Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 5 Chapter 49 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 5, Chapter 49 : Matters of Life and Death, Hallorann, Going up the Country | Summary

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Summary

Dick spends the afternoon of December 2 on a harrowing drive through the storm from Denver to Sidewinder. Outside Estes Park he almost collides with a plow driver and runs his Buick off the road. The plow driver tows the car back onto the road. Dick explains he's trying to get to the Overlook because the caretaker's son is in trouble. The driver, Howard Cottrell, doesn't question how Dick knows what he knows and gives Dick his mittens. He asks Dick to mail the mittens back to him when he's done with them and tells Dick to see Larry Durkin at a service station in Sidewinder to rent a snowmobile.

When Dick gets to Sidewinder he is overwhelmed by a loud message calling him a "dirty nigger" and telling him to stay away. He runs off the road again, but manages to slowly get the Buick moving again as he prays for Danny's safety.

Analysis

The stormy conditions over Colorado seem tailor-made to keep people away from the Overlook Hotel, as if the hotel has orchestrated the weather itself. The closer Dick gets to Sidewinder, the worse conditions seem to get. If the Overlook is working against Dick, he is also blessed with a helping of good fortune. Of all the snowplow drivers he could encounter, he meets one who accepts Dick's story and offers him assistance above and beyond any reasonable expectation.

The Overlook sees Dick as a legitimate threat as he gets closer to the resort. The message the hotel transmits into Dick's mind is as physically painful as any of Danny's calls for help and malicious beyond measure. The Overlook's racist language adds the dimension of prejudice and racism to its many other evils, but it also explains why the Overlook has left Dick alone (more or less) despite his shine. Dick's shine seems sufficient to make the hotel want to absorb his power as it wants Danny's, but the Overlook's attitude about race indicates it has likely passed over Dick because it doesn't want to absorb a black man's power. Dick's race, now the subject of the Overlook's painful attack, has protected him during the term of his employment.

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