“[Y]ou have this tremendous advantage of reading something for the first time, which is an experience you never have again with the story. I mean, the first time is something which you cannot ever guess about, you know? That’s the first time. Then you have a reaction to it, and subsequent readings, you know, are more analytical. But, you have to start with a kind of, you know, like falling in love reaction with the material. So then it just becomes, you know, a matter of…almost like a codebreaking, of breaking the thing down into a structure that seems to be still truthful, not losing the, you know, the ideas, or the content, or the feeling of the book. And try to get it into the much more limited time frame of the movie. And the criteria is always is it truthful and is it interesting?”
~Stanley Kubrick, being interviewed by Tim Cahill in 1987
“I always thought that the real difference between my take on it, and Stanley Kubrick’s take on it was this: in my novel the hotel burns…in Kubrick’s movie the hotel freezes. It’s the difference between warmth and cold.“
One thing I put off for way too long was to go through King’s novel again and look for where Kubrick might’ve derived his inspirations for all these intricate patterns we now understand to lace the film. As I said in this website’s intro, it was noticing the Abbey Road Tour that lured me into these past 2 years of analysis, but my faith in that was supported entirely, and very comfortably, by the fact that King references John Lennon in his dedication to his son, and in the fact that Wikipedia had King admitting the connection. I had no idea that the ghost band at the ghost ball actually play Ticket to Ride off the 1965 album Help! (pg. 352) Or that Danny is thereafter described as Jack’s “ticket” (pg. 380) for gaining access to the hotel’s private eternity (or that the word “help” begins to appear quite a bit thereafter).
Now, I don’t know if there’s a direct (or indirect) reference for absolutely everything Kubrick included (certainly most of the artists and writers Kubrick chose to include is his orgy of evidence moments are not named in the book), but I would say that if we were to yank both these plants out of the earth, their root structures would look similar enough to cause us to think they were the same species without having to eyeball the blossom.
I was being asked a lot by curious individuals who’ve been discovering the site (and my documentaries) what I thought the deeper meaning was behind Kubrick going to all this trouble. My initial response was (and still is, to some extent): you need more? This isn’t deep enough for you?
But I can sort of sympathize.
Before discovering the almost clinical cleanliness of the Treachery of Images subtext, I was afraid that I would one day discover some secret, verifiable message in the film like, “THE BEATLES SUCK” or “FDR: NOT MY PRESIDENT” or “FREEMASONS RULE THE COUNTRY” and then have to spend the rest of my life pretending I’d never noticed it, just as not to look like some of the truly gonzo analysts that I now know are out there. But, as my findings took me deeper and deeper into Kubrick’s arch weave, my fear began to feel silly: why would he mar his (as far as I can see) peerless masterpiece of intricacy by throwing in some sophomoric sociopolitical blather?
But also, The Shining is the only novel my dyslexic eyes and brain had ever read twice (now four times), so each time I discovered another of Kubrick’s larger techniques, a ghostly sense of familiarity came with it. I trusted that feeling to mean there was some antecedent in King’s novel. I didn’t suppose King (of whom I’ve been a lifelong superfan) was the sort of writer to have the patience to work out anything half so dense as, say, what Mike Noonan discovers in Bag of Bones (1998) (you can spoil the surprise by following that link–or you can go read it yourself!). And while some of what I have to report may shock you (for what it says about the fleet-fingered King’s attention to craft), the vast majority of this analysis is simply to show that Kubrick’s inventions don’t simply spring out of holes in the ground, but come from trying to do what I now tell those readers seeking deeper meanings.
What was Kubrick’s deeper “message”? He wanted to make the best damn adaptation of King’s book that anyone could ever do. Did he twist certain of King’s symbols to suit his own purposes? Of course. But if you want to understand where it all comes from, this one’s for you.
Also, as for the spirit of this analysis: I’m not saying with utter gravity that everything I’m pointing out below is something Kubrick definitely noticed, and definitely considered when he included his own variant or reference. I’m just saying, as his super-powered laser beam brain was doing the work of “codebreaking” (his word) King’s novel, these would seem to be the sorts of things that might’ve informed his process. We should not rule out the possibility, however, that King drew these codes to Kubrick’s attention, however opposite that may run to their official statements on the matter.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- King’s Labyrinth
- The 217 Jumble Phenomenon
- Escaping Through the Nyet
- Jack’s (Broken) Ladder
- A Chain of Cheneys
- Evolution of a Masquerade
- The Story Code Phenomenon
- I’m Ready for My Slow Zoom, Mr. Kubrick
- The Mirrorform
- Other Notes of Eye Screamery
- The Shining: A Page-By-Page Analysis
SPECIAL: KING’S LABYRINTH
Okay, so I did the page-by-page analysis. I wrote out all the significant things in the book that tie to the film. But what I started to discover is that, it’s not simply things like Jack Torrance quoting Julius Caesar on page 48, and Kubrick having Caesar’s biography appear in Boulder. King has used many of the same kinds of large-scale techniques as Kubrick: the Fibonacci sequence, the lessons and escapes, significant details/sequences being significant lengths of time (or pages, in this case) apart, buried art references, and so on.
