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The Shining Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
The Shining is a story of a desperate family, made up of Jack and Wendy Torrance and their son, Danny. The Overlook Hotel is their last chance to make it as a unit, or so they believe. Sadly, the O...
The Shining is violent from its first moments and has violence on just about every page. You definitely wouldn't want to be a character in this novel, unless you like getting hurt. From angry hedge...
Like much of his work, Stephen King's The Shining is unabashedly supernatural. Of course, it's also deeply natural, as it explores human motivation and the suffering of the human heart. Much of the...
Drugs and Alcohol
Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic, and he thinks about drinking all the time. Alcoholism is strongly linked to dysfunctional families, domestic abuse, and cycles of family violence in the nov...
This theme of time deepens and confuses The Shining. By juxtaposing the novel's present 1975 setting with the other important times at the Overlook, most notably a 1945 masquerade ball, Stephen Kin...
Versions of Reality
The Shining questions the nature of reality at every turn. The novel looks at a variety of factors which impact how reality is perceived and even perverted or masked. Jack, Wendy, and Danny, each i...
You can't get much more isolated than the Overlook Hotel, unless maybe you peek inside the minds of the Torrances. Like the hotel, this family has its share of old ghosts. Also like the hotel, thes...
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'...
Questions of mortality haunt the pages of The Shining. Although Danny sees the word redrum and sees that it means murder quite often before Jack tries to kill him and his mother, he doesn't put it...
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