My 2nd Stay at the Overlook Hotel (Part 5)

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If you haven't read it already, and have somehow by the grace of Internet Search Engine or Social Media Gods stumbled upon this blog post, be sure and go HERE and read my introduction of what exactly this is, and check out PART 1, PART 2 , PART 3 and PART 4 Or you can just stay here, read on, and put the pieces together yourself. I don't mind. You're probably pretty smart.

For those of you who've been following along, I think it's safe to say we are officially on the downward spiral straight into the nightmare we know has been awaiting the Torrance family. Jack Torrance is slipping into insanity, and the Overlook is showing its teeth more and more with every chapter.  

Buckle up. 

 

PART 5 - MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH

38

Florida

We shift which side of the country we're on for this 1st chapter of part five, and get a POV from Dick Hallorann. Hallorann is a minor character, for sure, but I really like him. Did in the movie, and do in the book. Although, if my memory servers, the fate of movie and film Dick are different.

Considering what exactly this chapter's purpose is: to have Hallorann get hit with Danny's mental cry for help, and then plan his action -- King takes his time with it, really lets us see a day in life sort of with Dick Hallorann. I think this is one of the things that a lot of folks consider a gift of his, and others, a problem. He can get long winded and gratuitous with backstory (as I've mentioned in earlier posts during this on-going blog), but in this particular case, I quite enjoyed my visit with Dick Hallorann in Florida. I think it was a welcome break, a tiny reprieve, from the Overlook. Starting a new section of the book with this chapter was fitting.

Oh, and Dick's flight left without him. Will he get to Colorado in time?

Favorite Passage: He regarded Hallorann with an eye that was still bloodshot from too many glances into last night's Bourbon bottle.

 

UPDATE - 1/17/16 @ 8:13PM EST

39

On the Stairs

It's official, it's essentially become Danny and Wendy versus Jack Torrance and the Overlook.

Danny has filled Wendy in on what he's managed to piece together in terms of the hotel's plans for their demise, and she's taken her son's words to heart. She retrieves a butcher knife from the kitchen, hides it under the bed, and then she and Danny try and get some sleep behind a locked door, all while Jack does we don't know what in the basement.

Favorite Passage: But to Danny it was only the sound of the hotel, the old monster, creaking steadily and ever more closely around them; halls that now stretched back through time as well as distance, hungry shadows, unquiet guests who did not rest easy.

 

UPDATE - 1/18/16 @ 9:09AM EST

40

In the Basement

Does the Overlook want to die? I got a little confused here, because for a while, it looked to me as if the Overlook was allowing Jack's mind to wander and forget the boiler and then everything would go KABOOM! But, that wouldn't just kill the Torrance family, that would end the Overlook's reign of terror. So, I've decided that maybe it was the Overlook that actually snapped Jack out of his trance and lowered the pressure on the boiler. Either way, Jack was seriously considering killing them all. And we know that's a thought he's going to continue to have. The Overlook has slipped its noose around his neck, and not it's slowly tightening.

Favorite Passage: He could visualize the explosion. A double thunderclap that would first rip the heart from this place, then the soul.

 41

Daylight

The Overlook is really showing it's strength against Danny. In the course of this chapter, it manages to first kick Danny out of his Father's mind, and then cut off his communication with Dick Hallorann. The Overlook is locking itself down, advancing its troops. The war is about to break out.

And the man in the dog suit. That's damn scary, and vintage Stephen King weird in the most perfect way.

Favorite Passage: They were going to die, all three of them, and when the Overlook opened next late spring, they would be right there to greet the guests along with the rest of the spooks. the woman in the tub. The dog an. The horrible dark thing that had been in the cement tunnel. They would be--

 42

Mid-Air

I think the thing I like the most about these Dick Hallorann chapters is the dialogue. Can ya dig it?

He's on his way to Denver, though a lot later than he'd planned, and he receives one more cry out from Danny just after take-off.

I particularly like the conversation Dick has with the Park Ranger on the telephone, trying to convince him to send somebody up to the Overlook. You can feel the frustration.

Favorite Passage: He had spent the night at the airport, going from counter to counter--United, American, TWA, Continental, Braniff--haunting the ticket clerks.