This necessitates an extremely fractured series of clues, all zig-zagging through the novel’s narrative in ways that could be quite boring (forbiddingly boring) for you to have to wade through chronologically (though, if that sounds like fun to you, I’ve left up my notes). It occurred to me that expecting you to do that would be like if I’m tried to convey what a zoo’s-worth of animals look like to someone who’s never seen any of those animals, by showing one aspect of each animal (a claw, a tail, an eyebrow), before moving on to the next detail for each animal (a mouth, a knee, a rump), and expecting them to always remember which goes with which. If you could even remember all the pieces, you’d probably draw something like Dante’s rendition of Geryon, all random parts jammed in an anatomical nightmare.
For those disinterested in such a confusion of significances, let’s look at the larger patterns I noticed in a more isolated and comprehensive fashion.
THE 217 JUMBLE PHENOMENON
The book is loaded with characters saying and thinking numbers. Sometimes there’s so many that you think they can’t possibly all mean something, and there’s a good chance some of them do mean exactly bupkis. But frequently enough, when you go the page number that corresponds to the thought or spoken number, you find a scene that mirrors the scene you were on. Or someone on the other page is saying the number of the page you came from. Stuff like that.
But my favourite example is in what I’ll call the 217 jumble. If you’re not familiar with my work on the number 237 as it appears in the film, there’s an almost nauseating amount of objects and time codes and secret photos and passages in the film that feature the number 237 coded into them. But not just 237. There’s also 23s and 37s and 732s, and so on. When Jack first walks over the spot where he’ll later kill Hallorann, the time code is 3:27, and just up the hall from him is a wall rug that features 2 vertical half-diamonds, 3 horizontal half-diamonds, and 7 interior full diamonds. Once you realize how truly ubiquitous 237s are in the film, it starts to make going into room 237 seem almost redundant (or like heading into the eye of the maelstrom).
So, where did Kubrick get the idea to do that?
Turns out, in “Chapter 25: Inside 217” novel Danny enters room 217…on page 217 (technically he’s standing at the entrance on page 216, and “stepped further in” mere words before the page turn). In the film, the first second of time code in the room is 71:50, which is like the “REDRUM” version of 217. But as Jack moves through the room, a lot of other jumbles go by (72:01, 72:03, 72:10, 72:21, 72:23) often marking the appearances (and disappearances) of the various artworks in the room (the lesson key appears at 72:11 and disappears by 72:23), until he stops outside the bathroom door at 72:31, which is like a jumble of both room numbers.
But like movie Danny, book Danny passed the room once before, in “Chapter 19: Outside 217”. Unlike movie Danny he’s not riding a tricycle, but simply standing outside the door having all kinds of thoughts about what could be inside this room Mr. Hallorann warned him so sternly about (pg. 87). This starts on page 167, and by page 171 he finally takes the passkey out of the lock, and resolves to leave nasty ol’ room 217 behind. But then something makes him stop and linger: a fire hose, “folded back a dozen times back on itself” (and doesn’t that sound like the Twice-Folded Shining, or even the Seven-Times-Folded Shining?) slips off its hook somehow and vexes the lonesome boy, as though it were a poisonous snake. It makes him think (on page 172 now) of “one of his favourite TV shows” since the word EMERGENCY appears on the protective glass. And doesn’t film Danny have a lunchbox featuring the 1972 series (at 12:17 into the film no less)?
On page 127 (of “Chapter 16: Danny”) Wendy and Jack have just kicked the door down to Danny’s private bathroom, after the boy was unresponsive inside. They find him spaced out, staring in the mirror, thanks to Tony, as he explains, who appeared to him “way down in the mirror”. A locked door, a hypnotic mirror. And Kubrick’s version of that scene shows Danny’s vision and occurs in Boulder, ending at 12:07.
And while Jack’s journey through the room (in “Chapter 30: 217 Revisited”) starts on page 251 and ends on page 255, in “Chapter 32: The Bedroom” there’s a page break on page 270 as Jack descends down into sleep after the 217 episode, only to awaken a moment later within the 217 bathroom. At the top of page 271 he flings the tub’s curtain back to reveal “naked, lolling almost weightless in the water, was George Hatfield, a knife stuck in his chest.” Hatfield is the student Jack pummelled after the boy cut holes in Jack’s beetle’s tires (or as Danny likes to say, “the bug’s tires” (pg. 13)), losing him his job, and sealing his fate as an employee of the Overlook. Let me say here that I don’t yet have a “Hatfield” reference in the film, but from 27:01-27:10 Hallorann is curving toward the storeroom with Wendy and Danny while Wendy’s quizzing him on how he knew Doc was “Doc”, and as that happens there’s two postcards of Niagara Falls that appear behind Dick, on the wall of his office. If “George Hatfield” is a reference to the “Hatfield-McCoy feud” that’s one of the most famous incidences in history of two families feuding across the generations for increasingly obscure reasons, separated by a river. And the Niagara river (which is part of the Great Lakes) is part of perhaps one of the largest bodies of water that separate two (otherwise closely adjoined) countries. And Kubrick even added details about the feuding between Canada and the States, as seen in the Panet-Berczy painting of the Battle of Sisters Creek. Not to mention several other paintings depicting spots along the St. Lawrence Seaway, including one with a particular connection to Hallorann, who might just be the Hatfield stand-in.
