The Shining (novel)

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Cycle:The Stand

The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song "Instant Karma!", which contained the line "We all shine on…". It was King's third published novel, and first hardback bestseller, and the success of the book firmly established King as a preeminent author in the horror genre. A film based upon the book, The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980. The book was later adapted into a television mini-series in 1997.

The book is dedicated to King's son, Joseph: "This is for Joe Hill King, who shines on."


Plot summary

Jack Torrance is a temperamental alcoholic and aspiring writer. He is trying to rebuild his life after previously breaking his son Danny's arm in a drunken rage and assaulting a pupil at a Vermont prep school where he was a teacher. After losing his teaching position and giving up drinking, Jack accepts a job as a winter caretaker at the large, isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado to rebuild his life with his family and write a new play. Jack, his wife Wendy, and the clairvoyant Danny move into the Overlook.

Danny's clairvoyance makes him sensitive to supernatural forces. Shortly after the family's initial arrival at the hotel, Danny and the hotel chef, Dick Hallorann, talk privately to discuss Danny's talent and the hotel's sinister nature. Dick informs Danny that he shares Danny's abilities (though to a lesser degree), as did Dick's grandmother, who called it "shining". Dick warns Danny to avoid Room 217, and reassures him that the things he may see are merely pictures which cannot harm him. The conversation ends with Dick saying to Danny, "If there is give a shout."

The hotel has a personality in its own right, and acts as a psychic lens: it manipulates the living and the dead for its own purposes, and magnifies the psychic powers of any living people who reside there and makes them more sensitive to its urgings. Danny has premonitions of the hotel's danger to his family and begins seeing ghosts and frightening visions from the hotel's past, but puts up with them in the hope that they are not dangerous in the present. Although Danny is close to his father, he does not tell either of his parents about his visions because he senses that the caretaking job is important to his father and the family's future. Wendy thinks about taking Danny away from the Overlook to leave Jack there to finish the job on his own, but Danny refuses, thinking his father will be happier if they stayed. Danny soon realizes that his presence in the hotel makes it more powerful, however, and enables it to make objects and situations dangerous that would normally not be dangerous, like topiary animals that come to life.

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