Study Guide

The Shining Chapter 4

By Stephen King

Chapter 4


  • When Danny comes in for milk and cookies, Wendy's lying down.
  • (Note: If it sounds like we're talking baby-talk in this section, it's because it's from Danny's point of view, and he's only five.)
  • Against his mother's protests, Danny goes back to the curb to wait anxiously for Jack.
  • It's 5 p.m., but Danny, too young to tell clock-time well, is "aware of passing time by the lengthening of the shadows, and by the golden cast that now tinged the afternoon light" (4.2).
  • He's singing nursery rhymes and thinking of Jack and Jill Nursery School in Stovington.
  • His dad doesn't have the money for nursery school now. Danny doesn't care though – that was just a baby school, though he misses fellow nursery schoolers Andy and Scott. What's important to Danny right now is what's going on with his parents.
  • He always knows what's going on with them, and other things, but they don't really believe him.
  • He'll be patient until the time comes when they have to believe him.
  • Danny isn't old enough to understand some of the things Wendy's thinking about right now, "vague things that had to do with security, with Daddy's selfimage, feelings of guilt and anger and what was to become of them" (4.6).
  • Specifically, she's worried that the car broke down, and/or "that Daddy had gone off to do the Bad Thing" (4.6).
  • Danny knows what the Bad Thing is. Scotty Aaronson's dad had done it too. Scotty's dad "punched his mom right in the eye and knocked her down" (4.6). Because of the Bad Thing, the Aaronson's got a "DIVORCE" (4.7).
  • DIVORCE is the most horrifying thing Danny can imagine. It means your parents fight over you.
  • His parents thought about it often after "Daddy punished [Danny] for messing the papers up in his study and the doctor had to put his arm in a cast" (4.7).
  • Mommy was the main one thinking about DIVORCE then, and Danny was so afraid she would make it a reality.
  • It was because of Danny's arm, and because of what Daddy had done to George Hatfield.
  • Danny knows Daddy is in pain all the time; he always wants "to go into a dark place and watch color TV and eat peanuts out of a bowl and do the BAD THING until his brain would be quiet and leave him alone" (4.8).
  • Jack is close to home now, Danny knows. He didn't break down and he isn't even thinking of drinking, he's thinking of…
  • Danny stops himself. When he thinks too hard, "It [makes] things – real things – go away, and then he [sees] things that aren't there" (4.9).
  • Like once when his parents were thinking about divorce really hard at the breakfast table after the broken arm.
  • (Flashback.)
  • Danny is concentrating too hard, and losing touch with the real world.
  • When he comes back, his parents are in a panic. They think something is wrong with him. He tries to explain, and to tell them "about Tony, who they [call] his 'invisible playmate'" (4.9).
  • Jack says Danny is "having a Ha Loo Sin Nation" (4.10) and then takes him to the doctor.
  • Wendy makes Danny promise not to ever do that again.
  • He's scared, too, because right before Tony came, he'd been in Jack's mind and felt him thinking "SUICIDE" (4.11). Danny doesn't know what that means, but he knows it's worse than DIVORCE. It was the only time he's seen the word there.
  • Tony has followed Danny here to Boulder – he's seen him twice – and Danny's glad to have a friend close by.
  • The first time was just a glimpse, but the second time Tony shows Danny that the movers had put Jack's important trunk, the one with "'THE PLAY'" (4.17) in it, under the stairs.
  • When Jack begins to panic when he can't find it, Danny tells him where the trunk is.
  • (End flashback.)
  • Danny thinks hard about Jack now, "and his body slump[s] on the curb as if all the muscles had gone out of it" (4.25), though he can still see what's going on.
  • He hears Jack thinking about Watson and the Overlook and knows he got the job.
  • Suddenly, Danny hears his name being called.
  • Oh, cool, look, it's Tony.
  • But wait, there's something scary about Tony this time, like he's going to somehow hurt Danny.
  • He must follow.
  • Tony takes him to a place of utter darkness and deep snow.
  • Danny sees a huge building with new shingles on the roof – Jack had put them on.
  • Tony tells Danny, "Poison" (4.37) and then commences to show him warning signs, like "NO SWIMMING. DANGER! LIVE WIRES. THIS PROPERTY CONDEMNED" (4.38). Danny can't read, but he gets the idea.
  • All the sudden he's in a room. There's a mirror. In the mirror he sees the word "REDRUM" (4.40).
  • In another room, he hears a man's voice that sounds a little familiar. The man is screaming "Come out! Come out, you little s***. Take your medicine!" (4.45).
  • Everything in the room is either smashed, or getting smashed, including Wendy's record player and all of her records.
  • The word REDRUM flashes in a mirror.
  • Danny protests, but Tony shows him a bathtub with a hand hanging out of it. The hand is dripping blood.
  • Tony takes Danny to a hallway with blue carpet.
  • A bad "Shape" (4.58) is coming at him now, smelling of "blood and doom" (4.58). It has a huge mallet in its hand and is smashing things with it.
  • Danny begs Tony to take him back. Tony does, right before Jack pulls up.
  • Danny sees Tony just up the block and then he jumps up to greet Jack.
  • Now he's petrified with horror, because "Beside his Daddy in the other front seat, [is] a short-handled mallet, its head clotted with blood and hair" (4.65).
  • Oops. Wrong. It's only a bag of groceries.
  • He tells Jack he loves him, and Jack says he loves Danny too.
  • Danny knows that sometimes the things Tony shows him don't happen.
  • Still, he's afraid, and his fear is connected to the strange word Tony showed him in the mirror.

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