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The Japanese Lanterns

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In "Setting," we talk about how the 1945 and 1975 settings help turn The Shining into, among many other things, an expression of post-war anxiety. The Japanese lanterns on hand at the 1945 masquerade ball contribute to that argument. Rather subtly, the novel asks if it's fair that Derwent and his revelers are enjoying a fabulous party with imported Japanese lanterns when the Japanese are reeling from the effects of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The explosion of this never ending party along with the rest of the Overlook shows the violence turned upon those who were (symbolically) so oblivious to it.

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