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The Shining

The Shining

by Stephen King

The Shining Chapter 5 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Phonebooth

  • At the drugstore, Jack leaves Danny in the car while he calls Al Shockley to thank him for getting him the job at the Overlook. He'll be glad to get it over with.
  • He could have called Al from home, but he was too proud.
  • Jack's worldly possessions amounted to six hundred bucks in savings and the old car. Pride is the only thing left he can completely call his own.
  • Just six months before, things had been "very good" (5.14).
  • (Flashback to six months ago.)
  • The teaching job is going well. He's stopped drinking, so they are saving money and thinking of buying a house.
  • But then he loses his temper when he catches George Hatfield slashing his tires.
  • After the school asks for his resignation, his temper is so high he's afraid he'll hurt Jack and Wendy, so he leaves the house.
  • He goes to a bar and almost goes in. Love for Danny and Wendy stops him.
  • (Flashback to before Jack stopped drinking.)
  • Al Shockley and Jack are drinking buddies.
  • Al is separated from his wife, and Jack's marriage to Wendy is on the rocks.
  • They stay out late drinking, and Jack finds Wendy and Danny sleeping on the couch together.
  • The sight of them makes Jack hate himself and want to kill himself.
  • Weekdays he gets a few hours of sleep before crawling to school to teach his morning classes with red eyes and a hangover.
  • He drives drunk frequently.
  • The people he works with are starting to talk about him.
  • Stovington had been happy to have him at first. He'd published about 24 short stories and was a promising writer, a good person to teach creative writing and English lit.
  • He's working on a play, thinking about writing a novel, but as the drinking gets worse, his writing becomes less focused.
  • Jack doesn't know he's an alcoholic; he thinks he can stop drinking whenever he wants.
  • About a month after he breaks Danny's arm, he thinks his marriage is basically finished.
  • He and Al are driving home from a bar, completely smashed.
  • Al is at the wheel of his Jaguar, doing seventy.
  • Suddenly, they see "a kid's bike in the road" (5.29). Al slams the breaks and hits the bike going about forty miles per hour.
  • Jack thinks they hit whoever was riding the bike, which is destroyed, but they can't find a body. The car has two flat tires.
  • Al calls a friend a pays him to bring them new tires.
  • Driving home, Jack decides to quit drinking.
  • When he gets home and sees Danny and Wendy on the couch he remembers breaking Danny's arm and wants to kill himself.
  • The next morning he calls in sick to school.
  • At breakfast, Wendy says she wants to talk to him. He asks her if she can postpone the talk for one week. Reluctantly, she agrees.
  • She tells Jack that Danny dreamed Jack was in a car crash the night before.
  • That afternoon he's dying for a drink and he goes over to Al's. They don't have drinks.
  • After a week, Wendy sees he's not drinking. He comes home late, but doesn't smell like alcohol.
  • Everything gets better. Until the incident with George Hatfield.
  • (End flashback.)
  • Finally, Al answers the phone.
  • They exchange pleasantries, and confirm that they are both still on the wagon.
  • Jack thanks Al for the job and quickly gets off the phone so he can get back to Danny.
  • Danny tries to tell Jack about what Tony showed him. He's thinking about the part where Jack hurts Danny. But Jack's thinking about the Bad Thing, so Danny drops it.
  • Jack looks at Danny with concern.

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