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As you can see, the excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" is

supersized, suggesting that Stephen King's pop-culture sensationThe Shining owes it a big debt.
Basically, "Red Death" is the story of a mysterious plague (the Red Death) raging through a land,
killing off its inhabitants. The ruler of the land, Prince Prospero, holes up in his isolated, tres chic
castle to party with a select group of revelers. Yet, the prince and the revelers can't hide from the
plague; it infiltrates the castle and busts up the party, terminally. Some interpretations of the tale
argue that Prince Prospero himself is the Red Death, and that he can't hide from it because
it's inside him.
We're seeing some parallels between Poe's tale and The Shining already, foremost, the theme of
isolation. There's also the motif of inner demons. Jack isn't the ruler of anything, but he is trying
to isolate himself from the horrors of the world and the horrors inside himself. In the case of
Prince Prospero, we don't know precisely what these demons are, because we don't see his inner
life. Arguably, the Red Death is emblematic of that inner life. By contrast, Jack's inner life is on
display for the readers.
King's treatment of the Overlook parallels Poe's treatment of the castle in "Red Death." In both
cases, much attention is paid to atmosphere, down to the details of the decor. King, like Poe,
knows there's more to the Gothic atmosphere than just blood and spattered brain matter. An
elegant and elaborately designed setting highlights certain qualities of the gore. It reminds us that
we're dealing with art, with a composition created for our pleasure (and pain!). The juxtaposition
of the beautiful and the gruesome encourages a stretch of the senses and emotions in ways we
might not be used to. In short, it helps us have a new experience.
Now that we've covered some of the broad parallels, we can get down to specifics. The
"apartment" in the quote is the site of the masquerade ball that Prince Prospero puts on before
Red Death infiltrates the scene. It's the castle's version of the Overlook's ballroom, complete with
a clock that seems to possess some supernatural qualities. In the excerpt, the partying is disrupted
every hour by the chiming of the clock. Although the revelers think they are safe from the
plague, the clock reminds them that they can't escape the passage of time as it speeds them
toward their mortality, Red Death or no Red Death. The clock might also act as a chime to their
consciences; something inside them knows it's not fair to use wealth and privilege to insulate
themselves from the problems of 'the common people. Or is it fair? We leave that moral dilemma
to you.
In The Shining the revelers are brought back to life by the chiming of the clock. The grand
opening-masquerade ball that Harry Derwent throws in 1945 goes into full swing when the clock
starts ticking. When it chimes the hour, the revelers wake up and we can see them party. More so
than Poe's clock, King's clock challenges 'rational' ideas of time and how it passes. When the
clock strikes midnight on December 2, 1975, Jack thinks:

All the hotel's eras are together now, all but the current one, the Torrance Era. And this would be
together with the rest very soon now. That was good. That was very good. (43.45).
Another master of the Gothic, William Faulkner builds heavily on this idea. His character Gavin
Stevens in Requiem For A Nun says, famously, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."
The clock is a part of the Overlook, and more loaded with supernatural qualities than Poe's clock.
It can run backwards; it shows Redrum; it manifests perverse images. The revelers awakened by
it are also overtly perverse. In addition to being wealthy and privileged like Poe's revelers, many
of King's revelers seem to be sexual predators. Of course, we don't know if we are being shown
the 'real' revelers or the revelers as they appear under the twisted influence of the hotel.
The first epigraph paints The Shining as a meditation on time, on mortality, and morality. It also
makes think about the nature of memory and the past, which can be just as real and alive as the
present, maybe even more so.
The final line of the epigraph, "But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel,"
might apply to the experience of the reader. Reading The Shining is uncomfortable, but in a
scrumptiously spine tingling way. We love it. We stay up in the wee hours reading it. We can no
more put it down without finishing it, than Jack can leave the Overlook. Why? Because, it's a gay
and magnificent revel. Check out "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory" for more on the masquerade
ball.
THE MASQUERADE BALL
The motif of masks and unmasking is also crucial to the novel. When the truth of the Overlook is
revealed to the Torrances, it's a kind of unmasking. The Torrances, themselves, are also
unmasked. Ironically, Jack is completely masked by the Overlook, after destroying his face with
the roque mallet only to have it taken over by the faces of the hotel's spirits, he thinks that his
mask is finally off. Sadly, Jack never takes off the mask he gained in childhood, the mask that
says he must follow in his father's footsteps. Danny on the other hand, presents a hopeful version
of unmasking. His experience at the Overlook is an unmasking of sorts, a rather brutal
unmasking of life, but also an unmasking of the truth of who Danny is. In addition to learning he
has great courage as well as human frailty, Danny's identity is validated by Halloran when he
acknowledges his ability to shine. Halloran helps Danny see that his abilities are real and that
he's not alone.