The Shining by Stephen King, Review by Shaylan Jewell

The Shining by Stephen King

From Goodreads.com:

Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine.

 

Imagine having a strong psychic ability that allows one to see things that they don’t always want to see. In The Shining by Stephen King, this strange power gives five year old Danny Torrance negative thoughts on his new temporary home. He believes that staying in the Overlook Hotel will somehow bring his family back together. However, Danny later begins seeing mysterious visions that make him question his father’s decision of becoming the new Winter Caretaker. This haunting novel describes a father’s constant battle against alcoholism, a mother’s newly found fear for her husband, and a son’s thoughts on his father’s last bit of sanity. I was intrigued by the entire novel, but the eerie setting, detailed plot, and emotional theme were the elements that really drew me in.

The amazingly detailed setting of The Shining was what made me love the book. This story is set in the small town of Boulder, Colorado, in the freezing months of 1975. The weather was a major factor in the novel, considering that the Torrance family becomes trapped in the hotel during a snowstorm. Stephen King was obviously creating the mood of horror in this novel, but the story has a deeper meaning, which creates a more emotional feeling. For example, Jack Torrance often speaks of how his life would be much better if only he could stop thinking about alcohol. With the fitting location, changing mood, and incredible detail, the setting became a major element of this novel.

Secondly, the unique and relatable plot was a significant point that completely captivated me. Specifically, the internal conflicts that the characters were facing were key factors of the plot. Jack Torrance was constantly questioning whether or not to give into the hotel’s instructions to kill his family. Throughout the book, Wendy and Danny were both internally debating on whether to save themselves from the hotel or to try saving the dangerous and psychotic Jack as well. Also, I enjoyed the flashbacks and foreshadowing described in the novel. Jack often had flashbacks of his drinking days. Foreshadowing was used in the beginning of the book, when Danny was receiving visions of the hotel. Overall, I could tell that the plot was extremely thought out and well constructed.

Lastly, the emotional theme of this novel intrigued me. The novel had such a deeper meaning than what most people would originally expect. The effects of alcoholism were main themes of The Shining. Jack is an alcoholic, which is why he previously abused his son. Wendy and Danny were constantly worrying that he would strike again. I knew that this was the theme because Jack was believing that his loss of sanity was due to the hotel itself, when it was mainly his alcohol withdrawals. It was beautifully written, as if the author were speaking from experience! The themes were definitely not what I had expected.

Overall, the book was a great read that was unique and beautifully written. I recommend it to those who love thrillers, yet enjoy novels with deeper meanings. Due to the mature language, I would not recommend it to children, however I believe that teens would enjoy this novel. The story gives the feelings of loss, fear, and desperation. There were many aspects of this book that caught my attention, and I hope that they catch other readers’ attentions as well. With the characters and plot that many readers can connect to, Stephen King did not disappoint me. For an intriguing novel with a detailed setting, relatable plot, and emotional theme, read The Shining by Steven King.

Advertisements

6 responses

  1. Hi, Shaylan

    Really nice job!! I have actually always wanted to read this book, but for some reason I still have not read it. I have heard that it’s a really cool book, and after your review I am definitely going to buy it. I have already read one of your reviews and commented on it, saying that I “look forward to reading more of your work.” You did not disappoint. 🙂 Really solid work! You are a fantastic writer!!

    A few suggestions…
    Nice opening sentence! I’ll give you a suggestion that I gave one of your peers. Keep in mind this is just the way I personally like to write, not necessarily the “right” way. I always like to put the author before the title. For example, instead of saying, “In The Shining by Stephen King,” I would say, “In Stephen King’s, The Shining,” and then go from there. I think this sounds a lot stronger, which is why I like to set it up that way. How you wrote it is perfectly fine. Just a suggestion.
    Goodness, that’s a really strong opening paragraph!
    Try including more direct quotes from the novel. This is a great way to strengthen your writing and your ideas.
    In the final paragraph, you wrote, “Due to the mature language, I would not recommend it to children, however I believe that teens would enjoy this novel.” This would be more effective if you split this sentence, putting a period after children and capitalizing “however.” Also, towards the end of the final paragraph you wrote, “…and I hope that they can catch other readers’ attentions as well.” I personally would revise that sentence to strengthen and clarify what you are trying to say. You could rework it to something like, “…and I hope that they catch the attention of other readers, as well.”

