It’s been a week already! I won’t pretend I haven’t read ahead of Chapter 16, but here’s the discussion questions for Chapters 1-16 of The Shining for the #ShineAlong, hosted by Charleen from Cheap Thrills and Tif from Tif Talks Books. The first few chapters are mostly setting up the story, giving you a taste for what each character is like. Here is what I think about each character so far (and how it compares to my first read of the book):
Danny has always been one of my favorite characters (from any book). In some ways he reminds me of myself as a child, minus the precognition and mind-reading, of course. He is so grown-up for his age (he’s only five!) but at the same time some of his thought processes give away his age and how little he understands in the world so far. His bravery and responsibility he holds for his family (and his parents’ marriage) is childlike yet adult in its reasoning. It’s interesting to watch his character progress as he has to learn to understand more and more adult concepts and ideas to try to protect them from an unknown fate.
I find myself empathizing with Jack more than the first time I read this book. He’s messed up, struggling, but wants to do what’s best for his family. He is a lot more sympathetic in the novel than he is in the movie, for instance, because you can actually divulge what his intentions and thoughts are. You understand the desperation he is experiencing about turning around his life for the better, staying sober, being good to his wife and son (especially his son). I have a feeling this read is going to overall be much more affecting than it was the first time.
It’s been a long time since I read the book, but not as long since I’ve watched the movie. I’d forgotten Wendy’s complexity in the book, and how much more I liked her in it than in the movie. I am seeing her perspective and how helpless she feels about some of her circumstances, but how much she loves Jack and Danny, but struggles with her past, especially about employing some of the same tactics that her mother used on her. Some of her backstory stands out to me more now than it used to. I skimmed over the significance before, but now it’s making a lot more sense to me.
Of course, I am slightly biased because at this point I will read anything Stephen King has written, but even though Chapters 1-16 were mostly exposition, it’s amazing how much he draws you in with the simple character development. They are all flawed and realistic, and each of them resonates in their own way, in a way you can relate to and empathize with. It was a huge reason for why this book is one of my favorites, but I am realizing it even more now than I did the first time. So many details are jumping out at me, and I notice a TON of foreshadowing that I hadn’t noticed the first time (of course, since I didn’t know what was going to happen!). It is making it even more delicious to read this time around…I don’t want to put it down!
Make sure to follow along with the #ShineAlong on Twitter and head over to Tif’s blog for the link-up to read the other participants’ thoughts each week!