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The Shining

The Shining


Stephen King

 Table of Contents


Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

The Shining Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory


We use the word REDRUM throughout this guide to refer to killing and violence. If you really want to understand redrum, try this brief exercise. First, get some red lipstick (like Danny writes with...

The Wasps' Nest and the Wasps

Most of us don't fancy a wasp. They are pretty unloved as creatures go. As we see in the novel, they can sting over and over again without dying, unlike bees who can only sting once. When Jack give...

The Fire Extinguishers

Although both Jack and Danny see the fire extinguishers move, and Danny is particularly frightened of them, they don't prove menacing. In fact, they are what they seem, rather puny creatures, unfit...

The Topiary

If you're looking for a discussion of the hedge animals, see "Setting."

The Roque Mallet

The roque mallet lends the story an unrelenting and murderous rhythm, creates suspense, and works as a rather unique symbol. We hear about the roque mallet from the first Tony incident and then we...

The Cane

Jack's father's cane is the ultimate symbol of Jack's childhood trauma. Although the cane isn't used on Jack, his father quite nearly beats Jack's mother to death with it. The roque mallet becomes...

The Scrapbook

The scrapbook is a confusing symbol. As we discuss in "Setting," it contains some of the crucial details of the Overlook's history from 1945 to 1967. For Jack, the scrapbook is a symbol of the nove...

The Japanese Lanterns

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 masquera...

The Masquerade Ball

Edgar Allan Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" is heavily alluded to in the novel's epigraph. In his introduction to Poe's short story, Poe expert, G.R. Thompson, explains that in the Renaissance prod...


This is a juicy symbol. Broadly, it's a symbol of children's literature, and gets us into hot-button issues of censorship and age-appropriateness. In case you've missed it, Bluebeard is the story o...

The Bike

After a night of drunken carousing, Al Shockley and Jack run into a child's bicycle on the road. Jack is sure they've hit a child, but, apparently, they haven't. Jack and Al find no body and no men...

The Timer

For Jack, the timer is symbolic of his conflict with George Hatfield, the fight which loses him his job and pushes him toward the Overlook. George, a student on Jack's debate team, stutters and the...

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