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 and PART 3. 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 reading along, I know I said I thought Part 3 was where things would really start getting good, but it looks like it was only toward the end that the Overlook began to really begin to prey on the Torrance family. I've read the first two chapters of Part 4 before adding this page to the blog, and I think I spoke too soon. Part 4 is gonna be a bitch for the Torrances.
PART 4 - SNOWBOUND
King left us with a killer cliffhanger at the end of chapter 25, and what does he do, he take us right out of Room 217 and puts us in the dreamland of Jack Torrance. Don't worry though, it's stupid how well-written this chapter is, another shining example (see what I did there?) of King's gift with backstories, and we get a peek at Jack's childhood and discover that his anger issues might be a bit learned ... If not genetic. His father was a drunk, and a mean one at that. A mean one with a temper. Jacks dream climaxes once wit his mother getting beaten by his father's cane when Jack was just a small boy, and then shifts us into the Overlook, where Jack dreams his father is speaking to him through the CB radio -- commanding, more like it -- and telling Jack the "he and she" have to die, that he has to kill them. I think we all know who "he and she" is, and isn't it clever of the Overlook's demons to use the memory of Jack's father to get into his head. I like this touch, a lot actually. And while it comes out of left field, I guess something had to finally break the slow-build of Jack's dwindling patience and control over himself. This is a great chapter.
Favorite Passage: "Who's got the newspaper? Your daddy wants the funnies. Is it raining yet?"
This chapter is sorta like King finally pinching that little big of stray thread he's been dangling in front of us for a while now, and finally giving it a little tug and letting things begin to slowly unravel. Jack, fresh off his nightmare, is a wreck emotionally, only to have Wendy quickly turn on him once she discovers the in-a-stupor Danny with fresh bruises on his neck. So now we have Wendy officially furious with Jack, assuming he's once again assaulted their son, and we have Jack not only reeling from his nightmare, but because he can't even remember walking up from the basement to where Wendy finds him, questioning his own sanity, and wondering if maybe he DID hurt Danny. And of course, Danny is traumatized from his encounter with the dead woman from Room 217.
Everybody is a mess, and they're all stuck together inside the Overlook.
Favorite Passage: (Exactly how dangerous is he?)
UPDATE - 1/14/16 @ 9:15AM EST
"It was her!"
Jack Torrance is angry. Angry at everyone.
He's angry at Wendy for the accusations, for the look in her eyes when she first found him after waking from his nightmare, for the quick assumption that it had to have been Jack who'd hurt Danny (though how could you blame her, when they are the only folks for miles?). He's angry because he also thinks she'll never fully trust him. No effort he can make to stay on the wagon will be good enough for her because the damage is already done.
But he's also angry at himself ... Because there were those moments he couldn't remember. The black out, the sleepwalking that brought him from the basement and upstairs. Did he hurt Danny?
He wants a drink. He would drink, if there were any alcohol to be found. He'd drown in the stuff.
Which brings us to a scene that always somewhat confused me in the Kubrick adaptation: Jack having the conversation with Lloyd the bartender. In the book, it's quite clear that Lloyd is from Jack's imagination. He's so desperate for a drink, for an escape, he mentally creates a lively bar scene and a bartender to talk with. Lloyd is kind and somewhat sympathetic, and essentially harmless.
In the movie, I always got the feeling that Lloyd was a manifestation of the Overlook, yet another simple device it was using to get inside Jacks' head and further push him to the brink of insanity. Lloyd seemed creepy, so stoic and calm and as if he were hiding something from everyone. The scenes play out very different in my head -- the book vs the film -- and while I enjoyed both, the book scene makes Jack seem a little more desperate, instead of being the victim of one of the Overlook's tricks.
Then, of course, the chapter ends with Danny dropping a bombshell the stuns both Jack AND Wendy.
Favorite Passage: The sound seemed to fill the empty downstairs and come back at them like banshees. There might have been a hundred Dannys, all screaming at once.
UPDATE - 1/14/16 @ 11:06AM EST
I like this chapter, mostly because it's the Torrance family working together, trying to start to come to terms with what gifts Danny has, and not spending as much time doubting and being angry with each other. I like that Danny finally professes what he's been dealing with, and telling his parents everything he knows, and has known. It's a great sense of relief for him, and the reader, because it's been a cause of much frustration. They might not fully believe every word he says (the dead woman), but his knowledge of their personal thoughts is beyond dispute.
The chapter ends with Jack off to examine Room 217.
Favorite Passage: ..."She wasn't even thinking, not the way you and Daddy think. It was black ... It was hurt-think ... Like ... Like the wasps that night in my room! Only wanting to hurt. Like the wasps."
UPDATE - 1/14/16 @ 4:40PM EST
There's not a lot to examine here. Jack goes to confront and possibly discredit whatever is or isn't lurking in Room 217. At first glance, the bathtub is empty. But when he goes to leave ...
Favorite Passage: From inside, he seemed to hear an odd wet thumping sound, far off, dim, as if something had just scrambled belatedly out of the tub, as if to greet a caller, as if it had realized the caller was leaving before the social amenities had been completed and so it was now rushing to the door, all purple and grinning, to invite the caller back inside. Perhaps forever.
UPDATE - 1/14/16 @ 9:31PM EST
Jack lies to his wife and son. Denies seeing anything in Room 217.
This is all that happens over the course of this chapter's 2 real paragraphs.
