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Literature / The Shining

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"This inhuman place makes human monsters."

A 1977 horror novel by Stephen King. His third published novel, it was his first to become a bestseller as a hardcover, and established King as a preeminent author in the horror genre.

Jack Torrance has taken a job as winter caretaker of the illustrious Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains, during the months when it snows too much for guests to visit. In spite of the hotel's grisly backstory, Jack really needs this job; after having lost his teaching position for assaulting a student, finances are tight and his already-strained marriage is on the rocks. His wife Wendy, who still remembers when Jack broke their son Danny's arm after getting drunk one night and trying to spank him, has been contemplating getting a divorce. Five-year-old Danny, meanwhile, has been experiencing strange visions and keeps knowing things he shouldn't know.

But Jack is optimistic, and a little desperate, for this new job to work out. The isolation will give his marriage a chance to mend and give him time to write that play he's always wanted to write. Too bad the hotel has other plans for him and his family.

In 1980, it was loosely adapted into a feature film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. Though quite different from the original, the film has become a classic in its own right. Still, Stephen King was irritated at the changes (while remaining lukewarm-to-positive about the film overall), and it was more faithfully remade as a 1997 miniseries starring Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay. It was met with overwhelmingly positive critical reception upon release, but has become increasingly scrutinized over the years (partly for perhaps being too faithful to the source material) and is nowadays regarded by both fans and critics as being inferior to the 1980 film.

King released a sequel titled Doctor Sleep in late 2013, and Mike Flanagan adapted the novel to film in 2019. It stars Ewan McGregor as the now-grown Danny Torrance and represents something of an attempt to synthesize the original Shining novel, the Kubrick film adaptation and Doctor Sleep.

Contains the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Jack's father was a violent Domestic Abuser, who also beat up his kids regularly.
    • Wendy's mother abused her emotionally - and still does so, making Wendy feel like an inadequate mother.
    • Jack also accidentally broke Danny's arm - while trying to spank him for misbehaving. Later Defied, as Jack is horrified by what he does to Danny.
  • The Alcoholic Domestic Abuser: Jack is/was trying very hard not to be this, because he doesn't want to be like his dad.note 
  • The Alleged Car: The Torrance's beat up old Volkswagen, which is basically falling apart by the time Jack gets the caretaker job. They plan to retire it once they reach the Overlook, and use the hotel truck for trips to Sidewinder until the snow comes.
  • Anti-Alcohol Aesop: The book was conceived as a way of discussing the destructive effects of alcoholism, based on Stephen King's own struggles with it. The book emphasizes that Jack Torrance (who King based heavily on himself) is a good man who became corrupted by drinking, with his relapse during the book's events leaving him vulnerable to the Overlook Hotel's influence. Part of King's mixed feelings towards the 1980 film adaptation stem from how much it downplays this aspect, instead depicting Jack as an abusive husband whose alcoholism is just one component of his toxicity.
  • Anti-Villain: Jack Torrance could be considered one.
  • Animal Motifs: Wasps and a wasps nest for the ghosts and the hotel they reside in.
  • Arc Words: "Unmask! Unmask!"; "REDRUM"; "Come down here and take your medicine!", "The Red Death held sway over all!"
  • Asshole Victim: The ghosts of the hotel were generally unpleasant even when they were alive. Justified, as it's revealed in Doctor Sleep that the only people who linger in the mortal world after death are those who know there's something worse waiting for them in the afterlife for their crimes.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: The hotel's powers animate the topiary animals outside the hotel, as well as an old-fashioned fire extinguisher that menaces Danny.
  • Ax-Crazy: Though it's more like Mallet Crazy.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jack is well educated and an excellent author, but has some serious brawling ability behind it.