 

UPDATE - 1/18/16 @ 11:58AM EST

43

Drinks on the House

Well, it's safe to say the Overlook is officially in full control of Jack Torrance. He's a man on a mission (he thinks) to do the hotel's bidding. He thinks they're on the same side. He still thinks it's HIM that the hotel wants, not Danny. The Overlook, in a bribery-type situation, makes the Colorado Lounge come alive, with Lloyd back behind the bar and the costume party guests out in full force. Jack, feeling very much deserving, has a drink. And then, as he begins to let his thoughts creep back into the sane side and question the Overlook's motive, the Overlook shows its teeth (I love the face melting Lloyd) and, there's no question about it, threatens Jack back into complacency. He's the property of the Overlook now. God help his family.

Favorite Passage: Lloyd's face seemed to be running, changing, becoming something pestilent. The white skin becoming a hepatitic yellow, cracking. Red sores erupting on the skin, bleeding foul-smelling liquid. Droplets of blood sprang out on Lloyd's forehead like sweat and somewhere a silver chime was striking the quarter-hour.

 

UPDATE - 1/18/16 @ 7:21PM EST

44

Conversations at the Party

This is really a “Part 2” to the previous chapter. Jack is still in the Colorado Lounge and the Ballroom, and he’s socializing with all the ghosts/residents of the Overlook. All the trapped souls that are the hotel’s “army of darkness” so to speak, are essentially seducing Jack. He dances with a pretty lady, he drinks martinis, he’s having a great time. But at the same time, he’s learning what the stakes really are and who holds all the cards. The Overlook (the manager) wants Jack to join the team, or so they say. The trapped spirits are suggesting to Jack that he could climb the “corporate ladder” fairly quickly if he joined them, could be somebody quite important … but, he’s going to have to sacrifice Danny. the pleasantries stop, and then the Overlooks flexes its nasty muscles again with a creepy scene involving a clock. 

And suddenly he’s alone. But there’s alcohol at the bar…

I really don’t remember this being a thing at all during the movie, and by “this” I mean the whole seduction of Jack Torrance by the Overlook, making him think he could join the hotel’s other “guests” and be a part of something bigger. To me, the movie was just all about Jack Nicholson acting crazy. This angle would have made the movie a little deeper, and maybe make a little more sense.

Oh, and the thing with the man dressed as a dog again … so weird. 

Favorite Passage: Now the red liquid was spraying up like an obscene rain shower, striking the glass sides of the dome and running, obscuring what was going on inside, and flecked through the scarlet were tiny gray ribbons of tissue, garments of bone and brain. And still he could see the hammer rising and falling as the clockwork continued to turn and the cogs continued to mesh the gears and teeth of this cunningly made machine.

 

UPDATE - 1/19/16 @ 12:41PM EST

45

Stapleton Airport, Denver

I really don't have much to talk about with this chapter. Hallorann lands in Denver after a bumpy plane ride, rents a car, and starts his drive to the Overlook. The weather is not friendly, and he's not sure when or if he can even make it.

Favorite Passage: "We live to fight another day, Mr. Hallorann."

"Ma'am, we aren't don't with this one, yet."

 

UPDATE - 1/20/16 @ 10:40AM EST

46

Wendy

Well, the line has been crossed and there's no going back. Jack, fresh off his late night with the Overlook's welcoming committee, attacks Wendy as she, probably against her better judgement, locates him and tries to help him. He also flings Danny across the bar as his son attempts to stop the attack on his mother. In the end, Wendy and Danny succeed in subduing the now-insane Jack (Daddy), and lock him into the pantry.

This chapter is overly long I feel. I swear it felt like 5 pages from the time Wendy actually knocks Jack out, and when they get him into the pantry. I enjoyed the build-up, leading up to the attack and confrontation in the bar, but everything after seemed to drag. But maybe I was just tired and ready for the chapter to end. Either way, we've reached the boiling point of the climax, and with only about 70 pages left, things are about to get violent and out of hand quick.

Favorite Passage: There was a stale odor of gin and olives about him that seemed to set off an old terror in her, a worse terror than any hotel could provide by itself. A distant part of her through that the worst thing was that it had all come back to this, she and her drunken husband.

 

47

Danny

Danny is distraught as Wendy tries to comfort him as the listen to a pissed-off Jack Torrance raise holy hell from behind the locked door of the pantry. Wendy promised things would be okay. Danny was not completely buying it.