Going back to page 271, dream Jack escapes Hatfield (with the knife “equidistantly placed between nipples”) and room 217 only to dream-shift into the Overlook basement, where he finds his “campchair, stark and geometrical”. This is where (in reality) he’ll attempt to find the Overlook’s true history (pg. 214, 224), but only manages to pull out the same wasp’s nest that resurrected into ghostly life on page 131 (four pages after 127). The wasp’s nest with its hexagonal holes, like the “white hexagonal tiles” on the floor in room 217’s bathroom (pg. 217). And doesn’t the number 237 correspond to the hotel wanting Jack to kill Hallorann? And isn’t part of that pattern the painting Trapper’s Camp?
Camp chair. Trapper’s Camp.
So where did Kubrick get 237 from? That’s a question with a dozen answers, it seems. But it’s worth noting that page 237 features Jack entering the room where he’ll have his first conversation with Lloyd, and drink his first ghost drinks, crossing (one of) the (many) rubicon(s) that seal(s) his fate.
Page 273 is the end of his 217 nightmare, in which, thinking he’s killing George Hatfield, he realizes too late that it’s actually Danny he’s bludgeoning to death with his father Mark’s cane (and isn’t it a painting by Paul Kane that movie Jack passes on his way to the ghost ball?). For more on Mark’s cane, check out pg. 223.
On page 327 an increasingly demented Jack realizes that the hotel’s boiler is in the danger zone. Watson warned him in Chapter 3 (pg. 20) that it used to be rated to 250 pounds of pressure per square inch, but he wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it at 180 after all its years of wear and tear. Here, on page 327, it’s at 212 ppsi., and creeping higher by the moment. Hypnotized by the life-and-death scenario Jack imagines the thing blowing up and “[destroying] the secrets, [burning] the clues,” and how “it’s a mystery no living hand will ever solve.” He’s referring to the hotel’s history, which has been driving him mad. In imagining Wendy and Danny getting his life insurance, he thinks, “Seven-come-eleven die the secret death and win a hundred dollars.” Talking with imaginary Lloyd on page 239 he says, “There isn’t a Seven-Eleven around here, would you believe it? And I thought they had Seven-Elevens on the fucking moon.”
On page 19 of Chapter 3, Watson says, “I tell you, this whole place is gonna go sky-high someday, and I just hope that fat fuck’s here to ride the rocket.” Then, on page 20, “If you forget, it’ll just creep and creep and like as not you an your fambly’ll wake up on the fuckin moon.” Jack relives Watson’s words from 19 and 20 halfway down page 69.
Page 19. Page 69.
And when did homo sapiens first set foot on the moon?
So perhaps this is why Kubrick associated room 217/237 to the moon. But we’re not quite done with page 327. On the next page the boiler creeps to 215, and the next we hear about it is on the following page, when it’s reached 220, which is when Jack successfully dumps the boiler (page 214–218 is Danny’s 217 escapade, drawing a link between the need to blow of steam, and Danny’s need to sate his curiosity–page 220 is the announcement of the start of “Part Four: Snowbound”). But between this 215 and 220, as the boiler passes its own 217, Jack enters a daydream about a time when his father knocked a wasp’s nest out of a tree after blasting it with smoke from a fire all day. “Fire will kill anything.” Mark Torrance informs his son. And isn’t it inside room 237 that Jack passes a painting with a Promethean connection?
Finally, on page 372, as Wendy and Danny drag Jack to lock him away (another rubicon crossed–mother and son betraying father), Jack mumbles to himself in a daze, “You gotta use smoke,” and “Now run and get me that gascan.”
Now, are there other links in these chains, or other jumbles I haven’t noticed? I would dare to say it’s very likely, but I’m not going to expend the brain power to find them. This is good enough for me.
If this isn’t good enough for you, well, then you might not find much of what follows terribly persuasive, I’m sorry to say, but I would encourage you to reread the novel yourself, if only to realize what I can’t show you in my own words: that these 217 and 237 jumbles both contain the moments I’ve detailed, and do so in relative isolation.
And that’s the key. While King is pounding us with his few hundred repeating thoughts and phrases, our job is to understand that when these pivotal things happen, he lets them sit out in the open, expecting us to be too punch-drunk to catch on. Too lost in the orgy of evidence.
The novel opens with a quotation from the painter Francisco Goya: “The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” This is actually a different translation of the 43rd piece in a series of 80, named The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. And though no one online that I can see is talking about this, it appears to have been composed according to the Fibonacci sequence. As you can see below, it might even be a phi grid. You’ll also note that the proportions are off, such that the spiral doesn’t fit perfectly across the entire image, and I suspect that’s by design. The piece is, after all, about how “reason”, which can be thought of as “logic” or even “truth”, is under attack by the fantasy of the sleeper’s dreams manifesting around her.
Then, on page 141–143, Danny is asked by a doctor to see if he can call upon Tony, and thus Danny enters a dream state where he sees “that which will be forgotten” (the hotel boiler) before seeing his father in the same area heading toward an evil scrapbook (pg. 142), which Danny instinctively knows he should warn Jack away from (“some books should not be opened”), but Jack does grab it on page 143 and Tony begins to jibber the same “incomprehensible thing over and over”, which is “This inhuman place makes human monsters.” And doesn’t that sound like the Goya title?