  • Benevolent Boss: Jack Torrance gives Al Shockley every reason to fire him after Jack calls Stuart Ullman threatening to write what amounts to a smear job on his hotel. It is not just a danger to Shockley's investment, but a personal betrayal from a dear friend that he'd bent over backwards to help. He does not fire Jack, knowing the effect it will have on the Torrance family.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hallorann attempts this. Unlike in the movie where he is killed for his efforts, he does survive, though not without Jack shattering his jaw.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack dies, but Wendy, Danny, and Hallorann escape and the Overlook is destroyed. An epilogue shows them with Hallorann at his new job in less-threatening mountains. Wendy is recovering from the back injuries Jack gave her with the roque club (while possessed) and Danny is still traumatized, though they are getting better.
  • Break the Cutie: The entire plot is pretty much an extended Trauma Conga Line to Danny.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Danny wets his pants during several instances of extreme stress or terror, most notably when confronted with the thing in the bathtub of Room 217.
  • Canon Welding: Several of King's later works have entities very similar to the Hotel itself. To say nothing of the occasional references to the events of the book in other works.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Astonishingly, this is how Jack feels after being allowed to keep his job by Al Shockley, in spite of his behavior absolutely justifying his termination as caretaker. Instead of being grateful for avoiding a devastating and self-inflicted disaster, he stews in resentment of Al for requiring, as a condition of his continued employment, that Jack not write a potentially damaging exposè on the Overlook Hotel. It's implied that Jack's behavior is partially caused by the hotel already beginning to influence him, drawing on his simmering resentment of (what he feels is) Shockley lording his position over Jack like a wealthy benefactor would over an artist on retainer.
  • Can't Move While Being Watched: The topiary animals outside the hotel, which are brought to life by the hotels' power, only stalk their prey when said prey turns around or otherwise blocks his line of sight. When Jack notices the animals slowly sneaking up on him every time he turns his gaze away from them, he compares their behaviour with "Red Light", a game from his childhood.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: A rescue party from Sidewinder comes to Hallorann, Wendy and Danny's aid, too late to help with Possessed!Jack, but in time to get them safely back to civilization, and with medical aid for the injured Hallorann and Wendy.
  • Central Theme: The Shining portrays the scary thought that someone you love and trust can suddenly change for the worse and do something horrible.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The handyman's spiel about the old, dangerous boiler and how the steam pressure has to be regularly released.
    Watson: If you forget it'll just creep an' creep, and like as not, you an' your fambly will end up on the fuckin moon.
  • Children Are Innocent: Danny is intelligent for his age, but is too young to understand a lot of the thoughts and feelings he picks up from people around him, such as a wealthy guest at the Overlook lusting after a bellboy. At one point, he admits to Hallorann how much this frustrates him.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: It's done by, surprisingly the Hotel itself. It's not uncommon in King's works to find the inhuman monster being so humanly vulgar.
  • Cool Old Guy: Hallorann, and Watson for a lesser extent.
  • The Corruption: The hotel can influence those with the titular "shining" by magnifying the inner resentments they feel into murderous insanity. Danny is immune to this because he is too young to have built up any such resentments, but Jack and Halloran aren't as lucky, although Halloran is able to shake off the hotel’s deadly influence. Sadly, Jack can’t do so.
  • Country Matters: At one point, Jack is described as having "a cunt of a headache". He also calls Wendy that a few times.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of the original novel shows the Overlook with a tower. The building's highest point is actually the attic, which is only accessible through a door in the ceiling on the third floor. Otherwise the highest point is the Presidential suite.
  • Creator Cameo: Stephen King appears in the 1997 adaptation as a bandleader.
  • Daddy's Girl: Wendy had a very close relationship with her father—her mother told her that this drove a wedge into their marriage as part of her emotional abuse.
  • Dark Secret: Jack's is first hinted at when Halloran probes him, along with Wendy, to see if he shines. Along with discovering that Jack "wasn't like meeting someone who had the shine, or someone who definitely did not", Halloran finds his psyche strange, as though he is holding him some — well, dark secret so deeply within himself that it is impossible to get to even for a psychic. As the novel progresses, Jack's secret fears and shames come to the fore as the hotel uses them along with the undeveloped shining he has to make him its agent of murder.