Favorite Passage: The Overlook was coming to life around them.

 

48

Jack

Over the years, King had always been good at showing the significance of the Father/Son relationship in his books. The traits and tendencies that are picked up and passed on from generation to generation. DOCTOR SLEEP, the sequel to The Shining, is no exception to this, as we learn that young Danny Torrance has grown up to become an alcoholic himself. Despite all the destruction it caused his family in his youth. This chapter is an early example of King already showing us these connections, as Jack is stewing in the pantry, slowly coming to realize that his abusive drunken father may have been completely justified to beat the shit out his wife. You want another sign that Jack's lost his mind, here ya go. The chapter ends with the Overlook (Grady) freeing Jack from the pantry, with the promise to "take care of" Danny.

Favorite Passage: Jack Torrance began to smile. -- In context, this is a creepy image. Jack is gone gone gone.

 

UPDATE - 1/20/16 @ 9:38PM EST

49

Hallorann, Going up the Country

King is playing the suspense game with these Hallorann chapters. He's giving us action at the Overlook, and an ever increasing felling of unease for the Torrance family, and then jumps to Hallorann's frantic, snow-plagued trip to the hotel's grounds. Will he get there in time? Will he get there at all? We are dying to find out.

I liked this chapter, because I honestly could almost feel the cold, see the blizzard. I was in the car with Dick, and I was as afraid as he was. We've all driven in the snow before. It can be terrifying. And on a mountain road? No thanks.

Favorite Passage: (I don't want to put it in print myself, but the Overlook's "message" to Hallorann, the warning to stay away ... It's a brutally nasty few sentences, and King had balls to put it in the book in just such a way) He's got a quote that he believes "fear is the root of most bad writing" and I think this is the sort of stuff he's talking about sometimes.

 

50

Redrum

Here's a big confrontation between Jack and Wendy. They fight, mallet vs knife, and after pages and pages of action, Wendy seems to have won with a quick stab to Jack's lower back. Some have questioned King's ability to write "action" scenes, but this one does the job I think.

But Jack's not dead yet ...

Favorite Passage: Terror as black as midnight swept through her.

 

UPDATE - 1/21/16 @ 7:24AM EST

51

Hallorann Arrives

Back to Hallorann, still on his way to the Overlook. He obtains his snowmobile, and a new coat, from his new friend in Sidewinder and is on his way. The way is tough going, but he gets there .. Almost. But the hedge lion decided to get into his way.

This was a surprise for me, and I actually smiled a bit when the scene began to play out. I honestly wasn't expecting to see more from the hedge animals, and certainly wasn't expecting one to be this far out from the Overlook's grounds (one has to wonder about the plausibility of the Overlook having power that reached that far?). But the imagery of Hallorann's first sighting of his new foe is great, and the quick bit of battle afterward is exciting. And it leaves the reader with a sense of "Damn, he was so close!"

Favorite Passage: He could feel it coming for him. In his nostrils there was a bitter smell of green leaves and holly. ( I love this because he can smell the lion before he feels the attack. As a writer, I would have probably forgotten that the hedge would carry a particular smell)

 52

Wendy and Jack

This chapter plays out to include probably one of the two most famous scenes from the Kubrick film -- the one where Jack (Torrance and Nicholson) break down the bathroom door to get to where Wendy has hidden herself. Though book Jack Torrance never shouts "HERE'S JOHNNY!"

It's another mostly-action chapter, the continued battle between Jack and Wendy, and ends with Jack leaving the bedroom after having his hand sliced up, and Wendy trying to locate Danny.

Favorite Passage: Half of a crazed and working face stared in at her. The mouth and cheeks and throat were lathered in blood, the single eye she could see was tiny and piggish and glittering.

 

53

Hallorann Laid Low

More action.

Hallorann, not dead yet, lights the hedge lion on fire and finally arrives at the Overlook. Only to have  Jack Torrance beat the hell out of him with the roque mallet. Dick's not having a good day.

Favorite Passage: In an instant the whole creature was in flames, a prancing, writhing pyre on the snow. It bellowed in rage and pain, seeming to chase its flaming tail as it zigzagged away from Hallorann.

 

54

Tony

Tony's back! Yay!

