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The Shining

The Shining


by Stephen King

The Shining Chapter 3 Summary

How It All Goes Down


  • Jack, still fuming over Ullman bringing up his "temper" (3.1) is getting the tour of the basement from Watson.
  • As Watson is taking Jack around to the boiler, Jack has a flashback.
  • He'd been in his study drinking and working on his play, and had left for a minute to take a call.
  • When he comes back Danny is standing there in his diaper, grinning.
  • The study is completely trashed; Jack's drawers have been totally ransacked and his papers are thrown everywhere. Danny has poured Jack's beer all over his play.
  • Jack is in a rage, and he grabs Danny's arm to make him drop Jack's "typewriter eraser and […] mechanical pencil" (3.8). He twists the arm back and it snaps.
  • Wendy starts screaming and finally calls the hospital.
  • That was two years ago, but it seems like it just happened.
  • All the self-loathing comes back, along with a sudden intense craving for a drink.
  • Watson explains that the boiler has to be checked constantly. If you don't let the steam out periodically, too much pressure builds up and the boiler explodes.
  • Watson thinks the Overlook really needs a new boiler; he's sure "this whole place is gonna go sky high someday" (3.20), and he hopes Ullman is in the hotel at the time.
  • The boiler is supposed to be able to withstand 250 pounds of pressure per square inch, but Watson thinks it would explode long before that.
  • As Watson takes Jack around to brief him on the plumbing, Jack sees old newspapers and file boxes.
  • Jack asks Watson about Grady, and Watson confirms Ullman's story. Grady's daughters were eight and six years old. The whole family was frozen by the time help arrives.
  • Ullman did a good job of keeping it out of the newspapers.
  • There have been lots of "scandals" (3.40) at the Overlook. This summer there had been a scandal. A sixty-year-old woman was here with an eighteen-year-old guy. He was having sex with her for money and drinks and was always flirting with other women. One night he drove away with "the little Porsche they come in" (3.44) and didn't come back. She killed herself with alcohol and sleeping pills. The woman's husband, a lawyer from New York, showed up and threatened to sue Ullman. When Ullman threatened putting the scandal in the papers the husband let the matter drop.
  • A week later one of the maids, a woman named Delores Vickery, said she'd "seen the dead woman in the bathroom, layin' naked in the tub" (3.49). So, Ullman fired her.
  • Apparently, some "forty-fifty" (3.49) people have died there since Watson's grandfather first opened the hotel, back in 1910. Mostly older men dying of heart attacks while having sex with younger women.
  • Watson assures Jack it's nothing unusual, nothing to do with ghosts.
  • As they leave the basement, Jack thinks of Grady murdering his family. He thinks, "[Grady] shouldn't have been here. And he shouldn't have lost his temper" (3.64).
  • Jack wishes he had a drink, "[o]r a thousand of them" (3.65).

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