Study Guide

The Shining Versions of Reality

By Stephen King

Versions of Reality

The Shining questions the nature of reality at every turn. The novel looks at a variety of factors which impact how reality is perceived and even perverted or masked. Jack, Wendy, and Danny, each in their own way are trying to make sense of their realities. They're are all searching for the truth. At the Overlook, reality and truth means accepting the unbelievable and the supernatural. Jack's refusal to accept this is part of what drives him to this tragic end. Wendy and Danny's ability to accept the truth, even when it seems utterly outlandish, is what saves them. The novel also explores how stress, alcoholism, and a person's own past can impact his or her perceptions of reality.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Are any of the characters insane?
  2. Is Danny mentally ill? Is Jack? Is Wendy?
  3. Are the seemingly supernatural occurrences at the Overlook real, or do they somehow take place in the character's minds? Is there some other "rational" explanation for those events?
  4. How does Tony impact Danny's perception of reality?
  5. Does the way we perceive our present realities influence our perceptions of the realities of the past?

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