by Paul Kane
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ART OF THE LOBBY BACK HALL
BEAVER SWAMP ⎔ BOG OAK ⎔ DECEMBER AFTERNOON ⎔ MAKAH RETURNING IN THEIR WAR CANOES ⎔ MALIGNE LAKE, JASPER PARK ⎔ MIST FANTASY, SAND RIVER, ALGOMA ⎔ MYSTERIES (CARMICHAEL, MONAHAN) ⎔ OXBOROUGH ⎔ PLOVERS ⎔ RED MAPLE
This appears four times, twice as Jack passes the halls to the east of the lobby (80:52-81:02; 126:52-126:56), once behind Wendy as she approaches Hallorann’s corpse (132:25-132:27) and once to the left of the Grady ghost (132:51-132:53). Altogether it’s in the film for 21 seconds.
Paul Kane was a somewhat controversial figure in art history. On the one hand, he was one of the first, if not the first, tourist to ever travel across Canada, and the sketches he made of indigenous life were, in the beginning, faithful to reality. But he soon found that embellishing, romanticizing, and combining forms from disparate tribes was a better way to capture the popular imagination. He allowed this practice to dominate his work for commercial gain. So it seems interesting that this painting would appear next to two villains, and only when they were being scary. When Wendy passes this same corner, the camera seems to edit out this image.
The painting depicts a small group of Makah poised atop a rocky outcrop (one of them appears to be fishing), watching two war boats heading left, going up a river. There’s a few other canoes around, and across the river on two different shores, the land is lined with buildings, though the nature of these buildings is hard to say. I only noticed while editing this section that the war canoes have 42 rowers (not counting the coxswains), which could be another tip toward Grady ghost being the real Grady, 42s generally being associated to absurdities/impossibilities. In fact, there’s 6 crates of 7up bottles right behind the wall this hangs on (6×7=42).
The Makah are located in Washington state, very near the Timberline lodge on Mt. Hood (the hotel and mountain we see in the establishing shots of the Overlook), and very near their brethren, the Nuu-chah-nulth, who appear in the John Webber etching of the man from Nootka Sound. Recall that the other Webber piece of A Woman of Oonalashka refers to a place whose name means “near the peninsula”, while the Makah’s real name of Kwih-dich-chuh-ahtx has been translated to mean “the people who live by the rocks and seagulls”, “the people who live on the cape by the seagulls” and “people of the point”. So there’s a soft connection there for people who live near points and peninsulas. But also, this “seagull” business reminds of the fact that Danny trikes past a seagull during his first lesson, which just so happens to be in the back hall of the lounge, just below where the Webbers hang.
Also, I recently noticed that the boats seem to have a bird (left) and a fish (right) motif worked into them. If so, that would help invoke two of Jack’s victims: Danny and Hallorann, respectively.
It appears on the same wall of the lobby as JEH MacDonald’s Mist Fantasy, which also depicts two canoes in the centre of a channel, only those were ghostily, dreamily empty. So the fact that these two paintings are on the opposite side of the lobby as Thomson’s Northern River, and the fact that one of Canada’s favourite ghost stories is about how Thomson drowned in Canoe Lake, and the fact that Mist Fantasy has a better view of Hallorann’s murdered corpse than the other two, could be a nod to Thomson’s own vanished remains.
It also occurred to me while analyzing the GREAT PARTY ghost that, while we don’t know the exact date of composition for this piece, it could be 1846-1847 the years of the Donner Party expedition. Great party, indeed.
Speaking of the GREAT PARTY ghost, in that analysis I just linked to, I consider the possibility that that ghost may be the original Charles Grady, or might be an amalgam of Jack’s many father figures.
In the novel, the very centre of the story (pg. 224) is about Jack’s father Mark beating his mother half to death with his cane. King describes “one” crack to the woman’s face, “one” to the top of her skull, and “seven” to her body (our Tower of Babel number). So having Paul Kane next to that ghost (and Jack after he’s given Danny’s bedroom a mean death stare), seems like a sly allusion to King’s conceit. The other thing we know about Mark is that he and Jack played the “elevator game”, which is where Mark would toss him up and down through the air in exhilaration, sometimes resulting in Jack getting launched into a painful downfall. Well, the set where GREAT PARTY ghost appears is the same set used for the bloodfall hall, so the elevator blood should be splashing all over that ghost and this “cane” painting.
I’ve discussed what I just wrote in a few other places on the site, but one thing I haven’t looked at elsewhere is how the sound of “cane” backwards could be “knack” in English. And this is a word that appears at least three times in the novel (I only annotated the first half of the book), in interesting ways. The first time, on page 81, the word is spelled correctly, and is used by Hallorann to describe Danny’s shining power. The next time, on page 95, it’s spelled incorrectly, NACK, as a thought in Danny’s mind, as the boy reflects that Jack told him that he had a unique ability to know how things work. It’s used again on page 213 in conjunction with Danny’s desire to pick up the “knack” of snowshoeing.
I bring this up to highlight how Jack and Danny had two very different reactions to their childhood traumas. Mark’s cane split Jack’s family life (and the story of his life that is King’s novel) in two. Jack’s breaking/dislocating Danny’s arm created Tony (whose name sounds a bit like “two knee” in English, as if he were Danny #2), who is, in some sense, the externalization of Danny’s shine power, his “knack”. So, if Jack was ever a shiner, his father’s cane shut that power down. And Danny’s arm being broken, didn’t deprive him of his “NACK”, his Two-ny-ness.
Actually, it’s meeting Dick (pg. 76) that gives Jack his first memory of his father. Dick calls Watson the “foulest-talking man you ever ran on” and Jack reflects that that title belongs to his own dad.
Next art reference: Maligne Lake, Jasper Park
MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING