The Shining (novel)
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First edition cover
|Cover artist||Dave Christensen|
|Publication date||January 28, 1977|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Followed by||Doctor Sleep|
The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song "Instant Karma!", which contained the line "We all shine on...". It was King's third published novel, and first hardback bestseller, and the success of the book firmly established King as a preeminent author in the horror genre. A film based upon the book, The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980. The book was later adapted into a television mini-series in 1997. In October 2013, a limited edition of The Shining signed by Stephen King was published by Subterranean Press.
The book is dedicated to King's son, Joseph: "This is for Joe Hill King, who shines on."
The novel follows the story of Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic and writer, who accepts the position as winter caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel, which sits in the Colorado Rockies. He moves into the hotel for closing season with his wife Wendy and five year old son Danny, who has psychic abilities which enable him to see aspects of the hotel's horrific past. Soon, after a winter storm cuts them off from the outside world, an evil force in the hotel springs into life and influences Jack's sanity, writing and alcoholism, leaving the family in incredible danger.
As the Torrances settle in at the Overlook, Danny sees frightening ghosts and visions. Although Danny is close to his parents, he does not tell either of them about his visions because he senses that the care-taking job is important to his father and the family's future. Wendy considers leaving Jack at the Overlook to finish the job on his own; Danny refuses, thinking his father will be happier if they stay. However, Danny soon realizes that his presence in the hotel makes the supernatural activity more powerful, turning echoes of past tragedies into dangerous threats. Apparitions take form, and the garden's topiary animals come to life. The Overlook has difficulty possessing Danny, so it begins to possess Jack, frustrating his need and desire to work. Jack starts to develop cabin fever, and the sinister ghosts of the hotel gradually begin to overtake him, making him increasingly unstable. One day, after a fight with Wendy, Jack finds the hotel's bar fully stocked with alcohol despite being previously empty, and witnesses a party at which he meets the ghost of a bartender named Lloyd. As he gets drunk, the hotel urges Jack to kill his wife and son. He initially resists, but the increasing influence of the hotel proves too great. Wendy and Danny get the better of Jack, locking him into the walk-in pantry, but the ghost of Delbert Grady, a former caretaker who murdered his family and then committed suicide, releases him after he makes Jack promise to bring him Danny and to kill Wendy.
Jack strikes Wendy with one of the hotel's roque mallets, breaking three ribs and one vertebra in her back. Wendy stabs Jack in the back with a large butcher knife, then crawls away to the caretaker's suite and locks herself in the bathroom, with Jack in pursuit. Jack tries to break the door with the mallet, but she slashes his hand with a razor blade to slow him down.
Meanwhile, Dick Hallorann, the Overlook's head chef and a telepath like Danny, receives a psychic distress call from Danny while working at a winter resort in Florida. Hallorann rushes back to the Overlook, only to be attacked by the topiary animals and badly injured by Jack. As Jack pursues Danny through the Overlook, he briefly gains control of himself just long enough to tell Danny to run away. The hotel takes control of Jack again, causing him to violently batter his own face and skull with the roque mallet so Danny can no longer recognize him, and Danny tells him that the unstable boiler in the basement is about to explode. Jack hurries down to relieve the pressure as Danny, Wendy, and Hallorann flee. Jack is too late; the boiler explodes and destroys the Overlook. Fighting off a last attempt by the hotel to possess him, Hallorann guides Danny and Wendy to safety.
The book's epilogue is set during the next summer. Hallorann, who has taken a chef's job at a resort in Maine, comforts Danny over the loss of his father.
Daniel Anthony "Danny" Torrance is the 5-year-old son of Jack and Wendy. Tony (his name taken from Danny's middle name, Anthony), is at first to Danny an imaginary playmate then a source of fear and finally a source of strength. Toward the end of the novel Tony reveals himself to Danny: "'Danny ... you're in a place down in your own mind. The place where I am. I'm a part of you, Danny.'" More specifically, Tony is Danny from the future: "Tony was like looking into a magic mirror and seeing himself in ten years"; "Tony ... the Daniel Anthony Torrance that would someday be."
John Daniel "Jack" Torrance is a recovering alcoholic who lost his teaching job after he beat up a student whom he caught slashing his car's tires. He takes his family to the hotel, but is driven by the hotel and its spirits to drink. Jack goes insane and attempts to kill Wendy, Danny and Dick Hallorann with a roque mallet. He finally corners Danny but is momentarily brought back to his senses when Danny tells him the truth about the hotel. Danny then brings to his attention the creeping boiler which causes Jack to rush downstairs allowing Danny, Wendy, and Dick Hallorann to escape. Just as he is turning the valve to dump the pressure the boiler explodes, killing him and destroying the hotel.
