My 2nd Stay at The Overlook Hotel (Part 3)

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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 and PART 2. 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 who've been along for the ride thus far, PART 3 is probably where things begin to go wrong for the Torrance family. I'm excited!

 

PART 3 - THE WASPS' NEST

 

14

Up on the Roof

Well ... The Torrance family seems to have survived their first few weeks at the Overlook without incident, or at least one we've been told about yet. I imagine this could change in the next couple chapters if the POV shifts. But Chapter 14 finds Jack on the roof, doing work on the shingles and accidentally discovering a wasps' nest. He get stung, and King uses the rest of the chapter to give us more backstory on Jack Torrance, filling us in more on the incident with the student that caused him to lose his job, and also letting us readers know that Jack Torrance has a temper problem. He tends to get angry and explode. I think it's safe to assume that not a trait that will bode well for the Torrance family moving forward. 

One thing about this chapter that I find interesting is how non-boring the backstory tale of Jack's student run-in is. It could stand alone as a short story (a very short story), but it's incredibly entertaining in its own right, and it's pretty amazing how deftly King created a mini-tale of backstory so full and rich and engrossing in just a few pages. Let's face it, backstory is often misused and stirs up groans from readers. Not the case here. 

Favorite Passage: He and Al Shockley had been alcoholics. They had sought each other out like two castoffs who were still social enough to prefer drowning together to doing it alone. The sea had been whole-grain instead of salt, that was all.

 

 UPDATE - 1/5/16 @ 11:42AM EST

15

Down in the Front Yard

I don't see this chapter as anything but one final moment of happiness for the Torrance family. It's a feel-good, look-at-what-a-happy-family-we-are, we've-finally-beaten-our-demons chapter which only shows the Torrance family loving each other.

The only cloud in the otherwise sunny sky is Wendy's mention that Danny seems thinner and isn't eating as much. Us readers can speculate that this is because the boy is extremely stressed, and maybe dealing with a lot more visions and nightmares than we are at this point made aware of. We haven't gotten much in terms of POV chapters for Danny yet.

Favorite Passage: "I don't. In fact, you can make appointments for all three of us. We'll get our clean bills of health and then we can sleep easy at night."   --- No, Jack. You won't.

 

UPDATE - 1/6/16 @ 8:17AM EST

16

Danny

Well, just like I was saying in the post about chapter 15, here we now have a chapter about Danny.

And also like I was saying in the post about chapter 15, the final moments of happiness have passed, because though 16 starts well enough (briefly), things quickly go to shit.

First: At bedtime, Wendy discovers Danny has locked himself into the bathroom and is unresponsive. Jack breaks the door down to find his son in one of his trance-like states, and us readers know this can only mean Tony has come to visit--REDRUM! Jack, fresh off feeling like he's finally getting his act together and things are falling into place, looses his temper, and Wendy quickly notices. Things get no better when

Second: Danny is plagued by another nightmare after the bathroom incident, one where the roque mallet-wielding creature is again stalking him through the Overlook's hallways. He wakes to a trio of wasps stinging him on his hand. Wasps that shouldn't exist. Wasps that somehow have survived Jack's bug bomb and produced themselves from the burnt-out nest Jack gave Danny as a gift, and sets on the boys nightstand. He screams, and the Torrance parents come running. Wendy is furious--rightfully so--and Jack's temper continues to fester. The situation calms itself, but not before Jack slowly begins to loose control of himself. The urge to drink is getting stronger.

Things are starting to crumble. It's starting.

Favorite Passage: He was in the west wing and outside he could hear the storm whooping and screaming, seeming to choke on its own dark throat filled with snow.

 

UPDATE - 1/6/16 @ 3:34PM EST

17

The Doctor's Office

If the Torrance family knew of the horror that will soon follow, they would have taken this opportunity and never returned to the Overlook Hotel.

We find them in Sidewinder, at the office of a Doctor Edmonds. Nothing is said of Jack and Wendy's health, but a great deal is discussed about Danny. The doctor--who claims to not be a psychologist, but surly seems to like to act like one--tries to unravel the mystery of Danny's blank-outs and visions and precognitive notions. His ultimate verdict is Danny is nothing but extremely bright, extremely observant, and just fine and dandy. Tony and the nightmares are dismissed as nothing by Danny's ill feelings at having to move, and replaced stress at the events that took place with his father (the arm breaking).

Unfortunately, it's all bullshit. Tony is more than just a child's imaginary friend and escape valve, Danny's visions and abilities to know things are much more than just him being observant. Sadly, only we know this, and the Torrance family takes Doctor Edmonds's diagnosis with good faith and leave.