  • Deconstruction: The book takes the classic horror story problem of Why don't the characters leave when they're still able to do so? and gives some understandable reasons for why the family can't just flee the hotel when things start to get scary. It's not just the Overlook's remote location and the bad weather keeping them there; Jack is deathly afraid of unemployment and this caretaker job is his very last chance, since he had to call in several favours just to get the job. While he's already falling under the control of the hotel, his fear of living in poverty and trying to support his family on either a Soul-Sucking Retail Job or food stamps and church handouts is a very real and understandable one. At one point Jack starts working out how the family could logistically leave the Overlook before spring, reckoning they would have to pawn Wendy's engagement ring just to get enough money to make it to her mother in California, and he's already grimly aware that their marriage would not survive living there as his mother-in-law hates him and Wendy would become an emotional wreck from being under her mother's thumb. There really is nowhere else for them to go, so braving out the creepy surroundings until spring arrives and they can depart as planned, without burning their last bridge, truly does seem to be the best option.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Horace Derwent, to some extent. In the party scene in the book, Jack spots Derwent sadistically humiliating his lover Roger in front of the other ghostly guests.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Horace's lover Roger.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Danny "hears" a female hotel guest thinking that she'd like to get into a bellhop's pants...which leads to him wondering why she didn't just put on some pants of her own.
  • Door Stopper: Not quite as huge as The Stand or It, but still pretty hefty.
  • Drop the Hammer: Jack's weapon in the novel and miniseries is a roque mallet.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The narrative tone of this book is quite a bit more tight and literary than most of Stephen King's later stories. Compare its prose to the much looser and more casual prose in the sequel, Doctor Sleep.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Something is seen coming out of the Hotel as it burns up, before it dissolves into nothingness.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Wendy slept on the couch on the nights Jack stayed out late to drink.
  • Exposition Dump: The scrapbook Jack finds in the basement, which is full of newspaper clippings and articles on the hotel's history.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Jack Torrance, Grady, and probably a lot of other caretakers who got too comfortable with the Overlook over the years. However, there are no mentions of any of the caretakers besides Grady.
  • Face Realization: In-universe. As the Overlook distorts Jack's thinking, he starts admiring his abusive lout of a father, deciding it was his father's right to beat his wife and children anytime he wanted.
  • Fan Disservice: There are a pair of instances of undead people in bathtubs, and the way their nudity is described is particularly unappealing.
  • Faux Shadow: A character mentions a large picture window, how expensive it was to install, and to take care that it doesn't get broken. Rather disappointingly, it doesn't get broken until the hotel explodes.
  • Foreshadowing: References to the old, rather dangerous boiler that requires steam pressure to be manually relieved.
    • The wasps in the nest that Jack finds suddenly come alive and sting Danny just before the ghost activity kicks off in the hotel.
    • If you go through the first chapter with a highlighter, almost everything that later becomes a plot point is casually introduced through Jack's interview with Ullman and his tour with Watson.
  • For the Evulz: While they need Jack to kill Danny and Wendy, the ghosts of the Overlook have no qualms against messing with his mind for little more than kicks.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The lady in Room 217.
  • Game Face: "All right. No more masks."
  • Genius Loci: Yes, the hotel is infested with ghosts, but it seems that it's less the ghosts and more the hotel itself, which is implied to be both alive and VERY sadistic.
  • Give Away the Bride: When Wendy can't decide whether she should divorce Jack or not, she keeps thinking about this moment at their wedding. She was given away by her beloved father who died of a heart attack six months later.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Jack and his friend Al Shockley both quit drinking instantly after hitting a bike parked in the middle of the road one night while both of them were very drunk.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: When the Torrances are driving up the mountain in their unreliable VW Bug. Danny is confident that the car will make it. Wendy isn't and keeps her fingers crossed, Danny glances down and sees through her sandals that she crossed her toes as well.
  • Gorn: While the movie and miniseries avert this, the novel contains some quite horrific examples, especially in the climax. Special mention goes to the bit where Danny tries to break his father from the hotel's influence, only to have Jack become completely possessed and forced to slam his own face with the roque mallet several times until he is finally dead and the ghosts can take full control of his body.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Jack Torrance has one and it causes endless grief to everyone around him. His dad was even worse, because he'd lose his temper for no reason at all.
  • The Heartless: The Overlook itself is hinted at being an example. See Hive Mind below.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jack is temporarily returned to normal by his psychic son, Danny. Realizing what the hotel has done to him, Jack tells Danny that he loves him and tells him to escape while he still can. In the miniseries and operatic adaptation Jack regains control one last time to ensure the hotel goes boom.
  • Hell Hotel: The modern Trope Codifier.
  • Hidden Depths: Because Danny's parents are either fearful or disbelieving of his talents, he doesn't let on how strong his powers are, or how he can use them. He is also quite a bit more intelligent and mature than he lets on.
  • Hive Mind: The hotel's ghosts/psychic echo supposedly comprise one.
    • At one point it is compared to the collective group intelligence of a hive of pissed off wasps Hallorann saw in his youth. There is also a hive of wasps in the storyline itself, furthering the symbolism.
    • When Danny enters room 217 in the novel, he tries to read the mind of the infamous bathtub lady. The experience is compared to sticking your hand inside a wasps' nest.
  • Honorary Uncle: Danny refers to Jack's friend Al Shockley as "Uncle Al".
  • Hope Spot: The first few months at the hotel seems like a new beginning for the Torrances. Jack's play is coming along, the rift between Jack and Wendy is mending, and the difficulties of the past three years seem to be fading. Then the snow comes...
    • A darker example occurs while Jack is in the equipment shed. Tasked with getting his family away from the hotel, he has to find the snowmobile's battery in order for it to function. He really does not want to do it, and he starts to feel relief when he doesn't see it... and then, he does. This upsets him so badly that he intentionally sabotages the vehicle.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In one chapter, Jack realizes he's being manipulated by the hotel, but changes his mind and blames things on his son. He understood quite well what was happening. He also realized at that point it was too late, and just how deep the hotel's claws had sunk into his mind. Kind of like a self loathing alcoholic who knows he's fallen off the wagon, but feels he's too far gone to even try anymore. Blaming his son was just his way of shifting the blame for his own failure from himself.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Danny to Jack. Jack manages to come through long enough to tell Danny that he loves him very much and begs him to run away, before the hotel, in a very brutal fashion, erases what little there was left of Jack's soul.
  • Info Dump: The scrapbook found in the basement is a rather enjoyable example.
  • In Medias Res: The story begins as Jack's job interview is wrapping up.
  • Innocent Swearing: When Danny and Wendy talk about the family car:
    Danny: Do you think the bug will break down?
    Wendy: No, I don't think so.
    Danny: Dad said it might. He said the fuel pump was all shot to shit.
    Wendy: Don't say that, Danny.
    Danny: (surprised) Fuel pump?
  • Ironic Echo: In the miniseries, "That's what I've been missing".
  • I See Dead People: Numerous and varied.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Mr. Ullman, the hotel manager, may be an "officious little prick," but he is quite right that hiring Jack Torrance, an abusive alcoholic, as the winter caretaker is a bad idea.
    • For all Jack's loathing of him, Ullman is very good at his job, including cleaning up the messes and keeping the hotel in the black.
  • Kill It with Fire: Jack and Hallorann recall burning wasps' nests and how "fire destroys everything" and later, good!Jack delays possessed!Jack just long enough so that he fails to dump the steam in the hotel boilers and blows up the Overlook in a glorious fireball.
    • Grady tells Jack that his girls attempted this, which is why he "corrected" them.
