The Shining Chapter 26 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- As Danny is "making the acquaintance of Room 217's long term-resident" (26.1), Wendy is falling into a profound, dreamless sleep.
- By contrast, Jack (down in the cellar) is dreaming the most vivid dreams of his life.
- He's no longer upset by the call from Al. But, he does still plan to write the book. He won't write it for revenge, no. Rather, "He would write it because the Overlook had enchanted him—[…]" (26.4) and "[…] because he felt he had to" (26.4).
- He's getting sleepy and he drifts asleep, he thinks of his father, "a male nurse at the Berlin Community hospital" (26.5).
- Jack's dad is over six feet tall. Jack is the youngest, his father's favorite. He has two older brothers and a sister, Becky.
- Before Jack turns seven (see Chapter 14 if you forgot what happened when he's seven!) he's really in love with his father, and is always waiting for him to come home from work. His dad plays "Elevator" with him, picking him up and spinning him. If is dad is really drunk, he'll drop Jack on the floor. But other times he won't.
- As he gets a little older, Jack starts to notice that his brother and sister hate his father
- Jack's mother "rarely [speaks] above a mutter, and suffer[s] him only because her Catholic upbringing said she must" (26.11).
- At first it doesn't seem strange to Jack that his father is always hitting his kids, or that "his own love should go hand in hand with his fear" (26.11).
- Soon he begins to notice that his brothers and sister don't even bring their friends over.
- One Sunday night when Jack is nine his father is drowsing in his chair at dinner.
- Suddenly, he wakes up and says something to Jack's mother about "coffee" (26.12). When she starts to answer him, he begins beating her head with the cane. He hits her seven times with it.
- As he's beating her, he says, "Now. Now by Christ. I guess you'll take your medicine now. Goddamn puppy. Whelp. Come on and take your medicine" (26.14).
- They go to the same hospital where his father works. Jack's father tells the doctor that his mother fell. The doctor doesn't believe him at all. He talks to Jack's father, Mark, "with a horrid, grinning sarcasm" (26.14). Later, Jack's mother "corroborated their father's story while holding the hand of the parish priest" (26.14).
- Jack's oldest brother Brett joins the army a few days later. A few years later, when Jack is twelve years old, his brother Mike leaves for college.
- The following year his father dies of a stroke. He had lots of insurance, and the family is almost rich for about five years.
- (End flashback.)
- As Jack dreams, he sees himself as a little boy waiting for his dad to come home. He's by the elevator now, waiting for it to come.
- Soon, in the dream, his own young face is replaced by Danny's. He's dreaming of when he broke Danny's arm.
- Now he's dreaming of his mother's bloody face after his father caned her. He hears her voice, like from a radio, telling him to listen to "an enormously important announcement from your father. Please stay tuned or tune immediately to the Happy Jack frequency" (26.21).
- He sees Ullman's files, his desk, his keys – dreamily he notices the missing pass key, wonders who took it…He sees the CB radio and turns it on.
- His father's voice is coming out of it. It tells him to "kill" Danny and Wendy, "Because a real artist must suffer. Because each man kills the thing he loves" (26.30), and because they will always be "conspiring against him" (26.30).
- The voice tells him to "cane [Danny] within an inch of his life" (26.20).
- The voice is getting louder, and squeakier, and "not human at all" (26.30).
- Jack screams at it, "You're dead, you're in your grave, you're not in me at all!" (26.32).
- He picks up the radio and smashes it. Then he hears Wendy's voice calling to him and he hears her feet on the stairs.
- He looks at the radio and realizes that now their only link to the outside world is the snowmobile.
- His head starts to throb.