Study Guide

The Shining Chapter 34

By Stephen King

Chapter 34

The Hedges

  • The Torrances have a fabulous Thanksgiving and Danny's bruises are almost gone.
  • On Thanksgiving, Wendy asks Danny if he's still frightened. He says that he is, but he steers clear of the dangerous places in the hotel.
  • She tells Danny that the "forest rangers" (34.7) might come to the Overlook to check on them when they can't reach them on the radio. If they do, then maybe she and Danny will let Jack spend the winter here alone. He doesn't seem overly excited about the idea.
  • It's November 29th now and Danny knows that his parents are asleep upstairs, and that they had sex before that.
  • Danny can tell that Wendy is still frightened. He also knows that Jack seems to have done something difficult, something "right" (34.9) but something he might be "ashamed" (34.9) of at the same time. Still, Danny can sense that his parents are happy.
  • Danny doesn't quite understand this, and he hasn't been able to read his father's mind to get a clear picture. When he tries, Jack looks at him in a scary way, as if aware that Danny is trying to read his mind.
  • While Jack and Wendy are upstairs, Danny is about to go snowshoeing. He's going to the playground. Even though Halloran said not to play around the hedges, Danny just thinks they look silly, all covered in snow.
  • Danny's dad had praised his snowshoeing, but he still needs to build up muscle.
  • Since the playground is downhill from the hotel, Danny snowshoes to it without taking a break.
  • Covered in snow, the playground is looking better to him than it had before.
  • Danny can see where the concrete tunnels, also covered in snow, begin. He digs a hole in the snow, that lets him climb into one of them. Inside it, he pretends he's a character in an action show, running and hiding.
  • Danny sees where the snow blocks the other side of the tunnel. He tries to break that snow, but there is too much weight.
  • He feels trapped, and he's suddenly aware that nobody knows where he is. The hole he'd made could easily cave in and he would be stuck.
  • As he's trying to crawl out the way he came in, still wearing the snowshoes, that's what happens. It doesn't completely cave in, but it does block Danny's light and makes him fall back.
  • Then he realizes that "There [is] something in here with him, some awful thing the Overlook had saved for just such a chance as this" (34.28).
  • Danny thinks of all the horrible things it could be, including the woman from 217 and the bloody wall of the Presidential Suite. Maybe it's a dead child, a child who met its end here on the Overlook playground and now wants to play with Danny.
  • He thinks he hears something crawling, crawling, and he jumps up and tunnels furiously to try to get out.
  • Then he's free, putting his snow shoes on properly, staring at the tunnel in fear, from the swing set.
  • He hears the sound of a big chunk of snow falling off of something. It's the dog hedge animal – snow had fallen off of it.
  • Danny isn't worried. The sun is shining. It's normal for snow to melt in the sunlight.
  • As Danny moves to leave the playground, he thinks he sees a sad and lonely child's hand waving at him from the shadowy area where he'd dug a hole into the concrete tunnel.
  • He hears more lumps of snow falling. This time it's one of the lions.
  • Danny is resolved to escape. He focuses on the task of snowshoeing, as he flees.
  • Again, he hears the lumps of snow hitting the ground – the other two lions are very near him now. He falls in surprise and fights to get back up. When he does, the hedge animals are closer.
  • Danny hears his dad's snowshoeing instructions in his mind and focuses on keeping balance.
  • When he looks behind him, he's sees that the hedge animals are gaining on him. If he falls now, they will surely get him.
  • The lion is so close, and he sees that the rabbit has turned its head to get a better view of the situation.
  • He's out of the playground now, running in his snowshoes, over the lawn toward the porch.
  • He hears the sound of a jump, and as he lands on the porch there's a bad pain in his leg, and he hears cloth rip. There's the scent of "blood and evergreen" (34.70) in the air.
  • He crying on the porch, with his heart beating hard, and blood coming from his nose.
  • Some time passes and then Wendy comes out of the house, calling his name frantically. Jack comes out and helps Danny get up.
  • There's a scratch on his leg and his sock is torn, as if he'd gotten scratched by one of the evergreen shrubs.
  • When Danny looks into the distance and sees the hedge animals, he falls into Jack's arms and the tears start up again.

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