Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 4 Chapter 36 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 4, Chapter 36 : Snowbound, The Elevator | Summary

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Summary

In the night, Jack, Wendy and Danny are awakened by the sound of the hotel elevator going up and down of its own accord. Jack says it's probably an electrical short and goes to investigate. Wendy and Danny go with him.

In the hall, Wendy thinks she hears a party in the ballroom below, including an orchestra playing songs from the 1940s. The elevator car passes them on the way to the third floor where it stops. Wendy and Danny agree they hear voices exiting the elevator. Jack claims he hears nothing. He uses the emergency key to stop the elevator on their floor when it returns. The elevator stops with its floor level with Jack's chest. He looks inside and says he sees nothing in there. Wendy pulls herself up into the elevator car. She throws out confetti and a cat's eye mask shouting, "Does that look like a short circuit to you, Jack?"

Analysis

The moving elevator provides more evidence of the Overlook coming to life around them. The masquerade party in the ballroom seems to occur on a kind of loop throughout the narrative. As is his habit, Jack denies seeing or hearing any evidence of anything unusual in the hallway. He rationalizes the moving elevator as a short circuit.

Wendy's choice to climb into the elevator car, which seems to have stopped to give Jack easy access to the car but difficult access to her, reveals her skepticism to Jack. She trusts her senses and investigates what she sees and hears. Her unwillingness to take Jack at his word raises the question whether she believes him about the hedge animals or the woman in Room 217. In the previous chapter, Jack considers confessing everything to Wendy, but confession is no longer necessary. Her discovery of the mask in the elevator serves as an indictment of his version of events thus far. If she believed him about Room 217 or the topiary animals before, she probably doesn't now.

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