Alcoholism in “The Shining”
In “The Shining”, written by Steven King, the reader is exposed to an issue that a lot of families face in the real world that of which is alcoholism. The story’s main character, Jack Torrance, struggles from this issue due to his troubled past regarding an abusive and alcoholic father as well as his struggle of becoming the very man he loved, yet hated as a child. By exposing the reader to alcoholism, they are instantly aware of the outcomes of it and how it can affect someone. King uses this method to help enhance the story, to allow the contents of the book to become real and relatable to the reader, and most importantly, to allow the reader to actually sympathize with the main characters. Throughout the novel, we grow to be very fond of the Torrance family and how they attempt to cope with living in the Outlook Hotel. The reader learns of Jack Torrance’s troubled past and how he is attempting to stay sober for the sake of his family due to how uncontrolled his temper can be while abusing alcohol (“Landscape of Fear: Stephen King’s American Gothic 105”). The reader also learns of Wendy who is Jack’s wife, and how she struggles with Jack’s abuse and the inability to leave her marriage due to the problem of not being able to support her and Danny by herself, and lastly, Danny, who is the son of Jack and Wendy and who also struggles with Jack’s abuse due to alcohol. In my opinion, Stephen King uses these three different, yet similar standpoints to emphasize alcoholism and how it manages to affect other people, not just the individual who has the issue. “We all know men like Jack Torrance who carry the vicious Mr. Hyde beneath the veneer of their cultured and educated Dr. Jekyll, separated only by a few martinis that serve to blur the line between beast and civilized man” (“Stephen King: America’s Storyteller” 93). Later in the novel, we progressively notice Jack’s state of mind change for the worse and how violent he starts to slowly...
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