Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 5 Chapter 50 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 5, Chapter 50 : Matters of Life and Death, REDRUM | Summary

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Summary

In the early evening, Danny falls asleep and the hotel sounds cease abruptly. Wendy hears Jack through the dumbwaiter and furnace vents, talking to someone about killing her and Danny. She suspects Jack has gotten out of the pantry. She takes the knife and goes out to investigate what is happening, but she doesn't lock the door for vague reasons nibbling at her mind.

At the bottom of the stairs in the lobby, she hears the clock in the ballroom strike twelve and hears chants of "Unmask! Unmask!" She sees Jack coming toward her with the roque mallet in hand. He hits her with it twice before she runs for the stairs. He follows and hits her again, breaking two ribs. She charges him and jumps on his back, stabbing him with the knife. He collapses. She struggles to walk up the steps, but she refuses to crawl until she is away from Jack. When she reaches the ninth step, she hears him say, "You bitch. You killed me." She pulls herself forward up the stairs as he comes toward her.

Analysis

When Wendy hears Jack through the vents talking about killing her and Danny, she finally gives up her hope that he might be redeemed or saved. She knows his intentions and rightly believes he is at large in the hotel again. She has been in her quarters for hours listening to the Overlook come alive, and she is tired of waiting for someone to come kill her. She ventures out to confront Jack.

Wendy meets Jack as the hotel denizens chant "Unmask!" Jack and Wendy both discard their metaphorical masks as they fight bitterly and violently. Gone is any pretense of caring for one another. Gone is any illusion the marriage can be saved. Wendy doesn't start this fight, but she will not surrender her life or Danny's life without defending them with all she has. She puts the kitchen knife into her husband without a second thought because it's her only option. He only survives the stabbing because the Overlook keeps him alive and moving. Under ordinary circumstances, she would have killed him, but under ordinary circumstances, she wouldn't need to kill him.

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