A revelation of a chapter for Danny, he finally fully understands the Overlook's power, and that his Daddy is the monster he's been fleeing from in his dreams for so long. His Daddy is looking for him, mallet swinging, and Danny must make sure he and his mother survive.

Favorite Passage: Obedience was so strongly ingrained in him that he actually took two automatic steps toward the sound of that voice before stopping.

 

UPDATE - 1/21/16 @ 8:20AM EST

55

That Which was Forgotten

The showdown between Danny and Jack. It's a great chapter, and King, who's essentially turned Jack Torrance into a monster, manages to still pull on a few emotions at this father/son confrontation. Danny wins, of course, and this is all coming to an end.

Favorite Passage: There are a lot of good sentences in this chapter, but one thing that stood out to me wasn't a passage at all, but the fact that when Jack Torrance finally comes into Danny's view, he is so far from himself mentally and physically that Danny tells himself "that's not my Daddy" and for the remainder of the chapter, Jack Torrance is referred to as "it". I loved this.

 

56

The Explosion

Wendy, Danny and Dick escape. The Overlook goes boom. The last section of this chapter is my favorite, as all the iconic places and items in the hotel get a little final page time as the are destroyed. The last paragraph is particularly nice.

Favorite Passage: The party was over.

 

57

Exit

The remaining Torrances and Dick Hallorann jump on the snowmobile and begin to flee as the Overlook burns behind them. But not before, as Dick gathers supplies from the shed, the Overlook takes one more attempt at succeeding at killing Danny and Wendy. Inside the shed Dick is overwhelmed with the sudden urge to grab a roque mallet and finish what Jack Torrance started, the Overlook urging him on--demanding him!--in his head. Dick is strong though, he shines, and he's able to walk away. I liked this one last little fizzle of Overlook power.

Favorite Passage: The thing in the sky was gone and it might only have been smoke of a great flapping swatch of wallpaper after all, and there was only the Overlook, a flaming pyre in the roaring throat of the night.

 

58

Epilogue/Summer

Well -- we have three survivors. Dick, Wendy, and Danny. They've escaped the Overlook, escaped the nightmare, and we find them sometime later, in Maine. Dick has gotten a new job, and the Torrance family seems to be hanging out with him for a while before moving on with the new direction their life is to take.

Danny and Dick share a nice talk near the end of the chapter, in which Danny is forced to grow up much faster than a normal child would. The world is cruel he learns, and he can't change that.

The book ends with a picturesque scene of the three survivors sitting on a lakeside dock, the sun warming them. There is no snow here.

Favorite Passage: The boy would have to shed his tears again and again, he knew, and it was Danny's luck that he was still young enough to be able to do that. The tears that heal are also the tears that scald and scourge.

 

UPDATE - 1/22/16 @ 9:17AM EST

MY FINAL THOUGHTS:

So we've reached the end. This took a long time, because I could only allow myself to read 1 or 2 chapters at a time since I was having to stop and work on this blog. It might not have been conveyed in my writings as much as I would have liked, but in my head, I'm glad I did this, as I had to stop and think about each chapter and what its purpose was, and how it served the story, and I enjoyed that.

Overall, I must say I was genuinely surprised at how much the book dealt with the Torrance Family as characters, how much the book was about their domestic issues and demons, almost more so than it was about the Overlook and its monsters. All the years of sporadically watching the Kubrick film had washed away the fact that The Shining is about a family who experiences a terrible nightmare. A Family! The movie is about the Overlook -- though not as much as it should have been.

The novel does a great job of explaining the Overlook's true motives, there are lots of chapters where we understand that the Overlook is actually working to seduce Jack Torrance, and threaten him. We understand that the hotel has a purpose (it wants Danny). I don't remember this being quite as forthcoming in the film (although maybe I'll think otherwise after a re-watch)

I'm also very bummed that the hedge animals didn't make their way into the film. Apparently they do make an appearance in the TV mini-series remake of The Shining that aired back in late 90's, and I plan on watching that soon, as I've read it much more closely follows the book since King had a larger hand in it.

Overall, The Shining is a great novel, and I envy anybody who can sit down and read it without any idea of the plot. If you've managed to never see the movies or read the book before, this would be an incredible experience. The fact that King was still in his twenties when he wrote this is fairly astounding. His ability to put real life onto the page can be described as nothing more than a gift. Than God he knows how to use it.

 

Thanks for reading! 

Michael