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The Shining

The Shining


by Stephen King

The Shining Theme of Language and Communication

This theme is everywhere in The Shining. Jack, Danny, and Wendy are struggling to communicate meaningfully with each other as a family. Somewhat paradoxically, Danny's ability to read his parents' minds both expands and limits their communications. Although Jack and Wendy accept to some degree Danny's gift, they can't accept it enough to talk to him about it honestly. Thus, there's something of a communication breakdown whenever the subject comes up, which is pretty often. Wendy comes to terms with it fully before the end of the novel. This is one thing that probably saves her from dying in the Overlook. Danny's ability to communicate with Halloran mind-to-mind, long distance, is the real clincher.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. What are some of the things the ghosts in the Overlook are trying to communicate?
  2. Is Wendy a good communicator?
  3. Why does Jack resort to his father's words when he's trying to kill Danny and Wendy?
  4. Are ghosts really telling Jack what to do, or are the instructions to kill his family coming from inside him? Or both?

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