Now, if you read my Golden Shining analysis, you know that 143 is what you get from adding ten Fibonacci numbers together (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55). And if you know about Fibonacci, you know that that sequence creates a “golden spiral”, which is a pattern that shows up in real nature (as well as in much art, as we’ve seen). So it seems like this warped Goya message from Tony is a reaction to Jack grabbing the Overlook scrapbook. If Tony is using this thing that seems like a scientific expression of “reality” at Danny, what would it be used to dispel?
If you want the details for what I’m about to say next, go read the analysis for pages 152–166, which is all of Chapter 18: The Scrapbook. But the simple version of my findings is as follows. The scrapbook is a collection of newspaper clippings, detailing the hotel’s progression from inauspicious beginnings down into gangland murders and possible mafia ties among the ownership. Jack’s almost fired from his caretaker position after revealing (to Ullman and Al Shockley) his plan to write this history into a book. His obsession and passion to find meaning (ever elusive to Jack) among the papers in the basement plays a big part in why he eventually becomes slave to the purposes of the big house. King gives real dates to mark the progress of the Overlook, and it’s not hard to look them up, though it’s possible, even very likely, that Wikipedia is limiting its entries to only the most significant events. Even so, three of the dates given tie to the JFK assassination, and the ensuing conspiracy theories that grew up around the event. What’s more, some have compared movie Ullman to looking like JFK, and novel Ullman drives a Lincoln Continental (pg. 100), the car that JFK was assassinated while driving. Ullman uses the phrase “continental” to describe the “manners” of Truman Capote (pg. 95), a man whose first name happens to be the same as the last name of the president two jumps before Kennedy.
So, what Tony wanted Danny to save Jack from (symbolically) was getting lost down the rabbit hole of a conspiracy theory that will never be proven, one way or the other. It’s not that JFK wasn’t killed, and it’s not that his death wasn’t suspicious (in fact the dates of the Overlook clippings point to events that speak to how suspicious it was), and it’s not that his death wasn’t important. What could be more important, or damaging to democracy, than the slaying of an elected official? But what Jack plans to write about the hotel isn’t especially significant, and, as Ullman points out, is all public knowledge. As the story progresses, Jack’s book plans for the Overlook become openly autobiographical (pg. 222) – unlike his play, which is only quasi-autobiographical (pg. 105–116) – and as he obsesses over this new, fruitless endeavour (if he had put the JFK part together, what would he have done with that information?), awful things begin to happen to his family.
But we’re not done with Fibonacci. On page 197 he gets one more blast of “This inhuman place makes human monsters.” And that’s exactly 54 pages since the last one. So the first blast was 143 (or ten Fibo-values added together) and the second blast is 54, which is eight Fibo-values added together. A ten and an eight. And with only 250 pages from here to the end, there’s only eleven Fibo-values where this phrase could pop up again, and keep this pattern consistent. And you know where it pops up again?
Nowhere. Or at least nowhere that I could see.
You know what does happen, though? A mere 232 pages after page 197 is page 429, and that’s the page that Danny spontaneously, and for no other given reason (he has a few dreamy thoughts about the “basement” on preceding pages), figures out “what was forgotten” and screams into Jack’s face that the boiler is about to explode and destroy the Overlook. And 232 is the eleventh Fibo-value. So that’s ten (143), eight (54), eleven (232).
On page 177 we learn that the date is November 7 when Jack goes to confess his plans to Ullman, almost ruining his career. The next 20 pages are from the same day, and it’s only at the end of page 197, after receiving his second Goya shine, that Danny falls asleep “sometime after midnight”, meaning the date that marks the end of the 10-value and the 8-value is an almost invisible, undetectable November 8th. So perhaps it’s simply that “November” that’s nodding us toward going to the 11-value (pg. 429) for Danny remembering “what was forgotten”, which, remember, was the thing he saw in his vision, circa page 143 (before forgetting what it was upon awakening).
But why would Danny suddenly just “remember what was forgotten” on page 429? Like, there’s nothing in the narration that sets it up or explains it. Could Danny have somehow understood that he was on the eleventh Fibonacci beat, and that’s what drew his mind back to page 197, which connects back to 143, and then he saw “what would be forgotten” and knew (finally, in waking life) that it was the boiler, and to scream this in Jack’s face? Wouldn’t this 5-year-old have to not only understand Fibonacci, but also that he’s a character in a book with 429 pages? And that’s patently absurd.
