Study Guide

The Shining Chapter 36

By Stephen King

Chapter 36

The Elevator

  • Jack is dreaming that things are chasing him through the snow. Then another dream cuts in, of sounds, "clicks and clanks, hummings, rattlings, snaps and whooshes" (36.1).
  • When he feels Wendy move to a sitting position beside him, he knows the sounds aren't from a dream. It's just before midnight. He realizes he's hearing the elevator.
  • Danny's awake now, too, and he's afraid. He says, "It's the elevator" (36.9).
  • Jack agrees, rather calmly, and says he's going to check on it.
  • Wendy is in a panic – if the elevator is moving, someone has to be inside it, operating it. Jack tells her it's probably some kind of short circuit.
  • Wendy doesn't want him to leave them here by themselves while he goes to check.
  • He gets up to go anyway, and Wendy and Danny scramble to follow him.
  • The Torrances stand by the elevator, listening to it run. At one point, they hear the elevator doors open below them at the lobby level.
  • The word "(party)" is in suddenly in Wendy's brain and she has no idea where it's come from. Her brain is overcome by a picture of the lights, champagne, and an orchestra playing music from before she was born. It seems like a memory.
  • She hears the sound of the elevator door closing and then of the elevator beginning to rise.
  • When the elevator car is in view she can see that there's nobody in it.
  • Somehow she knows that there were lots of people in it the night of the party, all in masks. Wendy doesn't understand about the masks.
  • When she looks at Danny she sees he's gone pale.
  • They hear the car stop above them and then open.
  • Wendy hears some people talking about the party – someone is saying they have to go to sleep and can't wait for the "unmasking" (36.40).
  • As the elevator starts up, Wendy tells Jack she's "hearing voices in [her] head" (36.45) and feels like she's going insane.
  • Danny says he's hearing them too; he also hears music from long ago.
  • Jack suggests "conversationally," that Wendy and Danny "are both crazy" (36.50). He insists that the elevator is only having some kind of electrical issue.
  • Jack breaks the glass that houses the emergency elevator key. He goes toward the elevator with it and Wendy tries to stop him.
  • He pushes her and she falls, taking Danny with her.
  • When the car gets near their floor, Jack turns the key to stop it. He forces the doors open. The bottom of the car is at his chest since he stopped the elevator before it had fully descended.
  • He stands looking into it, and then tells Wendy and Danny there's no one, nothing, inside.
  • When he begins to close the doors, Wendy pulls him aside and jumps into the car.
  • She throws something out of the car, and there's confetti all over the hall. She also finds an old-looking "party streamer" and a "black silk cat's eye mask" (36.66).
  • She yells at him, "Does this look like a short circuit to you, Jack?" (36.69)
  • Jack backs up, "shaking his head mechanically back and forth" (36.70) looking at the mask and the confetti.

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