Study Guide

The Shining The Supernatural

By Stephen King

The Supernatural

Like much of his work, Stephen King's The Shining is unabashedly supernatural. Of course, it's also deeply natural, as it explores human motivation and the suffering of the human heart. Much of the supernatural centers around shining, Dick Halloran's way of describing what's commonly known as ESP, or extrasensory perception. Both Halloran and Danny, our five-year-old protagonist, can read minds. Both have visions of the future and a heightened sensitivity to the paranormal activity going on at the Overlook. This paranormal activity is highly malevolent and includes ghosts with the ability to physically injure humans. The novel looks at how the natural and the supernatural collide, creating mayhem, but also glimmers of hope for a better future.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Is Jack driven to madness and extreme violence by natural or supernatural forces, or both?
  2. Is Danny's ability more of a gift or a curse?
  3. Does Jack shine? What about Wendy?
  4. Which of the Overlook's ghosts is the scariest?
  5. Is the Overlook hell?
  6. Do you consider Tony natural or supernatural?
  7. When Halloran gets the urge to murder Wendy and Danny just as they are about to escape the Overlook, are supernatural forces at work, or does the desire come from within him somewhere? Either way, why is he able to resist it?

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