Stephen King’s Famous Work: The Shining

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

 In Stephen King’s famous work, The Shining, King deals with how our past relationships affect us. King shows this in how his characters interact with one another. All of his characters in the novel come from a rough background. All of the hardships the character faced in the past ultimately leads them to do the things they did at the hotel. It was evident that the ghosts from the character’s past haunted each and every one of them.

The novel starts off with a job interview with one of the main characters, Jack Torrence. Jack is applying to be the caretaker at the Overlook Hotel for the winter. The manager of the hotel, Ulhman, has his doubts about giving the job to Jack. Uhlman knows the story of how Jack got fired from his old job as a teacher after losing his temper and also that he is a recovering alcoholic. He wants Jack to understand that he and his family will be alone for the whole winter at the hotel with no one but each other. Uhlman then shares some of the history of the Overlook, he tells Jack how the caretaker of 1970-71 murdered his wife, two daughters, and then himself. After receiving the job Jack then takes a tour of the boiler room with Watson, the grandson of the original owner. Watson warns Jack to keep track of the boiler or it will build up and eventually explode.

While waiting for Jack to come home, Danny, Jack’s son is taken to a big building where there is lots of snow by his imaginary friend Tony. At the building, Danny gets chased by a mallet and sees the word Redrum. In one of the rooms of the building, he sees the corpse of a dead woman rotting away in a bathtub. Danny also thinks about how he fears his dad’s drinking problem. Danny believes that this could eventually lead to his parent’s divorce.

On the closing day for the Overlook, the Torrence family goes up to the Overlook where they Dick Halloran, the hotels’ chef. Halloran shows them the kitchen and the stocked pantries and warns them that there is no alcohol at the hotel. Halloran is aware that Danny can read minds and tells him the ability the hotel has is called “the shining”. Danny promises Halloran that if anything happened he’d give him a psychic call.

A couple of days after the hotel closes, Jack gets stung by wasps while on the roof. While on the roof he starts to think about how his father was abusive and starts to worry about losing his temper. Jack then starts to think about the time he lost his temper and broke Danny’s arm and the incident with the student that got him fired from his last job. He clears the wasps’ nest and gives it to Danny as a new decoration for his room.

Two weeks later Jack finds a scrapbook the shares the history of the Overlook from 1945-1967. The scrapbook contains an invitation to the grand opening. He also learns that the owner, Horace Derwent, used the hotel to organize crime connections. A couple of days later after learning some of the history of the hotel, Jack goes deep in thought about the love he held for his abusive father. After the snow begins to fall all of the phones go out, the only form of communication they have is the radio. During this time Jack is once again hitting the files of the Overlook and learning of its dark past. Jack is once again deep in thought about the time his father beat his mother with a cane. He goes throughout the evening still thinking about the incident with his father, while at Ullman’s office he hears the voice of his father telling to kill Wendy and Danny. On December first, Danny gets a vision that Redrum will happen tomorrow. Immediately after he gives Halloran a psychic call for help.

A great example of how our relationships in the past affect us is Jack. Throughout the book, the reader can tell how much Jack was struggling with his aggressive past and alcohol problems. The reason behind the aggression is how he grew up. Jack was raised by an abusive father, who would from time to time beat his mother and siblings. Once he got to the hotel and started reading and learning about what had happened at the hotel, it wasn’t hard for the “shining” to latch onto Jack. Especially since both were living in the past. He was angry at Wendy for not forgiving him for breaking Danny’s arm. He couldn’t stop thinking about his father and what he did to his family.

Not only does it show that the way we interact with others affects us but it shows how Jack has a lack of responsibility. Although what he went through with his family could be a reason for him being an alcoholic it isn’t the only one. Jack could never take responsibility for his actions. Breaking Danny’s arm was an accident in his head just like the incident with the student at his old school was too. He also blames Wendy for his alcoholism. In his mind, if she would just stop blaming him for different things everything would get better. His lack of responsibility ultimately ends in the boiler exploding and killing him.  

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