But isn’t the central struggle of Jack Torrance to write his play? And in his play, Jack can’t quite seem to identify completely with Denker, the cruel headmaster, nor with Benson, the brutalized student (pg. 105–116). He’s able to see how the student he brutalized, George Hatfield, bears a symbolic relationship to the Benson character, but he can’t seem to face his own Denker-ness. As he struggles to do so, two things happen: one, he’s confronted more and more by the spectre of the memory of his wicked, abusive father, and two, he’s absorbed more and more by the false patterns in the scrapbook (and all the surrounding detritus). The Overlook draws him away from his reality, which for him is figurative (he can’t see that he’s a character in his own play), but in our reality is literal (he can’t see that he’s a character in a novel). Watson even seems to be drawing his attention to it on page 21 when he says, “Say, you really are a college fella, aren’t you? Talk just like a book.” This is the struggle of all characters in all novels, of course. And I suspect it would get tiresome if every character in every novel did know this, and constantly bemoaned the fact. But since a major component of what “the shining” represents is our ability to put images and ideas in one another’s minds, just as novelists do with every novel they write, Danny being able to “shine” like no one Hallorann’s ever met before (pg. 80), does seem to reflect Jack’s struggle. Jack can’t finish his play because he can’t really shine, or, failing that, he can’t see that he’s a character even in his own play. And while there’s never a moment where King writes Danny realizing that he’s a character in a novel, this page 429 moment works as if he does.
That’s sort of a pet theory. But it’s the best I could come up with to explain King’s very deliberate pattern, and its effect on Danny. If I am correct about it, it might explain some of the references that Kubrick seemed to be making to the real lives of his actors, as if attempting to do a similar thing – showing how Jack Torrance is seemingly oblivious that he’s being played by Jack Nicholson.
There remains this issue of the ten-eight-eleven, and the Nov. 8th business. That date would be rendered as 11/8 on any given year, so maybe 11/8/10 is a specific date King wanted Danny to “remember”. A quick look across the various centuries (1910, 1810, 1710, etc.) revealed nothing of substance. And the film makes references to things dating back to the 13th century (nothing from 1910 ID’d as of yet). Barring a Jack-Torrance-style research project into all the November 8ths of the last millennium, which I’m not willing to do, we may never know.
But the novel mentions a ’10.
That was the year the hotel first opened to the public (pg. 24), and we learn that from the son of the man who built the hotel, Watson, who shows Jack the boiler and who warns excessively of its capacity to blow (pg. 16–20). In fact, he tells Jack that the boiler is rated to “250” (pounds of pressure per square inch), but that he wouldn’t want to stand next to it past “180”. Page 180 is when Jack decides (again, for no good reason) to detonate his relationship with Ullman, which he instantly regrets afterward, and is the event that, more than anything else, keeps the Torrances from leaving the hotel (both Jack and Danny feel that they’d rather risk the nightmares and the pain of this place than try to survive anywhere else). And page 250 marks the end of Danny emerging mentally from his 217 experience and Jack deciding to visit the room himself, which is the event that triggers Jack cheating on Wendy. In the film he literally cheats on her with the ghost, and in the book he cheats on her in vaguer terms, simply lying about what he saw in 217, selling out their wounded son as insane. It can’t be like the hedge animals or even the nature of his interest in the scrapbook. Danny’s trauma makes it necessary for Jack to either get Danny out…or sell him out. And he chooses the latter.
So maybe the hotel opened on Nov. 8 and maybe it didn’t. We’ll never know. But it was the day that marks the page (197) upon which Tony’s last Goya warnings occur. And 24 pages after that (24 being the page with Watson’s “1910” on it) is page 221, the page that Wendy falls asleep on while pondering the work of Bach and Bartók, two composers thought to have composed their music according to the Fibonacci sequence, and, as far as I know, the final direct golden spiral reference in the book.
The golden ratio is what helps Danny realize the reality of the fantasy he’s in.
And also, aside from the constant refrains of “Doc” and the occasional reference to a “witch” (and, of course, a whole lot of references to “snow” and “white”), there’s no overt reference to Snow White in the book. So how perfect is it that Danny’s mystical saviour page is 429? As a time code, 429 is 7:09, and 709 is the Aarne-Thompson code for Snow White.
ESCAPING THROUGH THE NYET
It hit me when editing the mirrorform that Jack’s blood-spattered face feels positively on purpose. The gout of blood on the wall behind his right eye almost seems to give him lashes like Alex DeLarge has in A Clockwork Orange – DeLarge who is known as Alex Burgess in the film (the book was written by Anthony Burgess).
On page 258, Jack recalls that his favourite story he ever sold was called The Monkey is Here, Paul DeLong (DeLong sounding like DeLarge – though the De Long Islands are where the doomsday device from Dr. Strangelove is built (specifically Zhokhov Island)). He relives the story in his mind (a child molester (like Humbert Humbert?), named Paul “Monkey” DeLong, is released from prison by an overlord named Grimmer) and realizes that he sympathizes in different ways with all the different characters, knowing that that sympathy came from his own lived experiences throughout life. On the next page, he realizes that he’s come to loathe the “goody two-shoes” protagonist of his quasi-autobiographical play, Gary Benson, and is coming to realize that the villain of the play, Mr. Denker, is much more the character he admires, a Mr. Chips kind of guy. I think the point here is that Jack was more able to write real characters when he was more able to feel like a real person himself, when his writing reflected real life. Benson and Denker are starting to seem too black-and-white, but perhaps only because he can’t face the growing darkness within himself, and not because these characters aren’t true to life in their mechanics. And, fun fact, there’s a painting just outside room 231 (the room I believe the Overlook swallows Jack’s soul into) called The Battle of Long Point, and at the other side of that hallway is one called A Man of Van Diemen’s Land, which could be referencing a minor genocidal moment of history involving a guy named Nicholson and a guy named Jack of Cape Grim.
