As ’Salem’s Lot is dominated by the brooding presence of Marsten House, The Shining is similarly occupied with the evil possessing the Overlook Hotel, an elegant old resort on a remote Colorado mountain. Built early in the twentieth century, the Overlook has passed from owner to owner, unprofitable and unlucky for all of them. It has frequently been the scene of murders, suicides, and other unspeakable crimes. Within the hotel lives a demoniac spirit that has corrupted nearly everyone who has spent time there.
When the hotel prepares to close down for the winter, as it does every year, Jack Torrance is hired to maintain the building and grounds through the off-season. Jack is a writer and former English teacher trying to recover from alcoholism. He has also inherited a volcanic temper from his father. Though he loves his son, Danny, deeply, Jack once broke Danny’s arm in a fit of anger. He lost his last job when he beat a rebellious student, and he has frequently abused his fragile wife, Wendy, who has borne her own cross of a hateful mother. Through a friend’s help, however, Jack has gotten a last chance to knit his life and family back together by working for the Overlook Hotel as the winter caretaker.
Upon the family’s arrival at the hotel, Danny senses that something is terribly wrong; He is haunted by visions of “REDRUM” (“murder” spelled backward) and a monster trying to kill him. As they tour the hotel, the Torrances meet Dick Hallorann, a hotel cook, who has “the shine”—psychic perception. Dick recognizes that Danny, too, has this ability, and to a much greater degree than himself. Before he leaves for his winter home in Florida, Dick warns Danny to stay away from room 217. He also tells Danny to call him telepathically if he gets into serious trouble.
After everyone else leaves, the Torrances begin to settle into a routine, and Jack repairs the hotel roof and tends the Overlook’s dangerously unreliable boiler. The evil spirit, however, has decided it wants Danny, and it begins to work through his father. Soon, the snows isolate the hotel from the outside world. In the boiler room, Jack discovers an old scrapbook filled with items about the hotel’s scandalous past, and he becomes obsessed with the history of the hotel. He soon begins to exhibit his old temper...
(The entire section is 959 words.)