Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 33 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 33 : Snowbound, The Snowmobile | Summary

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Summary

As he has promised Wendy, Jack goes to the maintenance shed to check out the snowmobile. At first, Jack can't find the spark plugs and battery, but eventually he locates both. He had hoped to be able to tell Wendy he couldn't make the snowmobile run, but he can. He looks outside to see Danny snowshoeing and realizes the Overlook is working on him and Danny. Jack realizes the Overlook wants Danny, and maybe him and Wendy, too. He knows the moving topiaries and the woman in Room 217 are real. He thinks of all the deaths the hotel has seen. He knows the Overlook doesn't want them to leave because "The Overlook [is] having one hell of a good time."

In spite of these revelations, Jack realizes he doesn't really want to go. He suspects the Overlook has chosen him to write its story. He suspects if he leaves, he will soon find the local bar in Sidewinder. Faced with two bad choices, Jack pulls a part out of the snowmobile's motor and throws it out of the shed, into the deep snow. He feels "at peace" as he returns to the hotel to tell Wendy they can't leave.

Analysis

The threat of the Overlook is no longer an abstract idea for Jack. He knows the Overlook is sentient and manipulating him and Danny. He realizes the hotel wants Danny and is having fun torturing him and his family. These realizations fundamentally change the nature of the dilemma Jack has faced since they arrived at the hotel. He is now caught between two certainties, not a potential situation and a verifiable one. He also knows one of those certainties will bring harm to his son. The Overlook "wants" Danny, and death is how the Overlook takes what it wants. Jack knows this.

Jack also believes if he stays at the Overlook he will be able to write the Overlook's story, because the hotel has chosen him for his talents. A successful book will mean acclaim, acceptance, honor. The Overlook has made him believe these things so Jack will stay, and it works. When Jack says he can't win in this dilemma, he is deflecting responsibility again. His choice isn't really a choice because he convinces himself they're both bad. In Jack's mind this is true, but objectively, by sabotaging the snowmobile, Jack is choosing his own ambition and desire to rise above his poverty over Danny's safety.

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