Study Guide

The Shining The Hedge Maze

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The Hedge Maze

Now where would poor Danny Torrance be without the Overlook's famous hedge maze? He'd be in Deadsville, Population: Danny.

As Mr. "Information Tool" Ullman says at the beginning of the movie,

"This is our famous hedge maze. It's quite an attraction around here. The walls are thirteen feet high and the hedges are about as old as the hotel itself." 

Now mazes are something you'll find in famous art all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. But in this case, the maze is an especially good symbol for Jack Torrance's descent into madness. His is a winding, twisting path towards absolutely insanity… that eventually leads him to his death in the middle of the hedge maze. Fitting, eh?

As Mr. Ullman tells us, it's not easy to find your way out of the Overlook's hedge maze once you've gotten into it:

"It's a lot of fun, but I wouldn't go in there unless I had an hour to spare to find my way out." 

Yet while Jack Torrance spends the movie trying to write, Danny familiarizes himself with the maze, and it's this knowledge that will eventually save his life. (Then again, you wonder why the ghosts of the Overlook couldn't help Jack get out, since they were powerful enough to let him out of a locked room. Maybe they were too busy at their perpetual Great Gatsby-themed party to learn how the hedge maze worked?)

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