Why is it called The Shining?

The title The Shining is a reference to the psychic powers Danny possesses and a subtle nod to the themes of the story.

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The title of The Shining is a reference to the psychic powers Danny possesses. The power has no official name within the universe of the story; rather, the term "shining" was coined by Dick Hallorann's grandmother, who could also communicate telepathically, see the past and the future in visions, and read minds. Danny's abilities make him sensitive to the supernatural phenomena within the Overlook Hotel and trigger negative premonitions within him even before he and his parents go to the hotel for the winter.

Notably, both good and evil characters "shine." Danny and Hallorann are the positive examples, but the Overlook Hotel, a location teeming with evil and a bloodied past, also shines. Corrupting Danny is part of the hotel's malevolent intentions. By titling the novel The Shining, King is emphasizing this duality, and this further ties into the themes of duality within the novel as a whole. All of the characters have both light and dark sides, from Jack Torrance's alcoholism to Wendy Torrance's unwillingness to forgive. The ability to see into the past is also significant here, since all of the characters harbor ghosts: Danny was abused by Jack, Jack was abused by his own father, and Wendy's mother loaded her down with guilt and shame over the death of a sibling. Ultimately, the title evokes both the supernatural elements of the novel and the deeper themes at play in the lives of the main characters.

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