The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 5, Chapter 41 : Matters of Life and Death, Daylight | Summary

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Summary

Danny awakens from a nightmare in which the Overlook is on fire. He and Wendy watch it burn from the front lawn while Jack emerges from the front doors covered in flames. Danny gets out of bed and goes out to the main corridor. There he sees a man dressed as a dog, down on all fours, with blood on his face. The dogman growls at Danny and threatens to eat him. Danny calmly tells the dogman, "Let me by." The dogman threatens to eat Danny again, starting with his genitals. As the man prances toward Danny, Danny retreats to his quarters. On the other side of the door, he can hear the dogman barking and growling; the dogman shouts, "Get it up, Harry, you bitch-bastard!"

Danny checks on Wendy and then goes back to the corridor, hoping the dogman will be gone. He isn't. Danny goes back to his cot in the family's quarters and begins to cry. He is convinced his family will die at the Overlook, just like the woman in 217 and the dogman in the hall. He calls for Dick again and sees a huge figure in white brandishing a club in front of him and shouting, "I'll make you stop it because I am your FATHER!" Danny screams and wakes Wendy. They both hear the invisible club swing. In the silence that follows, Danny knows the Overlook won't let him call Dick again.

Analysis

Danny has another perversely sexualized encounter with a denizen of the Overlook Hotel. For the Overlook, sex and aggression are intertwined. The appearance of the dogman and his threats to Danny provide a clear illustration of that connection. Danny doesn't fully understand what the dogman is or why he looks this way, but it doesn't matter. He looks menacing and is threatening to violate Danny in an intimate way. Furthermore, he doesn't go away when Danny ignores him and doesn't respond to Danny's attempt to stand up to him. Danny weeps with frustration and exhaustion at fighting the Overlook on his own. He fears if they die at the Overlook, he and Wendy will be trapped there for eternity just like the others.

The Overlook cuts off Danny's last hope for rescue when it cuts off Danny's last message to Dick. Danny doesn't know how much pain these messages are causing Dick, and it gives Danny comfort to feel he can do something about his predicament, even if it is only calling for help. The Overlook has already taken Tony away, and now Danny's connection to Dick is gone, too. Danny is more isolated than ever, which the Overlook hopes will make Danny easier prey.

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