Study Guide

The Shining Quotes

  • Family

    ULLMAN: He ran amok and eh... killed his family with an axe.

    Ullman doesn't like bringing it up, but he feels like it's his duty to tell Jack Torrance that one of the hotel's former caretakers lost his mind and killed his whole family. Jack doesn't seem too concerned, but we all know that he definitely should be.

    ULLMAN: Good. Glad you made it before they shut down the kitchen. Is your family having a look around?
    JACK: No, my son's discovered the games room.

    At this point in the movie, Jack still seems pretty happy go lucky about his new job and his family. However, we can already tell something's wrong by the way Jack always acts more nicely to strangers than he does to his wife and son.

    ULLMAN: Yes, very cozy for a family, and if you feel like spreading out you have the rest of the hotel to move around in.

    Ullman is conscious of the fact that Jack will bring his family with him to live in the Overlook Hotel. He's especially concerned about how the family will live through the harsh winter months in total isolation. After all, experience has shown him what can happen to a family in these conditions, and it ain't pretty.

    HALLORANN: Well, look sir, I hate to put you to any trouble, but there's a family up there all by themselves with a young kid, and with this storm and everything.

    Hallorann might seem like he's just concerned about Danny and his parents because of the storm. But the truth is that Danny has used his mental powers to warn Hallorann that something terrible is going on with his family.

    WENDY: You son of a b****! You did this to him, didn't you?"

    It doesn't take much to convince Wendy that Jack is responsible for the bruises around Danny's neck. After all, Jack has a history of hurting the kid. Plus the fear and isolation of their situation is putting everyone on edge to begin with, so it's no wonder why Wendy would look for the simplest possible explanation. The alternative is believing that a ghost strangled Danny.

    JACK: I haven't laid a hand on him. Goddam it, I didn't. I wouldn't touch one hair of his goddam little head. I love the little son-of-a-b****.

    Jack is sick and tired of having his previous mistakes held against him and he hates that Wendy would be so quick to blame him for their son's injuries. And to show how upset he is, he decides he's going to murder both of them. Or something like that.

    JACK: I'd do anything for him. Any f***ing thing for him.

    Jack truly believes that he loves his son more than anything in the world. It's almost as if he can't feel the murderous rage building inside him. Or maybe, just maybe he thinks his family will be together forever if they all die together.

    GRADY: Did you know, Mr. Torrance, that your son... is attempting to bring an outside party into this situation? Did you know that?

    Delbert Grady becomes a sort of ghostly advisor to Jack as the movie goes on. The problem is that most of his advice tends to end with a demand that Jack murder his family.

    GRADY: Your son has a very great talent. I don't think you are aware how great it is, but he is attempting to use that very talent against your will.

    As a ghost, Grady seems aware of whenever other ghostly stuff is going on. That's why he gets so concerned when he senses that Danny is using his shining skills to call Mr. Hallorann to the hotel.

    GRADY: But I corrected them, sir. And when my wife tried to prevent me from doing my duty I corrected her.

    Delbert Grady is proud of his track record, which includes killing his family with an axe. In his mind, though, this was nothing more than his duty as a father to "correct" his family when they did things he didn't like. Well that's certainly a light way of putting it, Dad.

  • Violence

    ULLMAN: He ran amok and eh... killed his family with an axe.

    Ullman isn't comfortable talking about it, but he feels like it's his duty to tell Jack about how the previous caretaker killed his family with an axe. After all, the isolation of the hotel might have helped cause the tragedy, and Jack is about to be put in the same circumstances with his family.

    JACK: I dreamed that I... that I killed you and Danny.

    At this point in the movie, it seems as though Jack still loves his family enough not to kill them. This feeling won't last all that long, but at this point the thought of killing his family is nothing more than a nightmare for Jack.

    JACK: But I didn't just kill you, I cut you up into little pieces.

