Study Guide

The Shining Madness

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In The Shining, it can be really tough to tell the difference between the supernatural and the product of people's warped minds. For example, Jack's weird conversations with Lloyd the bartender could totally happen in his mind. But how do you explain being let out of a locked closet… by a ghost?

It's possible that Jack could be suffering from some sort of demonic possession. But you have to admit, the guy must have had a bit of the crazy in him long before he ever came to the Overlook. There's a darkness inside him that the hotel seems to take advantage of.

Questions About Madness

  1. What do you think sends Jack over the edge into madness? Was he always a little crazy? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think Danny is crazy? Why or why not?
  3. At what point can Wendy start to see some of the hotel's horrifying visions? Is there a psychological explanation?
  4. What is it about the Overlook Hotel that has a way of driving people mad? Try using specific references to the movie to support your answer.

Chew on This

In The Shining, we learn that madness is relative to the people around you. If everyone is mad, then everyone is sane.

The Shining reminds us that given the right conditions, anyone is capable of going crazy.

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