Study Guide

The Shining Violence

By Stephen King


The Shining is violent from its first moments and has violence on just about every page. You definitely wouldn't want to be a character in this novel, unless you like getting hurt. From angry hedge animals to ghosts with the power to bruise human flesh, this story is laden with brutality. The Overlook hotel feeds on violence. This leaves Jack particularly vulnerable. Jack has been battling violence all his life – from the abuse his father visits upon Jack, his siblings, and his mother, to Jack's own violent temper. Although he's far less violent than his father, extreme anger and aggression lurks inside him and threatens to destroy his life at every moment. Jack's losing battle to control his violence is touchingly painful to watch. We all know what it's like to fight for control over some destructive quality or emotion. One thing that makes The Shining so arresting is its take on how violence and love can get tangled up together in abusive relationships.

Questions About Violence

  1. Is Danny ever violent?
  2. If Jack hadn't been taken over by the Overlook, could he have found a way to control his temper?
  3. How does Danny feel about the fact that Jack broke his arm?
  4. Is Jack's childhood violence solely a reaction to his own abuse?
  5. What's The Shining's most violent moment? Why?
  6. Could reading The Shining help someone who is struggling with issues of violence in his/her life?
  7. Does The Shining glorify or romanticize violence? Does it desensitize readers to violence?

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