Seminar Paper On The Shining

1166 words - 5 pages

The Simpsons Halloween Special, The Shinning (Groening), is a take-off on Stephen King's movie version of Kubrick's The Shining (1977), with parody-like distortions, yet poignant reminders of painful, horrific scenes. There is, in the role of Jack Torrance, the axe-wielding Homer; in the role of Wendy, is his wife Marge, defending herself with a baseball bat, their sensitive telepathic son Danny has been upstaged by the wise-cracking Bart. Along for the ride come Lisa and Maggie to complete the Simpsons family. This short episode manages to condense and encapsulate the real horror of the novel: namely, the decomposition of one person and the (near) destruction of a family unit through the real demon - alcoholism.When the Simpsons find themselves cut off from the outside world (no cable television), and Homer from his life blood (beer), the family harmony starts to crumble and Homer's mind starts to slip into insanity. His creative juices have dried up along with the beer supply. His typing goes from one sentence 'Feelin' Fine' to scrawlings all over the walls - "NO TV AND NO BEER MAKE HOMER GO CRAZY" (Groening). He (like Jack Torrance) starts to blame his family and turns on them. Marge, trying to protect herself and her children, defends herself with a baseball bat after breaking into an emergency case - "BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF SPOUSAL INSANITY" (Groening). This touch of black humour is a horrific reminder of domestic violence. It is the intelligent and sane family member, Lisa, who turns out to be the saviour. When Homer, in his rage of madness, chases his family outside in the snow, Lisa breaks the bad spell with a hand-held television. This 'magic wand' unites the family as they huddle together, once again a happy family unit; frozen, but punished by having to watch (what they consider to be a horror program) the Tony Awards.The Simpsons episode holds a mirror up to ourselves, as do the mirrors in The Shining (King). Do we see ourselves, our real selves, or do we have a distorted image of ourselves? When we watch The Simpsons do we recognise our (distorted) selves, our views and behaviours? Do we laugh to cover up the painful, uncomfortable recognition? The Simpsons episode, as well as Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), on "its mirroring level, which veritably demands that we evaluate not only the film itself, but our reactions to it as well. 'Do you see yourself and your attitudes and values reflected here?' Kubrick seems to be asking us. 'Which aspects?...Your ideas about family? About marriage?'" (Smith 304).Stephen King's novel, The Shining, (as well as Stanley Kubrick's film version and Stephen Kings television adaptation in 1997) is the portrait of a dysfunctional family, a study in domestic violence and alcoholism. It is greatly autobiographical.Yet the part of me that writes the stories, the deep part that knew I was an alcoholic as early as 1975, when I wrote The Shining, wouldn't accept that. Silence isn't what that part is...

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