Favorite Passage: N/A (It's very very short)
UPDATE - 1/15/16 @ 9:06PM EST
Jack Torrance is getting more frustrated. First, his frustration is innocent enough, realizing he's not thrilled with the play he's been working on, then after a sexcapade with Wendy, they have a calm, intelligent conversation about Danny, and about what they're going to do, and then suddenly the conversation turns into Wendy nagging the shit out of Jack, in his own mind anyway. She eventually falls of to sleep, leaving Jack alone with his thoughts, which is when things always get worse.
After detailing to himself all the reasons his wife and the world are of no help to him, and contemplating all the bad-news scenarios he assumes he'll be left with, Jack slips off to sleep too, and falls into a nightmare back in Room 217. I won't spoil the dream for you, but it's good. He awakens, standing over Danny, who's asleep in bed, and Jack is appalled at what he might have been about to do.
Favorite Passage: His penis floated limply, like kelp
Again, when Jack is alone, that's when the Overlook always seems to prey on him. In fact, that seems to be the hotel's modus operandi -- always subtly attacking when Danny and Jack are alone. At this point Wendy has remained untouched by the Overlook, but perhaps the Hotel is counting on Jack taking care of things for it.
Jack is examining the snowmobile, the Torrances' saving grace mode of transportation to perhaps get them to Sidewinder and free of the Overlook's (grasp?) on them. But, though the vehicle is capable, Jack's mind wanders again, and--much like Danny in an earlier chapter--somehow convinces himself that the Overlook is the best place for them. He becomes further angered with Wendy, and her seemingly careless concern for what Jack wants, and decides he will tell her they are staying put.
He knows the Overlook is after him or his son, but Jack Torrance is staying put.
Favorite Passage: It was not just Danny the Overlook was working on. It was working on him, too. It wasn't Danny who was the weak link, it was him.
UPDATE - 1/16/16 @ 1:31PM EST
Honestly, I’m a little surprised we haven’t had a few more chapters like this one so far in the book. This chapter is from Danny’s POV, and is a fantastic, scary chapter that does nothing except show that the Overlook IS EVIL. While the hedge animals are scary enough in their own right, I honestly think the scene where Danny is stuck in the tunnel could stand on it’s own — especially once he escapes and then swears he sees a small hand (the ghost of a dead child?) waving at him from inside the tunnel. What an image. That one gave me chill. But of course the hedge animals are the real threat here, and get to see that they can actually do some real damage (the slicing of Danny’s pant leg), just like the woman from Room 217 can do real damage. Hallorann was wrong, the things in the Overlook CAN hurt you.
Favorite Passage: Now, in spite of the snow dazzle, he thought he could see something there. Something moving. A hand. The waving hand of some desperately unhappy child, waving hand, pleading hand, drowning hand.
(Save me O please save me if you can’t save me at least come play with me … Forever. And Forever. And Forever.
This chapter solidifies that the Overlook is winning its game against Jack Torrance. As Danny explains his encounter with the hedge animals, Jack knows he’s telling the truth, but at the same time this means he has to admit to himself that what HE saw was real, too. Which means the Overlook really is out to get them. He can’t have that. He wants to stay. He’s lowered himself to the level that he’d rather slap his own child and dismiss the truth in order to further what he thinks is the greater good for himself. Wendy is not amused. She still seems to be the only one who can think somewhat rationally. Danny’s age continues to work against him.
Favorite Passage: “You know I’m telling the truth,” he whispered, shocked.
UPDATE - 1/16/16 @ 9:25PM EST
Holy hell, how fucking scary would this situation be? To be all alone in a huge hotel, and then in the middle of the night you hear the elevator begin to come to live and rise to your floor? Of course, this scene only really works this well the the old-timey type elevators -- today's modern ones wouldn't have quite the desired sound effects. I love the touch of having all the items from the party being found in the elevator. Man this is a great chapter.
Furthermore, Jack is still getting angrier, and continues to try and dismiss the Overlook's tendencies as flukes. He shoves Wendy, which upsets Danny. But Wendy doesn't go away without a fight. She's the one who climbs into the elevator and discovers the party favors. The asks, "Does that look like a short circuit to you?"
Favorite Passage: They were both staring at him carefully, as if he was a stranger they had never seen before, possibly a dangerous one.
UPDATE - 1/17/16 @ 9:26AM EST
The final chapter of PART 4. Danny, alone in the hotel's ballroom is given one heck of a vision. Falling into one of his trances -- after watching the little boy and girl on the clock kiss pee-pees--Tony, informs Danny that he can't come back anymore. The Overlook is keeping him out. This is actually pretty scary. The Overlook has learned of Tony (scary enough as it is, as Tony lives in Danny's mind), and has used its supernatural powers to destroy him. I also have to admit, that another difference I think between the book and the movie (or maybe it was just my interpretation when I last saw the film, which was a long time ago) was that in the film I always assumed Tony was closer to the line of evil than he was good. I figured him an antagonist instead of protagonist. Not the case, it seems ( at least this far) in the book. He seemed to have genuinely been on Danny's side. In Danny's vision, again the Overlook's is in shambles, and there's the booming, looming image hunting Danny down. Danny cries out (mentally) for the help of Dick Hallorann, just as he was instructed, and then comes to, terrified and alone in the Ballroom.
The Overlook's not fucking around anymore.
Favorite Passage: And he saw that it spelled MURDER -- This had to have been quite the revelation at the time. We all pretty much know what REDRUM is at the point and time, but at the time of original publication, this had to be a bomb!
On to Part 5: Matters of Life and Death