Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 3 Chapter 25 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 3, Chapter 25 : The Wasps' Nest, Inside | Summary

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Summary

A week and a half after the first snow, communications between the Overlook and the world are out. Jack is in the basement, looking at the papers down there. Danny, left to his own devices, returns to Room 217 with the passkey, drawn there by curiosity. He feels brave after poking the fire extinguisher hose, back in its frame.

Danny enters an unremarkable hotel room, clean and neatly made up for the winter. Danny goes into the bathroom and pulls back the shower curtain. There he sees the body of a dead woman, "bloated and purple." Danny screams, but no sound comes out. The woman sits up in the tub and pursues Danny as he runs toward the door, which is now closed. He can't open it. He remembers Dick Hallorann's words, "I don't think they can hurt you ... they're like pictures in a book." Danny closes his eyes, expecting the woman to disappear, then he feels clammy hands around his neck.

Analysis

Echoing the Bluebeard fairy tale again, in which a young wife opens a forbidden locked door and discovers the heads of her husband's former wives who looked behind the forbidden door, Danny finally enters Room 217 and makes a similarly gruesome discovery. The things behind forbidden doors are never pleasant.

The text gives a detailed description of the woman's dead body, with some emphasis on the condition of her breasts and a mention of her floating pubic hair. A nude woman in a bath is one often sexualized in books and films, but the image of this bloated corpse corrupts that sexualized image and makes it something grotesque. This body could well be the first naked woman Danny has ever seen, and this image will likely stay with him, tainting his future sexual experiences. In a way, then, the Overlook violates Danny much more severely by presenting him the dead body than by trying to strangle him.

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