Literature Study GuidesThe ShiningPart 5 Chapter 57 Summary

The Shining | Study Guide

Stephen King

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The Shining | Part 5, Chapter 57 : Matters of Life and Death, Exit | Summary



The fire roars through the hotel. Danny and Dick help Wendy onto the snowmobile. They can see the fire consuming the lobby and the upper floors, including the Presidential Suite. A shape resembling "a huge, obscene manta" or a "cloud of hornets" emerges from the Presidential Suite's shattered window and then dissipates.

They stop at the equipment shed to gather some woolen horse blankets to insulate themselves on the drive back to Sidewinder. In the shed, Dick is momentarily distracted by the set of roque mallets. He takes one in hand, thinking about how all this is Danny's fault. The trance breaks when Wendy and Danny speak to him. Still he hears the Overlook voice in his head urging him to kill them. He grabs the blankets and flees to the snowmobile. He wraps Wendy and Danny in wool and drives away, past the playground and charred topiaries. Twenty miles from Sidewinder, the sky clears and Danny spots a chain of vehicles coming up the road to greet them with extra clothes, brandy, and Dr. Edmonds.


The Overlook Hotel is not going out without a few last gasps. The shape that emerges from the Presidential Suite window and dissipates is the essential evil of the place. The fact that it escapes the flames hints at the possibility of its enduring after the fire, and the Overlook's last-gasp attempt to possess Dick Hallorann in the equipment shed lends some credence to this possibility. Wendy and Danny break the spell with their voices alone, because Dick doesn't have the same darkness inside him Jack had. Dick doesn't have as much material for the Overlook to manipulate and bend to its will because Dick is an inherently good man. Jack tried to be a good man, but he was more damaged and weak.

The outpouring of assistance from Sidewinder is another example of inherent goodness. Whether the Sidewinder residents can see the fire from town or whether Larry Durkin sounded the alarm after Dick Hallorann passed through his station, these are people ready to lend help where they know it's needed. After the death and debauchery of the Overlook Hotel and its residents, the literal outpouring of support acts as a restoration of faith in human kindness.

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