Study Guide

The Shining Point of View

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Point of View

Third-Person Omniscient

At first, it seems that this movie could be told entirely from the third-person limited perspective of Jack Torrance. But the moment the movie cuts away from his interview with Mr. Ullman, we see that the movie is going to give equal attention to Jack's wife Wendy and their son Danny, often following them through scenes that Jack's not involved in.

At times, you might even wonder who the main character of this movie is. When we follow Danny driving his toy bike around the Overlook Hotel, it certainly seems like he's our main guy.

But we also feel a strong attachment to Jack since he's the first character we meet in the movie. This difficult of choosing a main character makes The Shining different from other horror movies that draw a clear line between the heroes and villains.

Yes, Jack is our villain. (The axe gives him away.) But it's awfully weird to have a villain who is also the sort-of protagonist. We'd like to believe Jack when he hears about the Delbert Grady murders and says,

"Well, you can rest assured Mr. Ullman, that's not going to happen with me."

In terms of foreshadowing, he might as well have said,

"I guarantee you that something like that will happen to me."

But we get to get out of Jack Torrance's rapidly deteriorating mind and into the POV of nicer characters like Wendy, Danny and Halloran. That's both good—we get a break from psychosis, phew—and bad—we get to see the horrific effects of Jack's psychosis on his innocent family members.

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