    • Towards the end of the book, as Hallorann races to the Overlook to save Danny and Wendy, he uses fire to kill the hedge animals that are trying to stop him.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Horace Derwent is a thinly veiled Howard Hughes. In the 1980 movie, he's the guy in the bedroom not wearing the dog costume.
  • Legacy Character: In-universe. "You've always been the caretaker."
  • Let the Past Burn: The haunted hotel burns up and dissolves into nothingness.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the novel and the Kubrick film, the miniseries is much less scary.
  • Living Bodysuit: Jack ultimately becomes this for the Overlook's Hive Mind.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Happens to Jack in the storeroom. Sometimes this is not as effective as you might think.
  • Magical Negro: Hallorann could count as one, though unlike most other examples he does not merely impart folksy wisdom on the white folks and leaves, but stages a semi-successful one man rescue operation to save the Torrences from the hotel.
    • Lampshaded when Hallorann briefly wonders why he should risk his life to help three white people who he barely knows. (The answer is that because of their telepathic abilities, he and Danny formed a very close bond, despite meeting only once).
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Discussed. When Ullman is giving the Torrances a tour, he tells them that Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller once stayed in the Overlook. Danny asks why didn't they have the same last name if they were married, and his parents try to explain him the importance of name recognition for celebrities.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Possessed!Jack smashes Hallorann across the face with a roque mallet, breaking his jaw and destroying his dentures. Hallorann's reaction once he regains consciousness?
    Hallorann: Summbitch broke m' jaw...
  • May–December Romance: Played for Squick with The Woman In Room 217 when she was alive, and her boytoy. He can't have been more than 18, and she must have been at least 60 by Watson's estimate. It's clear to absolutely everyone (except the woman) that it's just a matter of money. He eventually takes her car and ditches her, leading to her suicide which Ullman covers up.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's possible to explain away just about every single weird, terrifying and freakish event in the story as the delusions of people who are in highly-excited states of mind, though some examples are easier to justify this way than others. The only thing that happens which appears to be unequivocally supernatural is when Jack is freed by Grady from the pantry.
  • The Millstone: Jack Torrance is one of literature's most tragic examples. He is the architect of every single disaster he and his family suffers, because he can't control his temper and he can't (easily) control his drinking. Over the course of events, Jack manages to destroy his marriage, his career, his friendships, his literary ambitions, and ultimately, his family. If given second or third chances, he will just screw up again. At one point, he almost gets himself fired from his caretaker job because he calls the hotel manager and viciously taunts him about the secret history of the Overlook Hotel (history which mostly predates the manager and doesn't directly involve him). Why? He has no self-control. He literally can't stop himself from doing shit like that. Although the dumb move of taunting Ullman is implied to be at least partially a result of the hotel working on his mind.
    • It's implied that his taunting of Ullman might have been Jack's subconscious trying to get him fired so they would be forced to leave the Overlook.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Jack wrote several short stories, and he's working on a play.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Two events in Jacks past had this reaction, him breaking Danny's arm, and him mocking George Hatfield's stutter and later beating him for slashing his tires in revenge.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: The book usually doesn't censor profanity, but the trope is used once for comic effect. Hallorann gets Danny's message, when he's driving, and he swerves across the lane, almost crashing into a workman's Pinto. The workman's reaction is described thus:
    "He invited the driver of the limo to perform an illegal sex act on himself. To engage in oral congress with various rodents and birds. He articulated his own proposal that all persons of Negro blood return to their native continent. He expressed his sincere belief in the position the limo-driver's soul would occupy in the afterlife. He finished by saying that he believed he had met the limo-driver's mother in a New Orleans house of prostitution."
  • The Napoleon: Very much subverted. Overlook manager Stuart Ullman is a short man who acts like a smarmy bully with Jack and lords over his employees with an iron fist. He is actually a decent enough man who deeply loves the Overlook Hotel and wants to do what is best for it. Ullman knows that his employees don't like him, and doesn't care, because he feels that "one has to be a bit of a bastard" in order to effectively manage a world-class resort hotel. Considering that he is the only manager in the 70-year history of the hotel to run the hotel profitably, he's probably right.
