, we can see how Martin dealt with his fear and the consequences he had to face within.

The Elevator Main Points to Remember

  • This is a kind of horror story that deals with the fear of 12 year old boy named Martin.
  • Martin did not like taking the elevator of his building because it was kind of scary to him. Though he tried taking the stairs once, the stuffy environment around made him uncomfortable too.
  • His father’s rebuke made him take the elevator and tried to get used to it.
  • Once a strange thing happened to him. While he was in the elevator, he met with a fat lady. Her appearance made him afraid of her. She never took her eyes off him.
  • He told this to his father but his father did not pay any heed to him.
  • This same incident started to occur every day whenever Martin was in the elevator. Martin felt panicky and out of panic he once again took the stairs one day and fell.
  • One of his legs were broken and Martin’s father was very much disappointed with the cowardice of his son.
  • When Martin got release from the hospital, he again had to take the elevator alone and again had to meet the fat lady, who, it seemed was waiting for his arrival. The story ended on a scary note.

The Elevator Annotations and Vocabulary

Gasping — to breathe loudly and with difficulty
Waddled — a person or animal with short legs and a fat body
Squeak — to make a short, very high cry or sound
Crutches — a long stick with a crosspiece at the top, used as a support under the armpit
Slept — be in a state of sleep
Slammed — to shut forcibly and noisily
Disappointed — unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected
Coward — a person who is not brave and is too eager to avoid danger
Crazy — stupid or not reasonable
Ashamed — feeling guilty or embarrassed about something you have done
Nightmare — a very upsetting or frightening dream
Pudgy — slightly fat
Elevator — a platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things to different levels
Trembled — to shake slightly in a way that you cannot control
Squeeze — to press something firmly, especially from all sides in order to change its shape
Stairs — a set of steps that lead from one level to another, in a building
Pleaded — to make an urgent, emotional statement or request for something
Struggling — unsuccessful but trying hard to succeed

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