The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 2, Chapter 12 : Closing Day, The Grand Tour | Summary

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Summary

Stuart Ullman gives the Torrance family a tour of the Overlook. He takes them upstairs in the old-fashioned elevator, assuring them it is "safe as houses." Jack replies, "So was the Titanic." Danny doesn't like the jungle vine patterns on the hallway carpet. They start with the lavish Presidential Suite, where Danny sees bloodstains on the wall. He remembers Dick's advice and looks away from the scene, suppressing his terror because he doesn't want to upset his happy parents. When he looks again on the way out of the suite, the blood is gone.

Ullman shows the Torrances a room where actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller once stayed. He shows them another room where author Truman Capote stayed. "That was in my time. An awfully nice man. Continental manners." They pass Room 217, and Danny is relieved they don't go inside. He spots the long hose of a fire extinguisher and thinks it looks like a snake.

On the first floor Ullman takes the Torrance family to their quarters, the same rooms Dick Hallorann shares with his apprentice during the open season. Danny forgets his fear when he sees the "secret passage" of the dumbwaiter that carries food upstairs from the kitchen. Danny is also excited to sleep in the top bunk in his bedroom.

Back in the lobby, they meet Watson, who reminds Jack to keep an eye on the boiler. Watson shakes Danny's hand calling him "Young Master Torrance" and telling him to take good care of his parents. Ullman reminds Watson to return on May 12. Watson says, "Yes, sir," but Jack can "almost read the codicil in Watson's mind: ... you fucking little faggot." They bid goodbye to Watson, and Danny feels a keen loneliness as he watches Watson drive away.

Analysis

Jack aptly compares the Overlook's elevator and the Titanic, a purportedly unsinkable luxury ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank in the north Atlantic in 1912. The Overlook and the Titanic were built around the same time; both were built primarily to cater to extremely wealthy Americans. It is reasonable to assume some of the Titanic's passengers would have been guests at the Overlook as well. While the Titanic's deaths were accidental, the Overlook Hotel actively preys on its guests, as will be revealed in later chapters. Still, both structures bring about the destruction of the very clientele they are meant to serve.

Danny must test Dick Hallorann's advice rather quickly in the Presidential Suite, but he is relieved to find it works—this time. Danny's enthusiasm for the dumbwaiter—essentially an elevator for food, used to deliver dishes in buildings with kitchens located on floors below the dining rooms—and his bunk beds provides another reminder of Danny's innocence, so often lost under the fears and visions.

Ullman further shows his obsession with status and celebrity. He is especially happy to reveal he has met the American literary darling of the 1960s and 70s, Truman Capote. His description of Capote's manners as "Continental" refers to the manners of continental Europe, which Ullman clearly regards as superior to American manners, though he values those as well. Ullman's ego and condescending manner explain Watson's hostility toward the man, although his word choice reads as overly hostile. Ullman behaves as if he is superior to Watson, which must chafe since Ullman is running the hotel that should have been Watson's birthright. To level the playing field, Watson feels a need to attack Ullman on the field where Watson holds the upper hand, traditional masculinity. Jack's picking up on Watson's thought provides more evidence of Jack's suppressed shine, which is now coming forth in bits and pieces.

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