The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 2, Chapter 11 : Closing Day, The Shining | Summary

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Summary

Dick tells Danny, "You shine on, boy. Harder than anyone I ever met in my life." He explains shining is what his grandmother called the knack for reading thoughts or knowing the future she and Dick shared. Dick says a lot of people have a little shine and don't know it, but he has met fewer than a dozen who were aware of their gift. Dick laughs when Danny asks about Mrs. Brant's wanting the valet's pants, saying Danny will know "everything there is to know about the human condition" before his 10th birthday.

Dick tests how hard Danny "can hit." Danny almost knocks Dick unconscious with the message "!!!HI,DICK!!!" Danny confesses to a grateful Dick he held back a little at the last minute. Danny tells Dick he doesn't spy on his parents' thoughts because he thinks it would be dirty to do so, but he does know how they're feeling. He can tell what other people, like Mrs. Brant, are thinking "if it's loud."

Danny can tell Dick is worried about his family. Dick asks Danny about his dreams, and Danny tells him about Tony. Danny gets nervous talking about his visions of the Overlook, and he is afraid to tell anyone because Jack needs the job to keep him from doing the Bad Thing again.

Dick tells Danny some visions come true, but some don't: "Nobody shines on all the time, except maybe for God up in heaven." He tells Danny he has had bad dreams and visions in the Overlook, but he won't share the details. He mentions seeing something very bad in Room 217 after a maid named Delores Vickery was fired for telling people she saw something in there. Dick cautions Danny to stay out of that room, but he says he doesn't think anything at the Overlook can hurt them, comparing the visions to "pictures in a book."

Danny tells Dick his parents don't shine, but Dick says Wendy jumped a little when he tested her because "all mothers have a little shine." Dick tells Danny he doesn't think Jack shines at all. He doesn't tell Danny his test on Jack picked up on something deeply hidden in Jack's mind. Dick doesn't know what this something is.

Before he leaves, Dick again says he doesn't believe the Overlook can hurt Danny. But he tells Danny to call him in Florida—using the shine—if he has any trouble. As Dick drives away he hopes he is right about Danny being safe; he sees the small family disappear into the giant hotel.

Analysis

Dick believes in Danny's powers and visions, which comforts Danny and helps him feel less alone. Better still, Danny now knows there are other people—not many, but more than a few—who have the "shine." However, Danny's powers exceed anything Dick has seen or felt in his life. From the standpoint of structure, the repeated phrase "I don't think anything here can hurt you" implies this statement will prove untrue. Dick doesn't know for sure what will happen to Danny; he simply offers the best advice he can, given what he knows about Danny and the hotel. He can't know Danny's powerful shine puts him at great risk.

Yet Dick knows even if the things in the hotel can't physically hurt Danny, they could damage him in other ways. He tells Danny to stay clear of Room 217, perhaps because he suspects the thing in that room could physically hurt Danny, but more likely because he knows what is in there and doesn't think a five-year-old should see it. Dick refuses to share any specifics about the gruesome scenes he has encountered in the hotel because he doesn't think a child should hear about such things. This decision seems misguided, though, because it leaves Danny to face the images in the hotel completely unprepared. Although he has felt the strength of Danny's shine, Dick seems to hope against hope the child's innocence might somehow avoid being corrupted by the hotel. He also piques Danny's curiosity about Room 217. By forbidding Danny to go in there, he calls Danny's attention to a place he might have otherwise ignored and makes Danny wonder what he's not supposed to see. Dick's unwillingness to discuss details of the Overlook's horror show also piques the reader's curiosity about what is behind the door, and not knowing is much scarier than knowing because the imagination can run wild.

Dick's conversation with Danny establishes a little shine in Wendy and provides the first possibility of Jack's shining. Dick's reading of Jack's mind is disturbing because it reveals a psyche shrouded in darkness and secrecy. Jack spends a lot of time rationalizing his actions and deflecting personal responsibility, burying unpleasant feelings and memories. It seems reasonable if a man such as Jack did have shine, he would try to bury or eliminate that power any way he could. A desire to bury his intuition could explain Jack's drinking problem, for example.

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