Favorite Passage: Somewhere not far distant was a steady mechanical roaring sound, but muted, not frightening. Soporific. It was the thing that would be forgotten, Danny thought with dreamy surprise. -- I just like the foreshadowing here. And the word "Soporific."

 

UPDATE - 1/7/16 @ 8:39AM EST

18

The Scrapbook

This is the first chapter so far which I found to be overlong for no reason. I'm a little surprised that, given King's relative newness to the publishing world at the time, it wasn't edited down some more. The long and short is that Jack finds a scrapbook in the Overlook's boiler room full of newspaper clippings dealing with the Hotel's history. Now I love good backstory as much as anybody, but unlike Chapter 14, I think King went a little long winded here. There are SIX different excerpts from news clippings included in this chapter, and from what I gather, the only thing they manage to do is tell us what we somewhat already know: The Overlook has a troubled past. The one new bit of information is that the Hotel may have had Mafia ties. One article in particular also explains the vision Danny had inside the Presidential Suite, which I enjoyed.

Favorite Passage: Suddenly it seemed that the could almost feel the weight of the Overlook bearing down on him from above, one hundred and ten guest rooms, the storage rooms, kitchen, pantry, freezer, lounge, ballroom, dining room ...

 

19

Outside 217

Danny, wandering alone while Wendy sleeps, contemplates going into room 217. He even goes as far as to put in the passkey and grab the door handle. But at the last moment he stops ... And contemplates another monster. We all remember the firehose from our first reading--and If my memory serves me correctly, it got the screen time it deserved in the TV miniseries remake of The Shining--and here it is again. When that nozzle falls off ... Was it coincidence? Or the Overlook's first attempt grab at Danny? The boy flees, and we flee with him.

Favorite Passage: It was nothing to be afraid of. Why, he could go back and put that hose right into its frame, if he wanted to. He could, but he didn't think he would. because what if it had chased him and had gone back when it saw that it couldn't ... Quite ... Catch him?

 

UPDATE - 1/7/16 @ 6:07PM EST

20

Talking to Mr. Ullman

Well, here we go folks, Jack Torrance is getting angry. The temper is flaring, he's irritable, he's chewing up Excedrin, and oh boy does he want a drink!

The Torrance family has made another (their last?) trip to Sidewinder and Jack heads to the library to do some more research on the Overlook's history. After snapping at Wendy (because of his headache, right?) he heads to the drugstore to call the asshole Ullman and badger the man with increasingly aggressive questions. Ullman's patience doesn't last long, and by the end of the call he's hell bent on calling Jack's friend Al and having Jack tossed to the curb. (Unlikely, since I imagine it would be difficult to find somebody on such short notice to get to the Overlook and take care of the place for the rest of the winter, but I suppose the threat is real enough to show Jack that he's begun to push buttons). When the call is over, Jack is distraught. He can't even remember why he bothered making the phone call in the first place, aside from hoping to dig up some more knowledge to help him potentially write a book about the Overlook. The chapter closes with Jack about to head to a cafe and finally capitulate and get a quick beer. Wendy and Danny meet up with him just in time, and together they admire the fresh falling snow and head off to the truck, wondering if this will be the big snow that closes the roads and traps them alone in the Overlook. Us readers are pretty sure it might be. I think we're ready.

Favorite Passage: "Mr. Torrance," Ullman said in tones of deepest frost. -- Tones of deepest frost? Wow that's good!

 

UPDATE - 1/8/16 @ 9:40PM EST

21

Night Thoughts

So I was wrong: that snowy evening in Sidewinder wasn't the big snow that would strand the Torrance family at the Overlook. Apparently we have a few more chapters of  development to go before the shit really hits the fan.

A longer chapter, 21 is, but the majority of it is a lengthy phone call between Jack and his maybe-now-no-longer-great friend, Al. Al's unhappy with Jack's call to the asshole Ullman, and makes his own threats. Jack, who thought for sure Al would be on his side, is astonished and deeply pissed that even Al seems to be losing patience with the down and out Jack Torrance.

To sum it up: Jack is getting angrier and seemingly feeling more and more disturbed by his situation and the hotel in general. He was a troubled man to begin with, and now he's definitely teetering on a the edge of a breaking point.

Wendy, while concerned about Jack, is also becoming more acutely aware of Danny's gifts. She seems to be accepting them at face value, even though she can't exactly put a face to them. She plans on having a conversation with her son on their next trip to the library together.

And Danny ... Poor Danny is trapped between his parents and the hotel, trying desperately to understand what's happening with both, and with no real way to gain any resolution for himself, is counting on just surviving and waiting patiently until his family can leave the Overlook once and for all. It's sad that we as readers know that that shit just ain't going to happen like he wants it to.

