Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 32 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 32 : Snowbound, The Bedroom | Summary

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Summary

Jack takes a cot from storage so Danny can sleep in the same room as he and Wendy. He attempts to work on his play and feels frustrated. Wendy interrupts his thought process asking how they will get Danny down to Sidewinder. Her questions and insistence that he help her take Danny away frustrate him further.

Jack listens to Wendy while he begins stroking her breast. He explains the danger of taking Danny out in the snowstorm, and that they could die out there. The alternative, Jack leaving them alone while he goes to get help, is not acceptable to Wendy. As he undresses Wendy, Jack assures her that a ranger or game warden will eventually come by with a snowmobile or helicopter.

Jack's foreplay is interrupted when he mentions the snowmobile because Wendy remembers there's a snowmobile in the shed. She gets excited about the prospect, insisting that Jack can get the snowmobile running and figure out how to drive it. She makes him promise to take her and Danny to Sidewinder if he can make the snowmobile run. Jack agrees before resuming their intimacy.

After they've had sex, Wendy asks Jack what got to Danny and hurt him. Jack says the injuries might be psychosomatic or that Danny injured himself while in one of his trances. Jack gets impatient with Wendy's insistent questions that he really didn't see anything in Room 217. Wendy falls asleep but Jack stays awake, wondering what kind of prospects he will have if he leaves this job. Those prospects appear bleak and starvation a real possibility.

Jack drifts off to sleep but wakes in the bathroom in Room 217. He sees George Hatfield in the bathtub, stabbed in the chest. George rises from the tub and tries to strangle Jack while Jack protests. Then Jack grabs a cane like his father's and begins beating George, saying, "Now you'll take your medicine." George falls to the ground, and when he looks up, Jack sees Danny's face. When Jack returns to consciousness, he is standing by Danny's bed, sweating but empty-handed. Jack dresses and goes down to check the boiler.

Analysis

Jack's sexual advances toward Wendy are based less in desire for her and more in a desire to distract her from the day's events and from planning their escape from the Overlook. He is visibly frustrated by her questions and worrying, which is not an arousing state of mind. Wendy's willingness to participate in the foreplay is surprising. A few hours prior, she thought Jack tried to strangle their child and was making plans to leave him. The conversation in the kitchen helps strengthen the family's bonds, and Danny's recovery from catatonia are a relief, but the switch still seems abrupt. When Wendy's participation in sex becomes contingent on Jack's agreement to help get Danny to a doctor, it raises the possibility that she is using sex to get Jack's assent just as Jack is using sex to distract Wendy.

The introduction of the hotel's snowmobile reintroduces the conflict that seemed settled with the first snowfall. Should the Torrance family take their chances with a possibly imaginary threat at the Overlook or face real poverty in a small town during a Colorado winter?

Jack's willingness to blame Danny for his own injuries underscores Jack's cowardice. He knows something is in Room 217, but he maintains the ruse of seeing nothing to keep Wendy calm and keep the argument of staying or leaving at bay. If he acknowledges the woman in 217 is real, the pressure will mount to leave the hotel. Jack doesn't really want to leave, and the Overlook's influence over him is growing, prompting him to lie to his family just as they are growing to trust him again.

Jack's dream—which includes the body in Room 217, George, Danny, and Mark Torrance's cane—blends all the love and hate in Jack's past into a terrifying cocktail. He harbors resentment against George even now, and the dream can be read as a warning to Jack. If he gives his anger and resentment free rein, he will hurt people he loves. He will become like his father. Jack doesn't think about the dream deeply enough to understand its meaning; or if he does ponder it, he chooses to ignore the meaning. He simply goes on about his work. His visit to the boiler reminds the reader the Torrance family is sitting on a literally explosive situation in addition to the figurative one.

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