    As if his nightmare weren't bad enough, Jack dreams that he brutally butchered his wife and son. Little does he know that this is exactly what he'll try to do later in the movie. It's pretty sad that he can't see it coming.

    JACK: I did hurt him once, okay? It was an accident, completely unintentional. It could have happened to anybody.

    Jack is willing to admit that he injured his son once. But he's not convinced that this makes him an abusive dad. In his mind, he just had a temporary loss of control over his strength. But a child services worker might disagree with him on this.

    JACK: Darling, light of my life, I'm not going to hurt you. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said I'm not going to hurt you... I'm just going to bash your brains in!

    By this point in the movie, it's pretty clear that Jack has completely snapped and that's a danger to his wife and son. Luckily, Wendy is able to smack him unconscious with a bat before he can hurt her. After all, it sounds like he'd like to do a lot worse to her.

    JACK: I think you hurt my head real bad. I'm dizzy. I need a doctor.

    When his threats don't convince Wendy to let him out of the storage room, Jack resorts to begging in hopes of tricking Wendy into letting him out. Luckily for Wendy, she's too smart to fall for this.

    JACK: Did your mother ever say that to you—that I would hurt you?

    Jack wants to know if Wendy has ever told Danny that he (Jack) would hurt him. After all, he's sick of being treated like an abusive maniac just because he pulled too hard on his son's arm one time when Danny was very young. This kind of accusation is almost enough to send him off the deep end.

    WENDY: It's... it's just the sort of thing you do a hundred times with a child—you know, in a park or on the streets—but on this particular occasion my husband just... used too much strength and he injured Danny's arm.

    At the beginning of the movie, Wendy is happy to make excuses for her husband and to explain away the injury he caused Danny. Now it might be true that the injury was a total accident, but the fact that Jack was drunk at the time suggests that Wendy has more to worry about than just an isolated accident.

    ULLMAN: The site is supposed to be located on an Indian burial ground, and I believe they actually had to repel a few Indian attacks as they were building it.

    The Overlook Hotel is no stranger to violence. Even during its construction, the place was the site of several battles between the builders and some local Native Americans. Building the thing on a Native American burial ground is also something that never tends to work out well in the movies.

    Cut to the two GRADY Girls laying on floor covered with bloodstains. Bloodstained axe on floor. Walls covered with bloodstains.

    When Danny starts seeing visions around the Overlook Hotel, his visions never tend to be all that gentle in nature. In fact, they tend to be downright bloody and horrifying. Either this kid has a creepy imagination, or there's really some other person inside him who's showing him these horrible images.

  • Isolation

    ULLMAN: 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.

    Ullman is smart to understand the dangers of leaving people in total isolation for more than five months. After all, he's seen firsthand what it can do to men like Delbert Grady, who end up snapping and killing their family.

    ULLMAN: That's very good Jack, because, for some people, solitude and isolation... can of itself be a problem.

    When Jack says he's fine with being isolated for long periods of time, Ullman is right to be skeptical. After all, Jack seems a little too happy go lucky about his job at the Overlook. If he knew what he was getting into, he'd no doubt be a bit more guarded.

    ULLMAN: How about your wife and son? How do you think they'll take to it?

    Apart from Jack, Ullman wants to know that Jack's wife and son will be okay with the isolation of the Overlook. He knows that Jack has a writing project to work on, but Wendy and Danny might end up with nothing to do at all.

    ULLMAN: He ran amok and killed his family with an axe.

    Ullman is hesitant to tell the story about how Delbert Grady killed his family with an axe, but he knows he should tell it just to let Jack Torrance know what he's getting himself into. Jack says he's fine, but in hindsight we know this isn't the case.

    ULLMAN: The police eh... they thought that it was what the old-timers used to call cabin fever.

    The only thing worse than being stuck by yourself in isolation can be getting stuck with one or two other people. "Cabin fever" refers to the way people get stressed out and frustrated with each other when they're cooped up in the same space for too long. According to Ullman, this might have been what caused Delbert Grady to murder his family.

