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Al is a puzzling character. His name implies that he's involved with the all things shock related, which makes sense when we see how connected he is with the Overlook. In fact, at the time of Jack's employ, Al has the controlling financial interest in the place. He's the real reason Jack gets the job. Whether he knows he's sending Jack to his slaughter or not is up for debate. Al is also connected to the theme of alcohol in The Shining. He and Jack were drinking buddies in Vermont. Both stopped drinking after the incident with the kid's bike in the road. (See "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory") All in all, Al is an ambiguous character who injects doubt and uncertainty into the novel.