Paul “Monkey” DeLong sounds like “Paul monkeyed along” in English, and I can’t help wondering (given all the other Beatles references) if that’s meant to say “Paul McCartney monkeyed along.” What exactly that implies I’m not sure, but Paul is correlated to Jack in the Abbey Road Tour, the Let It Be analysis, and the Sgt. Pepper analysis. So, that might finally explain how Kubrick knew that Jack Torrance was meant to reflect Paul McCartney.
As for “Grimmer”, that’s a name that sounds an awful lot like Grimm, as in Grimm Fairy Tales. And 258 (the page that describes all this, remember) is not a main story code for anything, but the closest one to it is 253: The Little Fish Escapes Through the Net. Wendy actually reflects on page 62 that the sun (shining through a distant waterfall on the way to the Overlook) resembles a “golden fish snared in a blue net” right before her first thoughts turn toward the Donner Party. A guy named Alexander Pushkin wrote a similar tale, The Tale of the Fisherman and his Wife, and on page 163 Jack learns that one of the mafia goons who worked for the Overlook was named Carl Prashkin. The opposite page from 163 is 285, whereon Danny compares himself to Patrick McGoohan’s character on Secret Agent in his fights against the KGB nogoodnik, Slobbo, who uses his “Russian antigravity machine”. I can’t find any evidence that there was ever a such a character or machine on the show, but there is an anti-gravity machine in Licenced to Kill, a James Bond parody. Secret Agent was noted for its similarity to the Bond franchise, and Wendy sits next to a copy of the Ted Mark novel Dr. Nyet, which parodies Bond (in fact, the moment opposite the appearance of the novel is Jack passing Danny’s hiding spot on his way to kill Dick).
The Little Fish Escapes Through the NYET!
But yes, the reason Danny is comparing himself to McGoohan is because he’s in a concrete playground ring that’s partially buried in snow, where he meets the voice of a child who seems to be buried there too, and wants Danny to play with him forever and forever and forever (pg. 288). In fact, the page opposite Wendy’s “fish” vision is 386, where Dick has driven almost off a cliff before a snow bank caught him. He’s on his way up to the Overlook, same as it was for Wendy. Hallorann is saved by a man named Howard Cottrell, who shares a name with a man from the same era as that Nicholson from Van Diemen’s Land, and who had basically the exact opposite life story as the one from that etching.
I guess what I’m wondering is: is King suggesting that Jack used to understand the mechanics of story, the mechanics of Aarne-Thompson/Grimm storytelling, and how to combine that with his own experiences to make good writing, and now he just wants to use writing to exorcise his demons, and to glorify his lesser nature? That’s what Grady is admonishing him to aspire to in the accompanying scene here.
Sometimes you just gotta “correct” some history, Jack!
JACK’S (BROKEN) LADDER
In the film, there’s a repeating song called Dream of Jacob (about Jacob’s ladder from the bible), which, in my view, draws our attention to the film’s repeated use of numbers that mean different things in different circumstances. Torah scholars believe that the rungs on Jacob’s ladder reflect years, so when an angel goes up and down 70 rungs of a ladder, that represents the 70-year exile of the Jews. Well, Shelley Duvall was 30 years old when racing to Jack Nicholson’s side, passing the 23×7-stair Grand Stair in the lounge, as Dream of Jacob played overhead. But there’s a lot of other ways the film plays with numbers.
For instance, the mirrorform does some cool things, like when Hallorann’s showing off the kitchen, there’s a 9-rung ladder, which becomes something like a spine for the store-room-trapped Jack on the other side of the film, as he speaks to Grady. Grady who murdered his family 9 years ago. So a 9-rung ladder being Jack’s spine would seem to imply that he’s becoming an agent of the hotel, a replacement Grady.
And if you’ve seen my intro documentary, you know that certain scenes and songs play for significant lengths of time, like how Jack’s experience inside 237 is 273 seconds long.
Well, the book does this in a million ways that you’ll only appreciate if you sift through the page-by-page analysis (I could make a list, but that sounds thankless and exhausting). So I’ll just zoom in on probably the best example, since it has to do with ladders.
The first page of Jack being isolated and alone at the hotel is page 105. He’s up on the roof of the hotel, fixing the shingles (one of Ullman’s only stated assignments for Jack), revealing a wasp’s nest that gets Jack a mean sting. He pictures the 70 foot drop between the edge of the roof and the ground, should the wasp have caused him to run and fall. He pictures that number again on 108, 109 and 110. And on 107 he imagines himself racing down the ladder. In every instance he’s contemplating something about the nature of the blinding pain of a wasp sting, and how no one could be blamed for reacting to such a terrible sensation, even if it meant plummeting 70 feet. At the same time, he’s reflecting on the nature of his play, and how, despite the fact that the real history of his altercation with George Hatfield makes him look like the villain of his play, Denker, he is in reality more like the hero of his play, Benson…who he also sees as being like Hatfield. So, both he and Hatfield are like the hero of a story about a cruelly abusive schoolteacher. Who does that make Denker? Well, probably the wasp-stings of the world. The cruel misfortunes laid on us by the true puppet master of all puppet masters: life.
So let’s imagine that the pages are the feet. And that by falling “70” feet, Jack would be falling back 70 pages. On pages 38–40 Jack is reliving an experience he had with his friend Al Shockley, who owns the majority of shares in the Overlook. They were driving drunk along the highway US 31 into “Barre”, when they strike a riderless bicycle without noticing it was in the middle of the road. This fills them with enormous guilt, despite the fact that no child’s body can be seen.
And if we interpret this repeating highway number, 31, as a signal to go back 31 more pages, this brings us to pages 7–9, which mark the start and end of Ullman’s account of the Delbert Grady murder suicide (Ullman who is played by Barry Nelson – Barry is pronounced the same as Barre).
So we’ve got Jack denying that he would ever become like Grady (7-9), and Jack denying that he’s anything like the character who most resembles him in his own play (106-115), linked by a highway (31) and a ladder (70). And right in the middle is Jack participating in an event that, while not completely damning, makes him look about as irresponsible and guilty as an otherwise reasonable person can look.
Note too that the numbers in 70 and 31 can make 137. In the film, the two major numbers are 237 and 157, 157 being 2:37-worth of seconds. The evil room in the book is 217, and, as we’ve seen, Danny enters the room on page 217. Well, 137 would be 2:17, and page 137 is the start of Danny’s interview with Dr. Edmonds, the doctor who will employ armchair skepticism to dismiss Danny’s ability to read his mother’s thoughts in the other room, gloss over Jack’s admission of physical violence against his son, but also ask Danny to call upon Tony, causing him to descend into the dream world that Danny enters on 143, creating a component of his Fibonacci lessons. Similarly, in the film, Danny receives his escape key right before the doctor appears (it’s onscreen at 10:37, in fact, and 13:07 is the start of the doctor asking “Do you remember what you were doing just before you started brushing your teeth?”, the question that introduces Tony), and his lesson key is inside room 237. In both instances, Dream of Jacob is playing. The only other time the song plays is at the beginning of the shot of Danny playing with his toys outside room 237 (57:10), continuing through his entry, Wendy in the boiler room, Jack’s murder nightmare, and Danny emerging from 237.
But yes, it would seem that 137 speaks to the “science” side of things, while 217 speaks to the “art” side of things (Danny is bombarded by imagery from children’s stories while he moves through the area). So perhaps these two “ladders” of page counts, broken in the middle as they are, speak to Jack’s inability to use science or art, or “reality” and “fantasy” to escape his own predicament. And isn’t that what the Jacob’s Ladder story is all about? Learning that dreams have meaning that can aid us in dealing with reality? If Jack was like Jacob, he might’ve learned that “The lord is in this place and I knew it not” (Genesis 28:16). Instead, he simply learns that the Lloyd was in this place (pg. 237-241, 341-344), and he knew it not.
Also, let me point out that there’s a mirrorform bit that goes with this: page 343 is the mirror page for 105, the first of Jack’s 70-foot drop pages. And on that page, he’s at the ghost ball, about to drink his first “real” ghost drink from Lloyd, when he gets a flash of the incident on the highway, of him and Al smashing the riderless bike. Then, opposite the sequence of Jack and Al smashing the riderless bike (pg. 408-410) is the bulk of Jack’s attack on Wendy in Suite 3, which ends with Hallorann’s interrupting arrival. And we know from an earlier chapter showing Hallorann’s struggle to reach the hotel (pg. 404-405), that he encounters a hedge lion in the middle of the path ahead of him. It lunges at him while he rides, and he’s brought off the snowmobile into mortal combat. On page 412 King even informs us that this is happening in tandem with Wendy’s struggles to elude Jack in Suite 3, so, yes, Dick is having something of the opposite experience that Jack had on 38-40, not striking a riderless bike, but being struck off his snow-bike (his controls are described as “handlebars” – which is the very part of the bike that “starred the windshield” of Al’s Jaguar) by a soulless ghost monster, and it’s happening “off-screen”, so to speak, in the mirrorform. Perhaps to highlight how different, how inverted Dick’s experience and Jack’s really are. Then, mirroring over the Grady discussion on pages 7-9 is Dick entering the Overlook equipment shed (pages 439-441) to look for blankets to keep Wendy and Danny safe, but he gets distracted by the roque mallets on the wall, and becomes momentarily possessed by the urge to slay the two innocents, as Overlook thoughts bombard his mind. Fun fact: on page 6, Jack even contemplates the equipment shed, as he ponders what other wonders the Overlook might have in hiding. And you know, since the ghost drinks are what leads to Grady slandering Hallorann, and implying Jack should kill him along with Wendy and Danny, I’d say this Jack’s Broken Ladder phenomenon is a bit like a Goofus and Gallant saga for Jack and Dick. One with biblical implications.
A CHAIN OF CHANEYS
When I was working on my page looking at the ghost who calls “Great party, isn’t it?!” at Wendy near the end of the film, it hit me that I should try to find where this happens in the book for additional insight. What follows here is the second half of what you’ll find by clicking that last link.
