Study Guide

The Shining Ullman (Barry Nelson)

Ullman (Barry Nelson)

Stuart Ullman is kind of a means to an end: this guy's main job in this movie is to deliver important information that Jack Torrance (and we as an audience) will need to know to set up the premise of this movie. For starters, Ullman foreshadows the mental problems Jack will have in this movie by talking about the horrible effects that being isolated in the hotel can have on a person, saying,

"Physically, it's not a very demanding job. The only thing that can get a bit trying up here during the winter is eh... the tremendous sense of isolation." 

Jack doesn't seem so concerned, but Ullman emphasizes the point a couple of times, almost as if he knows what's going to happen.

When Jack shakes off the idea that isolation will be hard on him, Ullman decides to up the ante by telling Jack all about one of the Overlook Hotel's previous caretakers. As Ullman puts it,

"But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown. He ran amok and eh... killed his family with an axe." 

Ullman doesn't like bringing up this story and it's not going to get him a lot of applications for the role of caretaker. But he feels it's his responsibility to tell Jack about the incident so that Jack has an idea of what he's getting into. Ullman turns out to be quite the foreshadower too, because nearly everything he warns against comes true.

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