Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 1 Chapter 2 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 1, Chapter 2 : Prefatory Matters, Boulder | Summary



While Jack Torrance conducts his interview and orientation at the Overlook Hotel, his wife and son wait outside their shabby apartment building in Boulder, Colorado. Wendy worries Jack will fail to land the job despite his connections. Danny asks her how his father lost his job in Vermont, and Wendy explains: a boy named George Hatfield cut holes in Jack's car tires after Jack cut him from the school's debate team. Jack caught George in the act and hurt him. Danny likens it to "the time I spilled all his papers." Wendy holds back tears at Danny's remark and agrees it was "something like that." Danny asks Wendy if she wants to go live in the hotel. She says if Jack wants to, she will. Danny feels ambivalent about going to the hotel because he doesn't have friends in Boulder. He misses his friends in Vermont. Wendy goes inside to make Danny a snack while Danny waits at the curb for his father to return.


The scenes in Boulder provide necessary background about events only alluded to in the job interview. Danny's reference to "the time I spilled his papers" doesn't yet provide the full story of Danny's broken arm, but the reader can see Jack's violent streak extends to members of his own family. At least it has in the past. The violence toward George Hatfield seems marginally more explicable, since George was vandalizing Jack's car, but the lack of detail about how Jack hurt the boy gives the incident a much more sinister tone.

The simplicity of Danny's questions and his responses to Wendy's answers illustrates how innocent Danny is about many matters, even though he has unusual access to his parents' thoughts and emotional states. If Jack is desperate for a new job, Wendy is desperate to repair her family. She tears up at Danny's comments, wanting to make the hurts of the past disappear, which will lead her to follow Jack to the Overlook.

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