The Shining


The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song ‘Instant Karma!,’ which contained the line ‘We all shine on…’ It was King’s third published novel, and the success of the book firmly established him as a preeminent author in the horror genre. A film based upon the book, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980.

After writing ‘Carrie’ and ‘Salem’s Lot,’ both of which are set in small towns in King’s home state of Maine, King was looking for a change of pace for the next book. He opened an atlas of the US on the kitchen table and randomly pointed to a location, which turned out to be Boulder, Colorado. So in early 1974, King and his wife, Tabitha, and their two children, Naomi and Joe, moved across the country to Colorado.

On the advice of locals, they decided to try out a resort nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountain National Park called the Stanley Hotel. They almost were not able to check in as the hotel was closing for the off season the next day. Stephen and Tabitha were the only two guests in the hotel that night. They checked into room 217 which they found out was said to be haunted.

Tabitha and Stephen had dinner that evening in the grand dining room, totally alone. They were offered one choice for dinner, the only meal still available. Taped orchestral music played in the room and theirs was the only table set for dining. After dinner, Tabitha decided to turn in, but Stephen took a walk around the empty hotel. He ended up in the bar and was served drinks by a bartender named Grady.

Originally conceived as a five-act tragedy play, the story evolved into a five-act novel that also included a lot of King’s own personal demons. ‘Sometimes you confess. You always hide what you’re confessing to. That’s one of the reasons why you make up the story. When I wrote ‘The Shining,’ for instance, the protagonist of is a man who has broken his son’s arms, who has a history of child beating, who is beaten himself. And as a young father with two children, I was horrified by my occasional feelings of real antagonism toward my children. Won’t you ever stop? Won’t you ever go to bed?’


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