Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 34 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 34 : Snowbound, The Hedges | Summary

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Summary

A few days after Thanksgiving, Danny goes outside to play. He wanders to the playground on his snowshoes. He decides to play secret agent and digs through the snow to crawl into a cement ring. Once inside, he feels claustrophobic. He also has a vague sense he's not alone in there. He hears leaves crackling at the other end of the tube.

Danny crawls out of the tube back into the sunlight. He sees the snow has fallen off the topiary dog. Then he sees one of the hedge lions peeking out of the snow. All three hedge lions them move into place 40 feet from Danny. The dog circles to the left. Danny walks methodically on his snowshoes, which are not built for speed. He makes his way toward the front porch, but when he looks back he can see a lion stalking five feet behind him. On the front lawn, Danny breaks into a run. As Danny scrambles up the steps, he hears the lion pounce and hears ripping fabric.

When Jack finds Danny in the hotel lobby, Danny's pants and sock are ripped open. Danny's calf sports a shallow scratch. Danny looks outside to see the animals in their normal places, covered with snow and cries in Jack's arms.

Analysis

Now that the Torrances are securely confined to the Overlook, the hotel ramps up its attacks on Danny. He can't go anywhere without the hotel launching an assault. The incident on the playground shows how thoroughly the Overlook has corrupted Danny's childhood. A simple game of secret agent turns terrifying as Danny imagines the entity in the tube with him as the woman from 217 or a dead child looking for a playmate. As if that's not enough, the hedge animals come after Danny while he tries to get back to the hotel and relative safety.

Jack is responsible for this state of affairs. When he sabotages the snowmobile, Jack acknowledges the Overlook wants Danny, so he had to know Danny would be subject to more frequent encounters with danger. While the hedge animals try to intimidate Jack before the snow comes, they are actively trying to injure Danny in this scene. They leave physical evidence of the attack in the form of ripped clothes and a scratched leg, but maddeningly, they return to their original positions as soon as Jack arrives on the scene. Danny cries from the fear and pain of his experience as much as the fear that his story may not be believed.

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