Monday, February 13, 2012


The Shining - Book Cover
Genre: Psychological horror 
Author: Stephen King 
Spoiler Warning: Minimal. 

Jack Torrance, a victim of a drunken father and battered family,  married with extremely emotionally sensitive Wendy to give birth to Danny, a child endowed with a highly charged psychic power. The story, The Shining, opens when this family moves into the Overlook Hotel, remotely located in mountain and is known to have a 'bad reputation'. 

Before moving, Jack, deep in alcoholism,  has lost his teaching job for assaulting one of his students and the Torrance family was on the verge of complete disintegration when Jack, in his drunken state, broke his son's arm for messing up his papers.

Hoping to get a fresh new start, Jack takes the caretaker job in the Overlook Hotel for winter. In the meanwhile, Danny's psychic power or 'shining' made him particularly susceptible to the supernatural foce in the Hotel; from the lady in room 217 to the unseen huge mask party in the ballroom. 

Wendy with her instinctual motherly love for Danny and her fear of increasing insanity from her husband, desperately wanted to get out and leave, but to no avail on the face of the greedy evil force in the Hotel. 

The relation between ghost and haunted memories/human weakness is like music and glass; when certain frequency of music resonates with glass, the latter breaks. In his last chance to decide leaving the Hotel or not, Jack simply let him get possessed by the evil force, since he can't bear losing the job again. 

Neither can he hold his thirst for alcohol anymore. When the bartender offered him the drinks (or hallucination?), Jack gave up and took it. One glass followed another until Hotel can possess him to swallow Danny and more importantly his psychic power. 

In this novel, Stephen King showed us that the greatest ghosts do not exists outside of us but in our psychological minds. 

1 comment:

IndianaRonaldo said...

The drinking part is actually very autobiographical. Stephen King himself suffered from a alcoholic addiction during that period in his life.
Great review, Tso. :)