The Shining by Stephen King


The Shining, Stephen King’s third novel, published in 1977, established him as the preeminent author in the horror genre. The key character is Jack Torrance, a teacher and aspiring writer. Wendy is Jacks wife and Danny is their five-year-old son. Jack has a drinking problem, even worse, he becomes violent and can’t control his temper, even at times when he is sober.

Jack hurt Danny, breaking his arm, when he was drunk and then with other problems he stopped drinking. Just going on the wagon wasn’t enough to stabilize him, and at school he lost his temper with a student, hit him, and has lost his job.

A past drinking partner, who has influence at school and owns part of a winter resort, helps him find a job where he can get away from his problems. The Overlook Hotel, in the high mountains in Colorado, closes each winter and a job is open to stay at the hotel taking care of it’s sensitive boiler heating system and the hotels other needs. Jack gets the job.

He can take Wendy and Danny and they feel Jack will have the winter to have the time to do some writing and stay sober. The hotel is where the real trouble starts. Danny meets a Hallomann who is working on the hotel staff for the summer.

Hallomann recognizes that Danny has “the shine”, like he does but much stronger. The “shine” is the ability to see what other are thinking and see the future. Hallomann also knows that the hotel is evil, and that Danny will likely need him, so he tells him to send a message in the coming months if that happens and he leaves for Florida.

Everyone leaves, and the real problems begin. It is the hotel itself that is evil.  In the decades of it’s history many people have lost their lives in the hotel and terrible things have happened. All the events seem to be coexisting in one place and time and the hotel wants Danny and his powers. Jack is influenced to help them, and he is taken over by them, or probably more accurately stated, by the hotel itself.

It is no surprise that King brings a variety of scary situations to the plot. In the end Danny reaches out for Halloman’s help and evil is confronted.


Stephen King said that "When he went home from the hospital he watched the Titanic and he knew his IQ had been damaged" No one can say that King's Horror Genre doesn't make you think. The problem is often what you wind up thinking about!  .... (this quote used in the essay on Stephen King a Literary Influence in that section)

“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.” 

 “This inhuman place makes human monsters.”

“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”