    Overall strong writing. If you keep this kind of work up, I’d say I’ll be reading one of your own novels in a few years! 🙂

    Hannah

    1. Dear Hannah,

      Thank you for giving me advice on how to improve my writing! I read your comment a while back and in my most recent review, I took your advice. For example, you said that writing the author’s name before the title would be a nice change up. That’s exactly what I did on my last review, and it truly did sound better.

      I also noticed that Mrs.Baisden had brought up my incorrect sentence in my last paragraph. I reread that just now and I realized how bad it sounded! But again, thank you.

      -Shaylan

  2. Shaylan,

    This is an excellent review. I loved what you found interesting in this novel and how you described how each part interested you. I have just a few suggestions that would help make this already very strong review even stronger. You begin strong with a great attention-grabbing paragraph.

    In the first sentence you have a singular/plural disagreement. You use the word “one” and then go on to say “they.” You can easily fix this by changing “they don’t” to “he/she doesn’t.”

    In your fourth paragraph, you reiterate that Jack is an alcoholic. Since you have told us this before, I might reword the following sentence a little:
    “Jack is an alcoholic, which is why he previously abused his son. Wendy and Danny were constantly worrying that he would strike again.”
    You could change this into something like, “Jack, being an alcoholic, previously abused his son.” This is just a smoother reiteration of the previous sentence.

    The last paragraph is your recap. That being said, I may change your first sentence to include the books title.

    Another sentence in your last paragraph contains a comma splice. Here is the sentence:
    “Due to the mature language, I would not recommend it to children, however I believe that teens would enjoy this novel.”
    You can fix this in one of two ways. You can create two sentences out of the one through ending the first sentence before “however.” Another way would be to use a semicolon before “however,” and add a comma following it (this is the way I prefer of the two suggestions). You sentence, rewritten this way, would look like:
    “Due to the mature language, I would not recommend it to children; however, I believe that teens would enjoy this novel.”

    You have such a strongly written paper that the second-to-last sentence in your last paragraph does not do justice to the rest of your work. I would reword this sentence to either be clearer and smoother, or I would revise it to say something a little different.

    Overall, you’re writing is strong, clear, and well-thought out. I continue to be impressed by your writing. The suggestions I made above are very minor. Good luck and I look forward to reading more of your work.

    1. Dear Kara,

      Thank you for giving me helpful tips and positive feedback! I realized after I read your comment that my first sentence did sound a little strange. My pronoun and antecedent did not agree. I believe Mrs.Baisden also brought that up on my rubric.

      Also, you said that I repeated myself while bring up Jack’s alcoholism. I tend to repeat myself, and I plan on fixing that.

      Thanks again.

      -Shaylan

  3. Dear Hannah,

    Thank you for giving me advice on how to improve my writing! I read your comment a while back and in my most recent review, I took your advice. For example, you said that writing the author’s name before the title would be a nice change up. That’s exactly what I did on my last review, and it truly did sound better.

    I also noticed that Mrs.Baisden had brought up my incorrect sentence in my last paragraph. I reread that just now and I realized how bad it sounded! But again, thank you.

    -Shaylan

  4. Dear Kara,

    Thank you for giving me helpful tips and positive feedback! I realized after I read your comment that my first sentence did sound a little strange. My pronoun and antecedent did not agree. I believe Mrs.Baisden also brought that up on my rubric.

    Also, you said that I repeated myself while bring up Jack’s alcoholism. I tend to repeat myself, and I plan on fixing that.

    Thanks again.

    -Shaylan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: