The Shining by Stephen King
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.