Favorite Passage: It wasn't LOSING YOUR MARBLES, Daddy said, it was HAVING A BREAKDOWN, and Mr. Stegner wasn't in a BUGHOUSE but a SANNY-TARIUM.

 

UPDATE - 1/10/16 @ 10:05AM EST

22

In the Truck

Well holy shit, I am seriously shocked at the final moments of this chapter. Danny Torrance ... Danny is the reason that he and Wendy remain at the Overlook with Jack, and ultimately suffer through the nightmare we know is coming. Wendy--who at this point is by far the most rational of the Torrance clan--throws lack of understanding to the wind, truly accepts that her son has "powers" to know things he couldn't possible know, and discusses their situation with him. Danny, relieved, yet still a tad reserved, tells her the truth. There are tears, there is fear, but when Wendy--clearly understanding there is something wrong, on the whole, yet not entirely certain what it is--point blank asks her son if they should leave.

And Danny says no.

Mostly because of his stupid Gramma, it seems.

Bitch.

Oh, and the radio Deejay just alerted the area of the impending winter weather. THIS has to be the last trip out of the Overlook.

Favorite Passage: "He thinks maybe we'll be lonely. And then he thinks that he likes it here and it's a good place for us. He loves us and doesn't want us to be lonely ... Or sad ... But he thinks even if we are, it might be okay in the LONGRUN. Do you know LONGRUN?"

 

UPDATE - 1/11/16 @ 12:33PM EST 

23

In the Playground

The snow is on the way, and with the impending weather incoming, Jack decides to make sure and get the hedge animals trimmed up before snowfall.  He's all by his lonesome, and The Overlook has finally decided to start creeping in on him--ironically, outside the hotel's walls--and have him questioning his own sanity by the time Wendy and Danny get back from their trip to Sidewinder. How? The hedge animals themselves, that's how.

This is one of those scenes where at first glance you might think -- eh, hedge animals, so what, how's that scary?--but when you slow down, breathe the scene in and fully immerse yourself in it, imagine yourself in Jack Torrance's shoes, it's terrifying. Think about it: You're alone--ALONE--on the grounds of a huge hotel that is nestled into the mountains in Colorado. There is literally ZERO civilization for miles. It's a fairly nice day, but the snow clouds are coming and the air is chilled. It's quiet. Only the sounds of nature and nothing more. You know the hedge animals are there, you've eyed them, you've touched them. But when your back is turned, you hear a rustling. You turn back, and the hedge animals have ... Moved? Yes, they've moved, you're sure. And then you look away and back and they've moved again, only closer this time. They are stationary objects, yet at each glance between different clusters of them, they've changed, moved, and inched their way closer, and their appearance is beginning to resemble a threat. Can they move? If you run will they chase you? What do you do? Can they ... Eat you? Are you going to wait and find out? You want to ask for help, but you're alone. Nobody will hear you call out. Nobody will hear you scream.

Come on, you know you'd pee yourself a little if it happened to you.

Favorite Passage: But now Jack could see that it had been clipped to look like a German Shepherd, and shepherds could be mean. You could train shepherd to kill.

 

24

Snow

A family photo for the ages: The Torrance Family again standing together on the Overlook's front porch, looking out at the gray sky and the heavy snowfall that will trap them, seal them off from everything but each other.

Favorite Passage: Flakes of snow swirled and danced across the porch. The Overlook faced it as it had for nearly three quarters of a century, it's darkened windows now bearded with snow, indifferent to the fact that it was now cut off from the world. Or possibly it was pleased with the prospect.

 

UPDATE - 1/11/16 @ 10:47PM EST

25

Inside 217

This is the last chapter of Part 3, and boy do I love the way it ends.

The beginning of the chapter just gives us an idea that the Torrance family is doing well to try and enjoy themselves in the snow, sledding and snowshoeing and essentially playing the role of happy family, even though they all have some inner demons they're battling.

But after the brief snow-play section, and another short one with Jack still rummaging in the boiler room and fining odd trinkets left behind amongst the paperwork, we arrive at Danny, back at Room 217, and he decides to go inside.

Odds are you already know what he's going to find. At this point you've probably either seen the movie or read the book or just have heard it via word of mouth. This doesn't make it any less scary. The dead woman in the bathtub is some of King's best in-your-face blatant gross-out descriptive scares. All these years I've remembered the part about her pubic hair. That sorta things sticks with a 12 (13?) old.

Favorite Passage: (Again this is the end of the chapter, and Part 3, but man it's a zinger) -- Time passed. And he was just beginning to relax, just beginning to realize that the door must be unlocked and he could go, when the years-damp, bloated, fish-smelling hands closed softly around his throat and he was turned impacably around to stare into that dead and purple face.

 Well folks, we've reached Part 4 - Snowbound. Things are getting good!