Winnifred "Wendy" Torrance is Jack's wife and Danny's mother. A weak woman, she remains at Jack's side as he struggles to stay sober, suffering verbal abuse and remaining with him even after he breaks Danny's arm. Her own fears of becoming like her mother and her own passivity prevent her from taking decisive action against her domineering, out of control husband. She depends on him completely for almost everything, including major family decisions. However, she is forced to fight for her and her son's lives when Jack becomes completely possessed. She suffers multiple injuries at Jack's hands, including a broken back, but escapes to safety with Danny and Hallorann before the Overlook's boiler explodes.
Richard "Dick" Hallorann is the chef of the Overlook Hotel and shares the "shining" ability with Danny. Dick is telepathically called by Danny to the hotel, and is almost killed by Jack with a roque mallet. At the end of the novel, Dick helps Danny and Wendy escape. The character also appears in Stephen King's It as a 19-year-old Army mess cook. Hallorann helps establish the Black Spot, a club for black enlisted men, that is burned down in a racially motivated attack in 1930. During that fire, Hallorann uses his "shining" to determine the safest exit from the burning building, while saving many lives in the process, including that of Will Hanlon, Mike Hanlon's father.
Horace "Harry" Derwent was a self-made millionaire and former owner of the Overlook Hotel. He is responsible for much of the Overlook's notorious history. Derwent purchased the Overlook sometime in the early 1940s and invested over one million dollars into its renovation before the grand opening on August 29, 1945, which Derwent celebrated by hosting a lavish masked ball. He appears to Jack in the Colorado Lounge as one of the apparitions at the ball. However, unlike Lloyd the bartender, and Grady the caretaker, Derwent does not actually interact with Jack.
Stuart Ullman is the manager of the Overlook Hotel. The entire staff hates him, but they nevertheless hold a grudging respect for his business ability. He does not believe Jack is suited for the caretaker job, but gives it to him because an old friend of Jack's sits on the hotel's board of directors. Jack takes an instant dislike to Ullman, referring to him in his inner monologue as an officious little prick or the like. Ullman tells Jack about the tragedy of the previous caretaker.
After writing Carrie and 'Salem's Lot, both of which are set in small towns in King's home state of Maine, King was looking for a change of pace for the next book. "I wanted to spend a year away from Maine so that my next novel would have a different sort of background." King opened an atlas of the US on the kitchen table and randomly pointed to a location, which turned out to be Boulder, Colorado. So in early 1974, King and his wife, Tabitha, and their two children, Naomi and Joe, moved across the country to Colorado.
Around Halloween, Tabitha decided that the adult Kings needed a mini-vacation and, on the advice of locals, they decided to try out a resort hotel adjacent to Estes Park, Colorado (nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountain National Park) called The Stanley Hotel. On October 30, 1974, Stephen and Tabitha checked into the Stanley. They almost were not able to check in as the hotel was closing for the off season the next day and the credit card slips had already been packed away.
Stephen and Tabitha were the only two guests in the hotel that night. "When we arrived, they were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place — with all those long, empty corridors . . ." They checked into room 217 which they found out was said to be haunted. This is where room 217 comes from in the book.
Ten years prior, King had read Ray Bradbury's The Veldt and was inspired to someday write a story about a person whose dreams would become real. In 1972 King started a novel entitled Darkshine, which was to be about a psychic boy in a psychic amusement park, but the idea never came to fruition and King abandoned the book. During the night at the Stanley, this story came back to him.
Tabitha and Stephen had dinner that evening in the grand dining room, totally alone. They were offered one choice for dinner, the only meal still available. Taped orchestral music played in the room and theirs was the only table set for dining. "Except for our table all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things. And by the time I went to bed that night, I had the whole book in my mind".
After dinner, Tabitha decided to turn in, but Stephen took a walk around the empty hotel. He ended up in the bar and was served drinks by a bartender named Grady.
"That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."
Originally conceived as a five-act tragedy play, the story evolved into a five-act novel that also included many of King's own personal demons.
Sometimes you confess. You always hide what you're confessing to. That's one of the reasons why you make up the story. When I wrote The Shining, for instance, the protagonist of The Shining is a man who has broken his son's arm, who has a history of child beating, who is beaten himself. And as a young father with two children, I was horrified by my occasional feelings of real antagonism toward my children. Won't you ever stop? Won't you ever go to bed? And time has given me the idea that probably there are a lot of young fathers and young mothers both who feel very angry, who have angry feelings toward their children. But as somebody who has been raised with the idea that father knows best and Ward Cleaver on 'Leave It To Beaver,' and all this stuff, I would think to myself, Oh, if he doesn't shut up, if he doesn't shut up. . . . So when I wrote this book I wrote a lot of that down and tried to get it out of my system, but it was also a confession. Yes, there are times when I felt very angry toward my children and have even felt as though I could hurt them. Well, my kids are older now. Naomi is fifteen and Joey is thirteen and Owen is eight, and they're all super kids, and I don't think I've laid a hand on one of my kids in probably seven years, but there was a time ...
According to "Guests and Ghosts," an Internet article, the Stanley, which was built by Freelan Oscar ("F.O.") Stanley, based on the designs of his wife, Flora, opened in 1909 and was "once a luxury hotel for the well-heeled Edwardian-era tourist". The hotel boasts having had such guests as not only King but also Theodore Roosevelt, Bob Dylan, Cary Grant, Doris Day, Billy Graham, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, and John Philip Sousa.
The Shining was also heavily influenced by Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher, and Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings. The story has been often compared to Guy de Maupassant's story "The Inn".
Prior to writing The Shining, King had written Roadwork and The Body which were both published later. The first draft of The Shining took less than four months to complete and he was able to publish it before the others.
Bill Thompson, King's editor at Doubleday, tried to talk King out of The Shining as he felt after Carrie and 'Salem's Lot, King would get "typed" as a horror writer. King considered that a compliment.
Originally there was a prologue titled "Before the Play" that chronicled earlier events in the Overlook's nightmarish history and an interlude in which a young Jack Torrance is himself abused by his father, also an alcoholic, while a voice tells him that "what you see is what you'll be". It was removed from the finished manuscript, although it was later published in the magazines Whispers and TV Guide (the latter, in an abridged version, to promote King's new miniseries adaptation of the novel). There also was an epilogue titled "After the Play", but it appears to no longer exist, as it was never published, and King maintains he does not have a copy of it.
On November 19, 2009, during a reading at the Canon Theatre in Toronto, King described to the audience an idea for a sequel to The Shining. The story would follow Danny Torrance, now in his 40s, living in New Hampshire, where he works as an orderly at a hospice and helps terminally ill patients pass away with the aid of some extraordinary powers. Later, on December 1, 2009, King posted a poll on his official website, asking visitors to vote for which book he should write next, Doctor Sleep or the next Dark Tower novel:
I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one a new Mid-World book (not directly about Roland Deschain, but yes, he and his friend Cuthbert are in it, hunting a skin-man, which are what werewolves are called in that lost kingdom) and a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? [We] will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn't speak).
Voting ended on December 31, 2009, and it was revealed that Doctor Sleep received 5,861 votes, while The Wind Through the Keyhole received 5,812.
Doctor Sleep was published on September 24, 2013.
Subterranean Press will be releasing a limited edition of The Shining with illustrations by Vincent Chong. It will be available in three different editions; a slipcased Gift Edition with 1500 copies, a traycased Limited Edition with 750 copies and a traycased Lettered Edition with a remarque from Chong with 52 copies.
- King discusses this in Underwood, Tim; Chuck Miller (1988). Bare Bones: Conversations in Terror with Stephen King'. McGraw-Hill. p. 125. ISBN 9780446390576.
- "The Stephen King Companion" Beahm, George Andrews McMeel press 1989
- "Stephen King: America's Best Loved Boogeyman" Beahm, George Andrews McMeel Press 1998
- "Stephen King Country" Beahm, George Running Press 1999
- This is asserted by tne management of the Stanley Hotel on their tours and on their website.
- "Stephen King: The Art of Darkness" Winter, Douglas E. Plume 1984
- http://www.vvdailypress.com/2001-2003/103985280065691.html (captured 6/15/06)[dead link]
- "The Annotated Guide to Stephen King" Collings, Michael R. Starmount House 1986
- "Guy de Maupassant Biography". Classiclit.about.com. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Before the Play". StephenKing.com. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Stephen King Rare Works". Horrorking.com. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Stephen King planning possible sequel to The Shining".
- "Steve needs your input". Stephenking.com. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Doctor Sleep wins?". Stephenking.com. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- "Dr. Sleep Sequel Confirmed".
- "Stephen King Officially Announces 'The Shining' Sequel, 'Dr. Sleep'". 2011-09-26.
- "Subterranean Press: The Shining".
- The Shining title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Bookpoi - How to identify first edition copies of The Shining by Stephen King.