Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 28 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 28 : Snowbound, "It Was Her!" | Summary

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Summary

While Wendy tries to comfort Danny and draw a response from him in their quarters, Jack walks around on the ground floor, through the dining room with covered tables, imagining the 1945 opening ball he has read about in the scrapbook. He wanders into the Colorado Lounge and sits down at the bar, facing the empty shelves behind.

Jack talks to Lloyd, the bartender, observing the place is "A little slow tonight, huh?" Lloyd says it is. Jack orders 20 martinis and, discovering his wallet is empty, asks Lloyd, "How's my credit in this joint, anyhow?" Lloyd says his credit is fine. Jack senses the booths are full of men and women, "all of them in costume," watching him. When he turns around, the booths are empty. He chews two Excedrin and turns again to contemplate his "imaginary drinks."

Jack talks to Lloyd about his time on the wagon and how it looks better than it is. He stops midsentence, realizing Lloyd is gone, has never been there, nor have the drinks or the people in the booths "from the costume party." Instead of throwing a barstool, he starts singing. He stops when he hears Wendy say his name.

Jack swears he never touched Danny, and Wendy dismisses him. He insists it matters that she believe him. She tells him they must get Danny help. In Wendy's arms, Danny scrambles from Wendy's arms and runs to Jack. He says, "Oh, Daddy, Daddy, it was her!" Jack asks Wendy what she did to Danny.

Analysis

Jack nurses his resentment toward Wendy for blaming him for Danny's condition. He thinks she will always assume the worst of him, which gives him little motivation to improve himself or remain on the wagon, a slang term alcoholics use to describe their recovery. It stands to reason Jack will end up in the bar under these circumstances.

The structure of the scene depicting Jack's first visit to the Colorado Lounge is written in a way that creates ambiguity around whether the scene is happening in reality or only in Jack's mind. With the Overlook assuming control of Jack's mind, the reality in the hotel and inside Jack's mind are quickly melding. For example, in Jack's conversation with Lloyd, Jack's words are expressed as quoted dialogue, but Lloyd's are not. However, Lloyd does respond to Jack, leaving open the possibility he is real. After the corpse in Room 217, anything is possible. The same is true of the other bar patrons in their costume party wear. They seem real until Jack tries to look directly at them, then they disappear.

Only at the end of the scene does he acknowledge the whole scene, including his martinis, is an elaborate fantasy, but it isn't a fantasy. Jack attends the costume party in Part 5, Chapter 44. What Jack experiences in the bar are more flickers of life from the Overlook Hotel as it toys with him the same way it has toyed with Danny in Room 217.

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