Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 26 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 26 : Snowbound, Dreamland | Summary

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Summary

While Danny meets the woman in Room 217, Wendy dozes in her room, and Jack dozes in the basement.

Jack dreams about his childhood in Berlin, New Hampshire, and his love for his father, despite the spankings and bruises. Mark Torrance works as a nurse at the local hospital. Jack remembers his oldest brother, Brett, never brings his dates home; his other older siblings, Mike and Becky, never bring their friends home. When Jack is nine, his father beats Jack's mother with his cane during a Sunday night dinner at the end of a three-day weekend of drinking. He says to her, "Come on and take your medicine." Jack's mother collapses, and Mark hits her seven more times before turning on Brett; Brett takes the cane away from him.

Mike calls a doctor, who takes their mother to the hospital where Mark works. Mark tells the doctor his wife fell down the stairs. The children are too shocked by the lie to contradict him. Four days after the beating, Brett leaves his mill job for the Army. Brett dies Vietnam, and Jack spends college protesting the war. Mark dies of a stroke four years later.

In his dream state, Jack wanders into the hotel office and turns on the CB radio, where he hears Mark's voice urging him to kill Wendy and Danny "because a real artist must suffer." Jack smashes the radio while he shouts, "you're dead, you're dead!" He comes to consciousness when he hears Wendy's footsteps and her voice calling his name. He feels a headache coming on.

Analysis

It's not a coincidence Wendy and Jack are both asleep while Danny is violated and choked by a dead woman in Room 217. Jack's dream and its aftermath show the Overlook has lulled them into sleep so it can have some fun with Danny and manipulate Jack into destroying their sole means of communication with the outside world.

Young Jack seems to idolize his father just as Danny idolizes Jack. These children are resilient and unconditional in their love for their parents, ignoring the abuse until something happens they can't overlook. Even so, adult Jack cares enough about his father to give his son the same middle name as Mark Anthony Torrance. The dinner scene from Jack's childhood also shows the source of Jack's anger and hostility. He learns these behaviors from his father's example. Danny's visions with the repeated line "take your medicine" indicates Jack is doomed to repeat some of his father's worst actions under the Overlook's influence.

The Overlook's influence takes Mark's example a step further, using Mark's voice to urge Jack to murder his family, not just beat and berate them. As the Overlook exploits Jack's weaknesses, it cleverly connects his complicated love-hate relationship with his father to his artistic aspirations, telling Jack he must suffer to be a true artist.

The picture of Jack's childhood and family life show how far removed from the Overlook's clientele Jack is. Jack hopes to become a famous writer so he can fit in with the kind of people who stay at the Overlook, but his beginnings couldn't be further from theirs. He is born into a lower middle-class family in a remote mill town. Brett works in the mill and joins the Army because college isn't an option for him. Mike does go to college, but he earns a scholarship. The family's money troubles end when Mark dies because of a large insurance payout. Al Shockley, on the other hand, is the scion of a steel fortune. Jack's only hope of overcoming his origins and fitting into the Overlook's society is his art.

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