    ULLMAN: Well, obviously some people can be put off by the idea of staying alone in a place where something like that actually happened.

    Ullman wanted to mention the whole Delbert Grady thing because he knows that some people might be weirded out by filling the same job a murderer did. But Jack isn't concerned at all. If anything, he's overly confident about his ability to take care of the Overlook.

    HALLORANN: Well, look sir, I hate to put you to any trouble, but there's a family up there all by themselves with a young kid, and with this storm and everything.

    Hallorann is right to be concerned about the Torrances being all alone up at the Overlook. After all, Danny has used his special shining powers to call Hallorann back to the hotel and Hallorann already knows for a fact that something bad is going down.

    RANGER: Oh yeah. We tried to contract them several times by radio, but they didn't answer.

    It's not easy getting a hold of the Torrances up at the Overlook. And that's really the whole point, isn't it? It's a lot easier to murder your family if you take them miles and miles away from all help.

    JACK: You've got a big surprise coming to you. You're not going anywhere.

    Jack Torrance knows full well that he and his family are isolated from the rest of the world. And if he wants to kill Wendy and Danny, that means he'll have a much easier time doing it than if they were in the middle of a city.

    Jack sitting up to his chest in snow, dead. Snow and icicles on his face.

    At the end of the movie, it's fitting that Jack is left all alone dead in the hedge maze. Isolation is something he's craved the entire movie, and now he's finally got it. The irony here is pretty incredible.

  • The Supernatural

    JACK: Hi Lloyd. A little slow tonight, isn't it?

    When Jack first starts talking to the camera, we might think that he's just talking to himself. The isolation is clearly getting to him and he is starting to go out of his mind. But little do we know that there is actually another person in the room… or is there?

    GRADY: Grady, sir. Delbert Grady.

    We're not sure who the man dressed as a butler is at first, but when he says his name is Delbert Grady, it should set off some serious alarm bells. This is the same name of the former character at the Overlook who murdered his family and then himself.

    JACK: Mr. Grady, you were the caretaker here. I recognize you. I saw your picture in the newspapers. You chopped your wife and daughters up into little bits, and and you blew your brains out.

    Jack doesn't know what's going on at first because he's pretty sure the guy he's talking to is a dead man. If the guy is the real Delbert Grady, then he's been dead for about ten years. Jack recognizes him from the newspapers he's read about the massacre at the Overlook back in 1970.

    GRADY: I'm sorry to differ with you, sir, but you are the caretaker. You have always been the caretaker, I should know, sir. I've always been here.

    When Jack tells Grady that he killed his family and himself, Grady treats it like a bit of an accusation. In his mind, Jack is the one who is caretaker of the hotel. And according to Grady, he always has been. This claim becomes especially creepy when we see a picture of Jack at the end of the movie that proves he was present at the Overlook in 1921. So wait, does that mean Jack's been a ghost the entire movie, or some kind of reincarnation?

    GRADY: Your son has a very great talent. I don't think you are aware how great it is, but he is attempting to use that very talent against your will.

    Whoever he is, Grady is pretty adamant about the importance of Jack killing his wife and son. The most important thing for him is that Jack and his family stay at The Overlook forever and ever. But in order for that to happen, Jack needs to make sure his family never leaves… by killing them.

    HALLORANN: I can remember when I was a little boy, my grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it shining.

    Whether you believe him or not, Hallorann seems to have an uncanny ability to know what Danny is thinking at all times. Without some sort of theory of telepathy or mindreading, it's awful hard to understand Hallorann's sudden urge to leave Florida and check on Danny and his family.

    HALLORANN: And for a long time I thought it was just the two of us that had the shine to us.

    For much of his life, Hallorann didn't think that anyone but his grandmother and him could talk just by using their minds. But as he found out in later years, there are some rare people like Danny who have this same ability. Just go ahead an add "mind reading" to the list of all the strange stuff that happens in this movie.

