The Ending of The Shining Explained: Why is Jack in the picture?

The Ending of The Shining Explained
The Ending of The Shining Explained

The Shining has been regarded as one of the most respected and horrifying horror films ever created for nearly four decades. The adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a haunted hotel and a youngster with a terrifying power by Stanley Kubrick continues to captivate audiences. It’s so fascinating, in fact, that obsessive admirers and their ongoing investigation have generated a second film — the documentary Room 237 — devoted solely to dissecting its myriad nuances and apparently hidden meanings.

But for many admirers, it all boils down to that jarring, perplexing, and interesting conclusion. What does that famous ending shot actually signify, and what do the film’s unanswered questions regarding the characters who are still living say about the aftermath? It’s time to discuss those questions and, hopefully, find some solutions. This is how The Shining’s ending is explained… or as near to an explanation as we can get without filming our own documentary.

What Happens When The Shining Ends?

It’s not always clear where the beginning of a film’s finale is, but in the case of The Shining, we’ll start with the film’s single physical manifestation of the supernatural: Delbert Grady, who is long dead, frees Jack Torrance from the locked pantry and tells the temporary caretaker that he must take care of Wendy and Danny “in the harshest possible way.” There’s also a ticking clock, as Dick Halloran is on his way to sabotage The Overlook Hotel’s plans.

Meanwhile, Danny enters Wendy’s chamber in a hypnotic trance while she sleeps. He takes the chef’s knife from the nightstand, his mother’s lipstick from the vanity, and draws “REDRUM” on the bathroom door while murmuring the word. Wendy wakes asleep when the muttering turns into yelling and attempts to calm him down – but the temperature in the room quickly escalates when she notices Danny’s message is “Murder” spelled backwards in the mirror.

Jack bursts into the room moments later, brandishing a fire axe and pounding on the door. Wendy takes Danny to the toilet because she has no other alternative for escaping, and she is successful in getting him out the window, which has a good amount of snow outside it, allowing him to fall elegantly to the ground. Wendy can’t get through the window since it’s too small, so she’ll have to stay in the locked bathroom, armed with the chef’s knife.

When Jack enters the room, he taunts Wendy while smashing the bathroom door with his axe. When he tries to open the door, his scared wife slashes at him, cutting his hand. He’s reeling from the pain when the sound of Dick Halloran approaching in a snowcat distracts him. Danny flees back into the hotel and hides in the kitchen while he leaves to take care of the Overlook Hotel’s cook. Wendy exits the bathroom after she is certain that Jack has left.

Dick walks into the hotel through the main door and begins searching the halls for the Torrance family. Jack surprises him and lodges his axe in Dick’s chest, so announcing his presence is a fatal mistake. Danny, terrified by the murder, flees the kitchen and runs back outside, drawing Jack’s attention in the process.

Wendy explores the hotel for her son, but instead of finding him, she is confronted with the horrors of the haunted hotel’s history. The small boy is out in the hedge labyrinth, being pursued by his father, rather than being inside. Danny realises he’s making footprints in the snow and carefully glides backwards over them, causing Jack to lose track of him.

Danny reunites with Wendy after escaping the hedge labyrinth, and the two of them board Dick’s snow cat and flee. Jack, on the other hand, becomes disoriented and lost, eventually giving up and collapsing to the ground. He freezes to death the next morning.

A long tracking shot goes out of the notorious The Gold Room and onto a gallery of images on the wall, with the camera eventually focusing on a shot from the 1921 July 4th Ball. As we approach closer, we notice that the man standing in front of the throng is none other than Jack Torrance.

So, what went wrong with Jack Torrance? What is the significance of that photograph? That’ll be our next topic of discussion!

The Ending of The Shining Explained

What Happens To Jack Torrance At The End Of The Shining

A lot of things aren’t clear in The Shining from start to finish. Was Lloyd ever there? She was in room 237. He was hurt by what she did. So that Jack can help with the housework, Grady says that.

When you look at that last picture of Jack at the Overlook Hotel in 1921, it’s the most mysterious thing of all. One of the more popular ideas is that the Overlook took Jack’s soul when he died, just like it took the souls of other people who died there. So, in a movie where so much is left up to interpretation, Kubrick explained the ambiguous ending.

In an interview with a French film critic, Kubrick said that the picture of Jack in the ballroom suggests that he has been reincarnated. It is possible that Jack was a guest at the Overlook Hotel, or that he was a staff member. This is why Lloyd the bartender treated him like an old friend and Delbert Grady said that Jack was “always the caretaker.” This would also show that Charles Grady, the old caretaker who killed his wife and two little girls, was a reincarnation of Delbert Grady, or “Jeevesy,” who died in a car accident. So, it looks like Jack has been stuck in the Overlook Hotel for a long time now.

Haven’t watched “The Shining”, start with the trailer

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