  • New House, New Problems: The hotel, though the Torrances are only planning a temporary stay.
  • Nice Guy: Hallorann.
  • Nightmare Face: Jack's face after the ghosts destroy it to take full control of his body. It's described as an imperfect, shifting composite of all the ghosts the Torrances have encountered.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Horace Derwent, an eccentric millionaire recluse, aviator, and director who bought the Overlook in the '30s, is clearly patterned after Howard Hughes.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The folks who run the Overlook Hotel sure are taking a safety risk, what with the creaky old boiler that will explode and destroy the entire hotel if the steam pressure isn't manually vented every day.
  • No Party Like the Donner Party: Doesn't happen in-story but Wendy thinks of the Donner Party several times throughout the story when she considers the isolation the three of them will be dealing with during the winter. One is especially nightmarish, as she imagines them getting stuck in the elevators at the same time, and not being found until spring, dead, with pieces missing.
  • Noble Bigot: Watson has shades of this, being a hardworking, honest man with some level of homophobia if his dialogue with Jack in the boiler room is to be believed. Not that this attitude towards homosexuality was rare in the 70's.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Danny knows from the beginning that the Overlook Hotel is bad news. But he can't tell this to his parents, not just because he's a kid but also because they're in denial about Danny's psychic powers. He also knows how important this job is to the family, so he hopes that he's wrong (sometimes, his precognition does fail).
  • Not Quite Dead: After the hotel explodes and it looks like it's all over, Hallorann goes into the tool shed to get some blankets from Wendy and is briefly possessed, but shakes it off and runs.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Wendy is understandably alarmed when she sees Danny climb into Hallorann's car, but a confrontation doesn't happen once she notices that they only seem to be talking, and Danny has the same expression he has when he hears something unusually engaging on TV. Keep in mind, this was prior to the child-abduction scares of The '80s and beyond.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Almost nothing supernatural happens for the first part of the book, aside from the blood stain Danny sees in the presidential suite. After the wasp nest incident, however...
    • The identities of some of the ghosts in the hotel are not revealed. Such as the thing in the snowed-in climbing tubes on the playground that tries to attack Danny or the thing in the elevator.
  • Off the Wagon: Jack quit drinking after a drunken ride with his friend Al Shockley ended up with Al hitting a bike parked in the middle of the road one night while both of them were very drunk. The bike was destroyed but nobody was hurt, though the incident so spooked the two men that they both quit drinking that day. The Overlook eventually gets Jack to drink again.
  • Oracular Urchin: Danny's Shine gives him limited precognition, which he receives as visions from his "imaginary friend" Tony who is either Danny himself from the future, or a secondary personality Danny's mind created to help him cope with his powers. Danny was even born with a caul — the amniotic sac covering his face — a portent of second sight in folklore. It's hinted that this is just a coincidence, though an eerie one.
  • Orphaned Setup: While trimming the topiary animals, Jack mentions a joke about "the Traveling Salesman and the old lady with a pet poodle", but he doesn't tell it.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghosts, and by extension The Overlook entity, are only visible and can only interact with people who has at least minor psychic abilities. That is why Ullman and Watson have never experienced any of the supernatural aspects of the hotel, despite spending huge amounts of time there. Watson has worked at the hotel far longer than any of the other characters but has never felt so much as a ghostly chill. Hallorann, Danny and the unfortunate maid who was the first to encounter the woman in Room 217 are not so lucky.
  • Parental Favoritism: Jack was his father's favorite, though he still beat him regularly. Jack still loved him as best he could, even when the rest of the family began to hate him.
  • Polar Madness: Jack Torrance slowly begins to drift into insanity due to a combination of alcoholism and being trapped in the Overlook Hotel over the winter with only his wife and son for company - until the Genius Loci itself is eventually able to pressure him into trying to murder his family. For good measure, the hotel has a history of driving previous winter caretakers insane for similar reasons.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Overlook Hotel and its minions. Grady, Jack when he's under the Hotel's influence and the Hotel's voice itself all call Hallorann a nigger.
  • Psychic Powers: The "shining" of the title.
  • Precision F-Strike: While there's a lot of swearing in the novel, Wendy uses profanity only once. At night, the elevator starts going by itself. Jack goes to check on it; Wendy tries to hold him back, but he shoves her away.
    Jack: It... Wendy, it's my job.
    Wendy: Fuck your job.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In the miniseries, just before Jack makes the boiler explode:
    Jack: Gentlemen...I think the party's over.
  • Red Herring: The Presidential Suite, where a mobster and his bodyguard were murdered by rivals in the 60's. It's also the place where Danny sees the first supernatural event at the hotel, a bloodstain on the wall. When Jack finds the backstory on the murders in the room, it seems like it would be the source of something really bad. It's not. In fact, the only haunting associated with the room is the bloodstain.
    • The fire extinguisher that Danny is afraid of. He keeps imagining it as a snakelike appendage, but it never does anything scary, aside from scaring the crap out of him when it falls out of its hook.
    • The attic. It's set up early on in the story as a place of importance, but never appears on-page, and Jack only offhandedly mentions having put up rat traps there off-screen. He also put a lock on the attic door, closing it off as an escape route for Danny.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the miniseries, Jack returns to normal one last time and lets his family escape to deal with the hotel himself. He and the hotel were killed in the explosion of the boiler. He reappears as a ghost one last time in the ending.
    • In the operatic adaptation from the Minnesota Opera, Jack also returns to normal and urges Danny to run, but when Grady, Derwent and Lloyd inform him that the boiler will explode, Jack decides to let his wife and son live, breaks the cane that his father used on him as a child and allows the boiler to explode once his family is at a safe distance, killing himself and the hotel.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Hallorann, almost. After Jack's death, the hotel's spirit nearly persuades Hallorann to finish what Jack started and murder Danny and Wendy himself.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Sort of. Danny compares the fire extinguisher hose to a snake, most notably when it apparently starts chasing after him. It doesn't, it's just his imagination.
  • Resigned to the Call: When Danny asks for help, Hallorann immediately goes to save him, though he knows full well that he's risking his life - but he's not happy about it.
    "But because he was human he could not help a bitter wish that the cup had never been passed his way."
  • The Resenter: The Hotel is an expert at preying on these types of emotions, and will exploit them to the fullest when trying to take a host. However, it only works on people with some level of "shining", like Jack or Hallorann. Wendy has basically no trace of psychic ability, and Danny is too young to have any particular resentments.
    • More specifically, it preys on Jack's artistic frustration, alcoholism and subconscious resentment against Wendy for "judging" him. In Hallorann, it preys on his repressed anger and resentment of a lifetime of being bossed around by white people.
  • Riches to Rags: The Watson family were the original builders of the hotel, but Watsons grandfather (or great-grandfather, Halloran doesnt remember the exact details) ruined himself by pouring his fortune into the unprofitable hotel and didnt get out in time like the later owners did. The family ended up getting taken on as the caretakers of the property. Ironically, according to the unpublished prologue, the founders son was apparently far more suited for blue-collar work, as he proved much more adept as a custodian than he ever did while training to take over his fathers business.
  • Room 101: Room 217, and the Presidential Suite.
  • Running Over the Plot: A very subtle example. Jack, even after breaking Danny's arm, is in denial about his alcoholism. He only comes round and decide to go sober (which is how the Overlook tempts him) after he and his friend Al Shockley hit a bike while driving under the influence. Both of them are seriously disturbed by what could've happened if someone had been on that bike.
  • Sanity Slippage: Jack becomes more unhinged as the story progresses, due to ghostly interference.
