Study Guide

The Shining Violence

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It's fair to say that there's a teensy, weensy bit of violence in The Shining. You know how the movie opens with Mr. Ullman telling Jack about how a former caretaker of the Overlook Hotel killed his family with an axe and shot himself in the head with a shotgun? And that elevator full of blood? And that decomposing woman in the bathtub?

And if that weren't bad enough, it looks like Jack Torrance wants to axe his family—maybe he's just following Outlook tradition. He fails in the end, but not before offing poor old Mr. Hallorann. We can ask all sorts of questions about what makes Jack snap: maybe it's the isolation or maybe it's demonic possession. But whatever the cause, the effect is always the same—bloody violence.

Questions About Violence

  1. At what point did you realize that Jack was going to get violent with his family? Why?
  2. Why do you think Delbert Grady wants Jack to kill his family? What's the point?
  3. When does Wendy start believing that someone other than Jack hurt their son's neck? Why?

Chew on This

In The Shining, we learn that the cause of violence can sometimes be really tough to figure out.

The Shining reminds us that violence can come from anywhere, even someone who's just feeling really bored.

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