Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Shining by Stephen King

My old post for The Shining was unnecessarily verbose and boring, so I decided to make a podcast out of it.

Listen to it here.

If you don't feel up for it, here's the short version.

It's a classic for a good reason. King has a powerful grip on characterization.

Jack Torrance is an entitled, angry, self-pitying dick. I don't understand how Stephen King expects us to have sympathy for him.

I didn't buy that Wendy would have stayed with him.

And hedge monsters aren't scary.

Seriously, just listen to the podcast.


Jennifer Loring said...

I'm not sure Stephen King does expect us to have sympathy for Jack. He has said that he wrote The Shining while he was drinking heavily and being a jerk to his own family, so Jack is really just a reflection of King during that period.

I think Wendy stayed because at that point in time, women were, in general, pretty screwed financially by divorce. She had a kid to take care of, and getting on her feet after divorce would have probably meant staying with her mother. I think she saw Jack as the lesser of two evils. Although when it gets to the point where bones are being broken, I think I'd suck it up and go back to Mom.

I agree on the hedge monsters.

Creature said...

King clearly wants us to have sympathy for Jack. He was pissed with Kubrick's interpretation. King's Jack is a good man brought low by a bad house. Kubrick's Jack was an asshole out the gate.

Christopher Shearer said...

I had sympathy for Jack. He was in a tough spot all around, and he was a dick. But drugs do that to you. He was also a good father (when not drunk or under the hotel's influence). Wendy would probably have left if it hadn't meant having to go live with her mother (though, why didn't she have any friends?). And hedge monsters. Scary as shit.

Gina Greenway said...

Disagree on the hedge monsters. Even as a kid at Disneyland those things scared the hell out of me.

As for Jack being a dick, that's hard to argue with. I, too, can see where Wendy might think he's the lesser of two evils (at least initially), but then again, there's nothing like being trapped with an asshole for five months at the top of a mountain to give your waning interest in being married an extra boost.

I felt kind of sorry for the guy. That being said, I still would have dumped him on his ass.