  • Shirley Template: During the Info Dump, it is mentioned that Derwent bought a movie studio that used to have a child star named Little Margery Morris, who "specialized in sweet seven-year-olds who saved marriages and the lives of dogs unjustly accused of killing chickens". She overdosed on heroin when she was 14, which was covered up as a "wasting sickness" she got after a visit to entertain the patients at a childrens hospital. Losing their biggest star was a deathblow for the studio, which is why Derwent got it for cheap.
  • Shout-Out: At one point Jack comes upon an invitation to a masked ball at the Overlook's grand opening, and is reminded of "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe (whom he dismisses as "the great American hack".)
    • A couple of lines from Poe's story are used as Arc Words here; see above.
    • Lifelong rock enthusiast King also includes a scene that prominently, and very appropriately, features the lyrics of "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
    • The story compares Jack ordering Danny not to go into Room 217 with the story of Bluebeard.
  • The Stinger: Miniseries only. A ghostly version of the Overlook is seen.
  • Snowed-In: "WE ARE SNOWED IN!" (Jack to Wendy when she keeps talking about getting Danny out of the Overlook.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Because Jack's drinking and temper have burned so many bridges, he lives in silent terror that he may be reduced to working hard, dead-end jobs just to get by. It is, in large part, why he refuses to abandon the hotel even after he's certain that his family is in danger there.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Averted. This is shown when Jack destroys his face with the roque mallet to simultaneously show Danny he's gone and delay the Overlook.
  • Survival Mantra: Jack keeps mentally describing Ullman as an "officious little prick" to help keep himself from losing control of his temper during his job interview for the Overlook. However, this crosses into Brick Joke territory as Jack's train of thought is interrupted by Ullman, rather deadpan, stating that he gets the feeling that Jack doesn't like him.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: The evil spirits animating Jack Torrance think they have gotten to the boiler in time and relieved the pressure. They are wrong.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: When Halloran returns to Sidewinder to rent a snowmobile to reach the Overlook, the plowman implies that the people of Sidewinder are aware that there's something very wrong with the hotel, but there's little they can do about it as all the owners have been outsiders.
  • True Companions: Jack and Al Shockley, at least while they are both drunks. Sober, Jack rather resents his much wealthier friend, even though Al is extremely accommodating and helpful.
  • Truer to the Text: The 1997 miniseries is far closer to Stephen King's book than the Kubrick film, with the huge exception of the Bowdlerised ending. It's not typically seen as an improvement over the Kubrick version due to the impracticality of capturing the subtleties of King's text in visual form.
  • Unreliable Narrator: While the story is told in third person, much of it is from Jack's point of view and interior monologues. Throughout the story, he insists that breaking Danny's arm was an accident and that George Hatfield, the student who slashed his tires, falsely accused him of unfavoritism. However, as Jack dips closer to madness, there are strong hints that these actions were in fact intentional and Jack has just desperately been trying to convince himself otherwise. Specifically, when he has a dream about meeting George in room 217, he outright admits he deliberately set George up to fail the debate class.
    "It was for your own good," Jack said, backing up. "I set it ahead for your own good."
  • The Unfavorite: Wendy harbors some resentment towards the bond between Jack and Danny, often feeling excluded when Danny prefers to open up to Jack over her. She feels immensely guilty over this because that's how her own mother felt about her and her father.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Grady is described as looking like a thug in spite of his fine clothes, but his voice sounds refined and educated. It's implied that it's actually the hotel speaking through Grady to prey on Jack's intellectual sensibilities. Grady himself states that it was the "management" that helped him become more than a high school dropout.
  • Wham Line: "You've always been the caretaker."
  • You Are What You Hate: Both Wendy and Jack carry traits that their abusive parents had; Wendy shares some of the resentment and jealousy her mother had toward her father for their child favoring him, Jack has his father's drinking problem and violent mood swings. Neither is happy to realize this.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Jack seizes possession of himself back in the climax in a last-ditch effort to protect Danny, the ghosts possessing him destroy his face with the roque mallet, destroying any remaining traces of him and allowing them to take full control.