    HALLORANN: Just like you probably thought you was the only one. But there are other folks, though mostly they don't know it, or don't believe it.

    Hallorann wants Danny to know that other people have the "shining" the same way he does. Hallorann knows it can feel lonely when you have a skill that no one else does and there's no one to talk to about it. But Danny is still scared to talk about the shining with a stranger.

    DANNY: It's like I go to sleep, and he shows me things but when I wake up, I can't remember everything.

    When Danny finally talks about his "friend" Tony, he says that Tony speaks to him by showing him things like images in a movie. But Danny always has trouble remembering what he's seen when Tony is finished speaking. It's almost as if he blacks out and Tony takes over during these moments.

    DANNY: Tony's the little boy who lives in my mouth.

    According to Danny, Tony is a little boy who lives in his mouth. It all sounds nice and cute, but we realize early on that there's something sinister going on with Tony, especially when Tony seems to have secret knowledge of all the horrible stuff that's going to happen to Danny and his mom in the future.

  • Madness

    ULLMAN: He ran amok and killed his family with an axe.

    Mr. Ullman is no stranger to crazy. After all, he manages a hotel where one of the caretakers murdered his entire family with an axe. Ullman seems to think that the isolation of the hotel had a big role to play in the man's mental break.

    ULLMAN: [He] stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the West Wing, and then he put both barrels of his shotgun in his mouth.

    It's possible that Delbert Grady killed his family out of frustration and that he was sane when he did it. But it takes a crazy person to stack his family up in little pieces and then kill himself. The dude never had any plans of getting away with what he did. He just wanted everyone dead.

    ULLMAN: The police, they thought that it was what the old-timers used to call cabin fever.

    Ullman mentions how the police thought that Delbert Grady had some kind of mental break because he'd been cooped up with the same people for too long. It's certainly a possible explanation, but not very likely once you see Grady's ghost wandering around the Overlook Hotel.

    ULLMAN: And he had a good employment record, good references and from what I've been told, I mean, he seemed like a completely normal individual. But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown.

    One of the saddest things about Delbert Grady is that he never showed any signs of mental instability before coming to work at the Overlook Hotel. He was just a good family man like any other. But something about the hotel seemed to drive him completely over the edge. And the longer we watch this movie, the more we get a sense of what got to him.

    JACK: Darling, light of my life, I'm not going to hurt you. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said "I'm not going to hurt you... I'm just going to bash your brains in!"

    Well it's comforting to know that Jack would never hurt Wendy… oh wait. We didn't let him finish. He actually wants to use a bat to bash her head in. It's a good thing that Wendy bashes him first.

    WENDY: Jack, there's someone else in the hotel with us. There's a crazy woman in one of the rooms. She tried to strangle Danny.

    Even though it's practically impossible, Wendy immediately believes her son Danny when he tells her that a crazy woman tried to strangle him. The same thing nearly happens to Jack. But for some reason, Jack lies to Wendy and says he didn't see anything when we went into room 237.

    JACK: Are you out of you f***ing mind?

    Jack doesn't believe Wendy when she tells him that there's a crazy old woman running around the hotel. But the truth is that he knows for a fact that there are ghouls and ghosts all over the place. But he keeps it to himself because he wants to mess with Wendy before he kills her.

    JACK: You can't get away. I'm right behind you.

    By this point in the flick, Jack has definitely gone off the deep end. You can tell by the way he holds his axe so lovingly and tries to murder his son Danny. Oh yeah, plus the look on his face is absolutely psychotic.

    MAN, dressed in Dog's costume, kneeling at foot of bed. He leans back and looks towards her. MAN, in evening dress, leans forward and looks at WENDY. CAMERA ZOOMS IN on them.

    This is probably the craziest thing that any character in this movie sees. Why is the person wearing a dog mask, and what was he/she doing with the person in the room at the end of the hallway? It seems sexual, but we're not entirely sure. And it's that uncertainty that makes the whole thing so crazy.

