The Shining (1980)

Brief Intro

Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980) is a psychological horror film based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It follows Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who takes on the job of winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel. He brings along his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, who possesses “the shining,” a psychic ability. As the winter progresses, the hotel’s sinister influence drives Jack into madness.

Literary Devices Used in The Shining

Movie SceneDevice Example
Jack’s first encounter with Lloyd the bartenderForeshadowing
Danny’s visions of the twinsForeshadowing
Movie SceneDevice Example
The opening aerial shotsSymbolism
The maze scenesSymbolism
Movie SceneDevice Example
Jack typing “All work and no play”Repetition
Danny chanting “Redrum”Repetition
Movie SceneDevice Example
Jack’s interaction with Grady in the bathroomIrony
The hotel’s luxurious exterior vs. its sinister historyIrony
Movie SceneDevice Example
The elevator blood sceneImagery
The decaying woman in Room 237Imagery
Movie SceneDevice Example
Jack’s descent into madnessMetaphor
The Overlook Hotel as a characterMetaphor
Movie SceneDevice Example
The mazeMotif
The photographs of past caretakersMotif
Movie SceneDevice Example
The ghostly ballAllusion
The use of Native American imageryAllusion
Movie SceneDevice Example
Jack’s monologuesStream of Consciousness
Danny’s inner dialogue with TonyStream of Consciousness
Movie SceneDevice Example
The final chase through the mazeSuspense
The music and sound design throughout the filmSuspense

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Jack Torrance

ForeshadowingJack’s early interactions hint at his potential for violence.
IronyJack’s role as a caretaker who ultimately destroys.

Wendy Torrance

ImageryWendy’s fragile state is depicted through her wide-eyed, fearful expressions.
SymbolismWendy as a symbol of innocence and victimhood.

Danny Torrance

ForeshadowingDanny’s visions predict the horrors to come.
MetaphorDanny’s “shining” represents intuition and awareness.

Character Dynamics

ConflictThe tension between Jack and Wendy drives the narrative.
ContrastDanny’s innocence contrasts with Jack’s descent into madness.

Thematic Analysis


SettingThe remote location of the Overlook Hotel emphasizes isolation.
ImageryEmpty hallways and vast, empty spaces reinforce loneliness.


ForeshadowingEarly signs of Jack’s instability hint at his breakdown.
RepetitionThe recurring phrase “All work and no play…” signifies Jack’s deteriorating mind.

The Supernatural

SymbolismThe Overlook Hotel represents evil and the supernatural.
ImageryGhostly apparitions and visions highlight the supernatural elements.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
ForeshadowingMusic and SoundEerie music builds anticipation and hints at future events.
SymbolismSet DesignThe maze and hotel interiors symbolize Jack’s mind and the hotel’s complexity.
ImageryCinematographyVivid and unsettling visuals enhance the horror.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene: The Blood Elevator

YouTube Link: Blood Elevator Scene

Scene Breakdown: The elevator doors opening to a flood of blood is a powerful image that symbolizes the horror and violence lurking within the Overlook Hotel. This scene uses vivid imagery to shock the audience and foreshadow the chaos to come.


Interactive Quiz

  1. What literary device is primarily used in the “All work and no play” scene?
  2. How does the film use foreshadowing?
    • a) Through Jack’s early behaviors
    • b) Via the setting of the hotel
    • c) Through musical cues
    • d) All of the above
  3. What does the maze symbolize?
    • a) Confusion
    • b) Isolation
    • c) Jack’s mind
    • d) All of the above
  4. Which character represents innocence?
    • a) Jack Torrance
    • b) Wendy Torrance
    • c) Danny Torrance
    • d) Lloyd the Bartender

Answers: 1-b, 2-d, 3-d, 4-c