Spotlight on “The Shining” goes back to 1974


At the end of this dark hallway resides the iconic room 217 at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. This room is now titled The Stephen King Suite and needs to be reserved months in advance. In the hallway outside of the door is where King’s dream occurred. This is not the hotel from the movie, but the hotel that inspired the original book. (Photo by Emily Olson)

Evan Luxton

The Shining, a timeless classicwhat Stephen King is really known for. Dreams? The Torrances? The Overlook hotel? Insanity? Well, it all started at The Stanley hotel, but more specifically a dream

It was September, 1974; Stephen King and his wife Tabitha stayed at The Stanley in room 217. They were the only guests checked in. King felt like the hotel was “the perfect setting for a ghost story.” But that night, King had a dream about his three year old son being chased by a firehose as he was running and screaming through the hallways. 

King said that it was a dream from which he “woke with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed.” King included this as a scene in the book, but switched his three year old with Danny Torrance. 

The Torrances are the family that the book and movie follows. The family goes on a road trip to The Overlook hotel as a job for Jack Torrance (the ‘dad’) to make sure the hotel boiler doesn’t freeze.  The family ends up learning a lot about the hotel’s past, and the sinister presences that lie within. 

King creates a whole world from one small dream, but there is more to it. King stated that The Shining is a work that he had put a lot into. He included a lot of personal symbolism that followed within the characters’ personalities, traits and lifestyle. Topics of insanity, isolation and how far out someone would have to be for someone to hear them scream. These are all portrayed in The Shining, as to how this correlates with the consistent rituals of this family. 

So…did Stephen King just write The Shining because of a creepy dream he had that would clutter someone’s fears? Or is there more? How far would someone go until admitting they’re the actual main character, and that The Shining is just a symbol of someone’s psyche?

The picture reveals the Stanley hotel; elevated at a whopping 7,800 feet above sea level. This white substantial hotel is surrounded by a beautiful backdrop of the Colorado mountains. (Photo by Emily Olson)