Below, readers can explore some of the best quotes featured in Stephen King’s The Shining. These tap into the novel’s most important themes, such as family bonds, isolation, and fear.
Uncaring Nature of the World
The world’s a hard place, Danny. It don’t care. It don’t hate you and me, but it don’t love us, either. Terrible things happen in the world, and they’re things no one can explain. Good people die in bad, painful ways and leave the folks that love them all alone. Sometimes it seems like it’s only the bad people who stay healthy and prosper. The world don’t love you, but your momma does and so do I.
In these lines, readers can get a sense of one of the book’s major themes—the uncaring nature of the world. Here, Danny is learning that good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people, and there isn’t much, at least in Jack Torrance’s view of the world, that he can do about it. The world, he concludes, doesn’t “love you,” but Danny’s mother and father do. That has to be enough. These familial bonds that exist at the beginning of the novel soon degrade, leading Jack to want to kill his wife and son.
King’s Indirect Thoughts on Writing
He would write it for the reason he felt that all great literature, fiction and nonfiction, was written: truth comes out, in the end it always comes out. He would write it because he felt he had to.
In these lines, it’s likely that King is conveying, through the character of Jack, his feelings about writing. He explores the fact that a writer has a compulsion to write because he feels he has to. Perhaps, in this effort, the “truth comes out.” Jack’s desire to write is only a small part of a novel. But, it adds important depth to his character.
Torrance’s Family Past
Once, during the drinking phase, Wendy had accused him of desiring his own destruction but not possessing the necessary moral fiber to support a full-blown deathwish. So he manufactured ways in which other people could do it, lopping a piece at a time off himself and their family.
Here, the narrator is relaying information about the Torrance family’s past. Wendy, who has grown tired and irritated with her husband’s drinking, once “accused him of desiring his own destruction but not possessing the necessary moral fiber to support a full-blown deathwish.” He has a desire to harm himself, she thinks, but not the strength of will to do any real damage. This is a complex insult that gets to the heart of Jack’s weak-willed nature.
A lot of folks, they got a little bit of shine to them. They don’t even know it. But they always seem to show up with flowers when their wives are feelin blue with the monthlies, they do good on school tests they don’t even study for, they got a good idea how people are feelin as soon as they walk into a room.
In these lines, Dick Hallorann is speaking to Danny about his “shine.” That is, his ability to sense other people’s emotions and read their thoughts. It’s revealed as the novel passes that Danny’s abilities are quite strong and even extend to communicating with Dick across the country. Here, King skillfully outlines the most positive features of the “shine.” There are dark parts of this gift as well, such as being tapped into the evil forces in the hotel, but there are many more blessings the gift provides.
Jack’s Helpless Situation
He looked to her like an absurd twentieth-century Hamlet, an indecisive figure so mesmerized by onrushing tragedy that he was helpless to divert its course or alter it in any way.
This well-written quote is an example of a simile. It is used to convey the helplessness of Jack’s situation. He is being taken over by the hotel and he knows there is nothing he can do about it. There is an “onrushing tragedy” that he can’t step out of the way of. The writer compares Jack to Hamlet and the terrible progression of events that lead to the deaths of almost every character in Shakespeare’s famed tragedy.
What is the best quote in The Shining?
There are many incredible quotes in The Shining. One of the best is, “Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.” Readers are going to come upon many more that speak to the themes of isolation, fear, and family in the novel.
Why did Stephen King write The Shining?
King wrote this novel in order to express a very specific fictional situation. There are many similarities between the author, who also battled with alcoholism, and Jack Torrance. He was inspired by his own life and struggles in his characterization of Jack, one of his most famous characters.
What is a famous line from The Shining?
From The Shining film, one of the best-known quotes is “Wendy, darling, Light of my Life! I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”
What do The Shining twins say?
In the film, The Shining twins (the Grady sisters) say: “Come and play with us” to Danny. They are an apparition the only Danny is aware of due to his shine. He’s terrified by their image (especially when he sees them murdered in the hotel hallway).