    INJURED GUEST, with scar running down his head and face. He raises the glass he is holding.

    INJURED GUEST: Great party, isn't it?

    Of all the people in this movie, Wendy is the last to see the crazy visions of the Overlook Hotel. But the hotel seems like it's saved the best for last, but the stuff Wendy sees is probably the craziest of all.

  • Youth

    DANNY: Yeah, I guess so. Anyway, there's hardly anybody to play with around here.

    Danny is an isolated kid, although we're not totally sure why. Maybe it's because he has superpowers, or maybe it's because he spends his time chatting with his invisible friend Tony. Either way, the kid doesn't have many friends and there's no one to talk to about all the weird visions he keeps seeing.

    WENDY: What about Tony? He's looking forward to the hotel, I bet.

    Whenever she has trouble communicating with her son, Wendy likes to ask Danny's "friend" Tony what he thinks of things. But in this case, Tony can see that horrible things will happen at the Overlook and he doesn't want the family to go there.

    DANNY: Tony, do you think Daddy will get the job?

    TONY: Yeah, he did. He's going to phone Wendy up in a few minutes to tell her.

    Tony seems to have a weird knowledge about what'll happen in the future. Of course, Danny could just be talking to himself and guessing all of this. But the coincidences pile up a little too much for belief as the movie goes on.

    DOCTOR: Does Tony ever tell you to do things?

    DANNY: I don't want to talk about Tony anymore.

    When the doctor tries to push Danny about the things Tony tells him, Danny shuts down. Apparently, Tony doesn't like him talking to adults about his imaginary friends or apparent superpowers. This is just all more evidence that something creepy is going on with Danny.

    DOCTOR: Mrs. Torrance, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'm quite sure there is nothing physically wrong with Danny.

    The doctor isn't concerned about Danny's fainting episode because there doesn't seem to be anything physically wrong with him. She's also not concerned that Danny was apparently talking to an invisible friend just before his episode. But hey, how's she supposed to know that Danny might have superpowers that put a big strain on his mind.

    DOCTOR: Oh I know. Kids can scare you to death, but believe me these episodes are not at all uncommon, and they look much worse than they are.

    Despite Wendy's objections, the doctor insists that there's nothing really wrong with Danny. In her mind, kids sometimes flip out for no reason and there's no use in spending a bunch of time and energy trying to figure out what's wrong.

    DOCTOR: Mrs. Torrance, most of the time these episodes with kids are never explained. They are brought on by emotional factors, and they rarely occur again.

    The doctor is pretty sure that no one will ever know why Danny had a blackout fit in his home. She's also pretty confident that this sort of thing will never happen again. Little does she know that Danny is actually having visions of the horror he'll face once his family gets to the Overlook Hotel.

    WENDY: No. He didn't like it too much at first, and then he had an injury, so we kept him out for a while, and, yeah, I... I guess that's about the time when I first noticed that he was talking to Tony.

    When the doctor asks about Danny's past, Wendy says that Danny has never had an easy time socializing ever since an injury kept him out of nursing school when the other kids were developing their social skills. It's around this time that Danny started socializing by talking to Tony.

    WENDY: It's... it's just the sort of thing you do a hundred times with a child—you know, in a park or on the streets—but on this particular occasion my husband just... used too much strength and he injured Danny's arm.

    Wendy is quick to defend her husband Jack for dislocating Danny's shoulder when he was just little. In her mind, it's the kind of thing that could happen to anybody. But she's clearly unnerved by the fact that Jack was drunk and angry when it happened.

    JACK: I haven't laid a hand on him. Goddam it, I didn't. I wouldn't touch one hair of his goddam little head. I love the little son-of-a-b****.

    Jack is sick of being treated like a monster because of one mistake he made with his son several years ago. When Wendy accuses him of hurting Danny a second time, Jack insists that he would never do anything to hurt the kid. That is, of course, until he decides to pick up an axe and chase after Danny with it.