Study Guide

The Shining Chapter 20

By Stephen King

Chapter 20

Talking to Mr. Ullman

  • Jack is at the Sidewinder public library, looking at newspapers on microfilm, researching the Overlook. He so absorbed he doesn't notice that nearly an hour passes. Wendy comes in, touching his shoulder.
  • She's left Danny to play in the park and seems ready to leave. He's says he'll just be another ten minutes.
  • When she asks, he tells her he's reading about the Overlook.
  • He tries to hide his irritation; she's nagging him and being nosey like when Danny was a baby. She's one of the big reasons he started drinking.
  • When Wendy asks if he's OK, he snaps at her. Hurt, she says she's going to wait with Danny.
  • He calls after her, telling her he has a headache and asking for some Excedrin. This stings her too; Jack chewed Excedrin all the time in his drinking days.
  • After she leaves, he goes to a phone booth in the drugstore.
  • It's November 7. It's started to snow.
  • After buying some Excedrin, Jack reaches Ullman in Florida. He berates him for not telling him about the murders in the Presidential Suite, the hotel's organized crime connections, and other sordid aspects.
  • Ullman denies some of what Jack accuses him of, and tells him none of this is any of his business, or has anything to do with his job.
  • He says he wants Jack fired. Jack says Al Shockley won't let him. Ullman says he doubts Al likes Jack that much.
  • Jack wants to know if Derwent is still an owner. Ullman says he doesn't know; Shockley owns the majority share.
  • Now Jack tells him about finding the scrapbook, and that he plans to write a book about the Overlook.
  • He's pretty high on Excedrin, and his head is better.
  • Ullman doesn't like this idea at all and says he wishes he could fire Jack right now. Jack wonders why he's doing this; could he be trying to get fired?
  • He and Ullman argue a little more, and then Jack bangs down the phone. He thinks "(You lost your temper again, Jack.)" (20.102).
  • What has he done? Is he trying to keep himself from succeeding?
  • He almost goes to get a drink, but remembers a scene from his drinking days and stops.
  • When he gets to the park and sees Wendy and Danny, he prays for another chance, just one more chance. Maybe, he thinks, he didn't call Ullman to sabotage himself, but to get himself and his family from the hotel, which might not be so good for them, after all.

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