Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 2 Chapter 8 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 2, Chapter 8 : Closing Day, A View of the Overlook | Summary



The Torrance family drives to the Overlook Hotel. Wendy worries their aged VW bug won't make the trip, but Danny knows it will. They admire the beauty of the mountains, but Wendy thinks about how the mountains will "not forgive very many mistakes." She thinks of the 19th-century Donner party, stranded in the Sierra Nevada to the west, forced into cannibalism of the dead to survive.

When they arrive at the Overlook, Wendy is breathless at the beauty of the place. The interior reminds her of the hotel where she and Jack honeymooned. Danny looks at the hotel blankly, recognizing this as the place Tony has warned him about in his visions.


The allusion to the Donner Party adds an ominous sense to an otherwise lovely drive through the mountains to a lovely location. The Donner Party was a group of 87 settlers who set out from California in 1846, led by George and Jacob Donner. In the winter of 1846–47, they became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Popular stories tell of the starving settlers eating their dead comrades when food ran out, but physical evidence to support these stories is lacking. The text of The Shining does not specify what kind of cannibalism the Donner Party engaged in. If cannibalism occurred for the Donners at all, the focus would have been those who were already dead. Wendy's thought of cannibalism in a general sense implies the possibility of snowbound settlers actively killing each other for food, which echoes Danny's visions of a predator chasing him with a mallet.

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