Thursday, February 21, 2013
FEBRUARY'S LITERATURE ANALYSIS: The Shining by Stephen King
1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).
This novel is about a a three-member family including Jack Torrance (Father), Wendy Torrance (Mother), and a six year old boy named Danny (Son) who stay the winter at the Overlook Hotel. Jack Torrance received the job of watching the Overlook Hotel over the winter because the hotel is seasonal and he needed money. There is something weird about the Overlook Hotel and since Danny posses a power called the shining the Overlook Hotel takes over his power and tries to ruin the family's trust in each other in order to get to Danny. From moving topiary to a room with a dead woman in a tub, Danny has to help his parents escape the Overlook Hotel while keeping them together.
2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.
The theme of the novel is kind of difficult to describe because this is a horror book but if I had to pick (which I do) I would say that it is overcoming your fears because Danny had to face the scary pictures that Tony showed him, Wendy had to realize that she needs to do what's best for her family even if she is scared of what will happen between her and Jack, and Jack needed to realize that he can't let his addiction to a good feel ruin his relationship with his family.
3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).
Throughout the novel, Stephen King does this wonderful thing where he changes his tone whenever he's talking about a character as if he's talking in a first person narrative, but he isn't (it's freaking awesome). So when Danny's character is prominent the tone is very innocent, naive, and childlike because Danny is only six but very educated and it makes for a delightful read when you switch from character to character. When Wendy is brought into the novel the tone is worried and troubled, but it's always about Jack because she will never let go how he broke Danny's arm when he was drunk, but towards the end the tone becomes empowered and triumphant because she overcomes her fear of the relationship conflicting between her and her husband. Jack is a completely different story when he is relevant in the story because the tone becomes angry, frustrated, and tired and I think that is his character because he is a recovering alcoholic of being sober for fourteen months which is like getting over the hump for recovery and he's holding it all in and won't let his anger out.
4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)
1. Ambiguity: Danny's power of the shining isn't really gone into in detail, but if you read the book you understand what it is because it's this strange connection between people however it's uncertain throughout the whole book. Pg. 117 "'You've got a knack,' Hallorann said, turning to him. 'Me, I've always called it shining. That's what my grandmother called it, too. She had it. We used to sit in the kitchen when I was a boy no older than you and have long talks without even openin our mouths.'"
2. Colloquialism: Hallorann is the perfect example of how he is obviously a southern character possibly from Louisiana and talks like he is from there by not pronouncing g's. Pg. 120 "'You never mind her,' he said. "And don't go askin your mom, either. You'd only upset her, dig what I'm sayin?'"
3. Farce: Pg. 119 "'I know she doesn't,' Danny said earnestly. 'But do you know the man in the gray uniform that gets the cars?'
'Mike? Sure, I know Mike. What about him?'
'Mr. Hallorann, why would she want his pants?'
'What are you talking about, boy?'
'Well when she was watching him, she was thinking she would sure like to get into his pants and I just wondered why-'"
I almost cried when I read this due to the hilariousness of it all, but this is why thoughts are private and why adults don't say these things in front of four year olds. Just to clarify, Danny was reading a woman's mind and didn't understand what she was thinking so he asked Hallorann out of curiosity.
4. Figurative Language: I love how he made everything practically come to life as the story went on everything seemed practically real by the end of the story. Pg. 313 "Gravel rattled on the path."
5. Imagery: The way Stephen King made the topiary a real danger and scary thing had heightened the fear factor while reading it, the topiary was almost sadistic if I had to describe it. Pg. 313 "The lion on the left had advanced all the way to the fence now; it's muzzle was touching the boards. It seemed to be grinning up at him."
6. Motif: REDRUM constantly is a reoccurring feature that almost foreshadows that there will be a murder at the Overlook Hotel. Pg. 193 "(then REDRUM) (Come out here and take your medicine, you fucking crybaby!)" Pg. 194 "(roque... stroke... roque... stroke... REDRUM)"
7. Personification: I think this book shows personification at it's finest; topiary coming to life, a hotel taking power from a six year old boy, and a dead man on the hunt to kill (how ironic?).
8. Symbol: REDRUM is the perfect symbol in this story because it symbolizes fear, murder, misunderstanding, and the innocence of a boy. Pg. 49 "He could see that limp hand dangling over the edge of the tub with blood running down one finger, the third, and that inexplicable word so much more horrible than any of the others: REDRUM."
9. Tongue in Cheek: Pg. 1 "Ullman stood five-five, and when he moved, it was with prissy speed that seems to be the exclusive domain of all small plump men." I believe that tongue in cheek humor is right up Jack Torrance's ally because he is constantly making lame jokes and lame judgements of people that are funny in a sick sort of way.
10. Foreshadow: Pg. 194 "(roque... stroke... roque... stroke... REDRUM)" This foreshadows Jack Torrance's death because the Overlook Hotel takes over his body and kills him with a roque stick.
1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization. Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?
Direct characterization used in The Shining would be when Jack Torrance described how Mr. Ullman looked by saying how he acted and the way he looked and another example would be when Mr. Hallorann was being described as black. An example of indirect characterization would be in the beginning of the novel, I could completely tell that Jack was kind of an ass and this line was my favorite: Pg. 8 "... and Jack flashed the PR smile again, large and insultingly toothy." Another example of indirect characterization would be how Danny is basically daddy's little boy, in the sense where he always wants to please his dad because in a certain chapter he struggles with his reading because he's just learning and will push himself until he figures it out. I think he uses both approaches because it's important to paint a picture for a reader by using direct characterization, but the fun part about books is also adding the small details through imagination which comes through indirect characterization.
2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character? How? Example(s)?
Yes, for each character it changes completely. Each character has their own voice and you can tell when the story is about a certain character as if they are telling the story as I said in question 3 of the general question.
3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic? Flat or round? Explain.
The protagonist would probably be Danny, so in this case I would say that he is a dynamic character because he goes through this traumatic experience of his father basically bashing his face in and tries to empower through it. He would also be a round character because Danny significantly changes (if you can at the age of six) into a brave, young man who overcomes the scariest thing that will probably happen in his life.
4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character? Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.
I know each character as if they were my best friend because the in-depth characterization Stephen King went through to characterize the people in the story was perfect. For example, in the chapter titled "Tony," Danny realizes that he is Tony later on in life and has his own climactic experience in his life to see that he becomes someone and has the chance to make something of himself. Throughout this chapter Danny has many epiphanies about life and the choices he has to make in order to make it out alive while trying to save everyone else at the same time. It would be great to meet Danny and see how his life is at this age (as in probably 46 or something around that number).