Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 5 Chapter 55 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 5, Chapter 55 : Matters of Life and Death, That Which Was Forgotten | Summary



Wendy comes to in her room, having been overwhelmed by her injuries after hearing the snowmobile arrive. She struggles to the hall, calling for Danny or Dick Hallorann. She hears Jack looking for Danny on the floors above. She finds Dick in the hall, badly injured but alive. She shakes him and he comes around. Wendy tells him Danny is on the third floor, with Jack. They listen, but can't tell what is happening until they see the raving thing that was Jack descending in the elevator.

On the third floor Jack finds Danny and swings the mallet at him, declaring the hotel wants him, Jack, not Danny. Danny says, "You're not my Daddy." The creature stops and tells Danny to ask his mother. Danny says, "You're a false face." He tells Jack the hotel is using him and will throw him away when it's done. The creature pauses again when Danny tells Jack the Overlook lies. "Go ahead and hit me. But you'll never get what you want from me," Danny says. Jack returns to his senses briefly to tell Danny he loves him and urge him to run away. Danny refuses and stays with his father. The Overlook makes Jack beat himself with the roque mallet, and the face becomes a composite of all the hotel's inhabitants. Then Danny reminds it of the boiler, which Jack has forgotten to tend all day. The Overlook has forgotten the boiler too. The creature rushes to the elevator in the hope it can reach the basement before the boiler explodes. Danny runs for the stairs.


Danny must face his father, or the thing his father has become, alone because he is the one who fully understands what the Overlook has done to Jack. Wendy and Dick are too badly injured to be much assistance in this fight anyway. Danny's life has been building to this confrontation since his first vision of the Overlook back in Boulder. It's a confrontation that could have been avoided had Jack shown more courage along the way, but now Danny is the one whose courage can save them.

Danny defeats the Overlook and Jack by speaking truth to their power. He tells Jack, if he's in there, the Overlook is using him, but Danny's words also express unending faith in his father. He places the blame entirely on the hotel, saying if his daddy is still in that body, he knows the Overlook is a liar and a cheat. This is a resurgence of Danny's childhood innocence the hotel has not managed to crush. Despite everything, Danny believes the best about the father. In truth, if Jack had recognized the Overlook as a liar and cheat, he might have saved them all much sooner. In his last moments Jack emerges from the Overlook's thrall and rises to Danny's pure and noble image of him. He finds a sense of redemption in declaring his love for Danny and urging him to escape before the Overlook uses the mallet to beat the last of Jack out of this body.

The narrative has dropped hints about the dangerous boiler since Part 1, Chapter 1, and those hints finally come to fruition as does Tony's cryptic remark in Part 5, Chapter 54. Danny has remembered what his father forgot, and it saves Danny's life.

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