Basically, my original theory was (and basically still is) that GREAT PARTY ghost is the actual Charles Grady. He appears right as Ullman is saying, “My predecessor in this job (close up of “Great party, isn’t it?”), hired a man by the name of Charles Grady (wide shot as seen below) as the winter caretaker…”
So I’ve considered a bunch of things, like how there’s three paintings that should be behind this ghost that disappear once he’s on screen (which I believe could represent the murdered wife and daughters).
Or the fact that the painting next to him is called Makah Returning in Their War Canoes by Paul Kane. A “cane” is what Jack’s father Mark uses to beat in Jack’s mom’s skull and torso at the very centre of the novel (pg. 224), and there’s 24 rowers in the canoes seen in the painting.
There’s also the fact that this guy is standing where the bloodfall elevator will be when this hall transforms into the bloodfall hall. Jack and his father play something called the “elevator game” (pg. 223).
But there’s also less direct phenomenon that occur around the spot where GREAT PARTY ghost appears. So, when Jack is on his way to the ghost ball, standing in the spot where Wendy will encounter GREAT PARTY, he passes a painting by Lawren Harris called Maligne Lake, Jasper Park. This painting depicts, among other things, two mountains of note: Samson Peak and Mt. Charlton in Alberta, Canada (Alberta being the feminine form of Delbert (Grady)). Charlton sounds like Charles (Grady), and Samson was Judeo-Christian mythology’s answer to Hercules. So, fans of my Pillars of Hercules theory will understand how that applies to Grady.
It’s also probably not lost on you that this painting, which never appears in full (this is the best view of it), hugely resembles the first shot in the film. So just like Wendy being halfway through Catcher in the Rye (in fact, she’s at the 5/8ths mark) 4 minutes past the beginning of the film, we’re now 10 minutes past the middle, and we’ve got this echo of the first shot in the film. Jack is starting over, becoming Samson (a man betrayed by his lover), becoming Hercules (a man who murdered his wife and children), becoming…Grady.
Now, we only see a few people ever physically pass this spot clearly (like Ullman and Watson, before meeting Jack for the tour), and only one that we see pass the spot very clearly (3:25-3:29). And that’s this guy (with Red Maple by AY Jackson behind his head).
Who is that guy? I don’t rightly know. But he comes from around the corner, from the direction of GREAT PARTY/Grady, and we do see him one more time (11:02-11:12 and 11:14-11:19). When Jack is calling Wendy about getting the job, standing over the model labyrinth, as Ullman and Watson stand in their Carson City formation.
I do have one idea about that guy’s identity, actually. We know that the staff wing is supposed to be on top of the lobby, by the way Danny pops out the window right above the lobby. And, as discussed in my Tower of Fable section, we know that when Danny stops to encounter the Grady twins in the staff wing hallways he’s right above where the model labyrinth usually is (right next to Stormy Weather). Well, at this point in the film, the model labyrinth is pushed slightly east of where it usually is, which would put it and the maybe-Grady guy directly beneath the thing Danny turns away from to meet the Gradys, which is a dumbwaiter.
Sorry, I just checked the site exhaustively for a shot of the dumbwaiter to no avail, but if you can take my word, it’s there.
Anyway, on page 97 of the novel, Danny gets really excited by the fact that their apartment has a dumbwaiter in it, comparing it to Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters. The movie he’s trying to reference is actually called Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (the “Monsters” version was a TV documentary about the film), which featured Lon Chaney Jr. reprising his role as Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man. Chaney also played the villain in the film version of a novel Jack’s reading on page 117, Welcome to Hard Times. And Jack actually tells Al Shockley that he looks like Lon Chaney’s character in Phantom of the Opera when they both decide to get sober, on page 42 (for the record this Lon Chaney was Lon Chaney Jr.’s father). I only did a page-by-page analysis of the first half of the novel, so it’s possible there’s other references to the Chaneys later on, but what’s cool about these three allusions is that that the opposite page to 117 is 331, where Jack has just saved the hotel from exploding and thinks to himself that, since he’s just “served the Overlook” now “the Overlook would serve him”. The opposite page from 97 is 351 where Jack is meeting Grady at the ghost ball, and Grady’s telling him he’s a “true scholar” who could go “to the very top” of the Overlook’s “organizational structure”, and Jack agreeing to “deal” with Danny. So, even though Grady has appeared as a servant who, it seems, lives only to serve Jack, in five short pages he’s getting Jack to agree to corporal punishment. The opposite page from 42 is 406, and that’s the page…where a man in a “green ghoulmask” pops out of a random door somewhere near their apartment and screams, “Great party, isn’t it?” in Wendy’s face, as she scrambles to seek refuge from Jack’s flailing mallet.
Oh, okay, it seems I’ve stumbled on more connections. Lon Chaney the elder played Blind Pew in the 1920 film version of Treasure Island. On page 372, while Wendy and Danny are dragging Jack to the pantry, Wendy reflects: “The surroundings reminded her of the seafaring captains cry in Treasure Island after old blind Pew had passed him the Black Spot. We’ll do him yet!” On this same page Jack mumbles a line in his sleep that we recognize as something his father said to him once, which he last recalled just before saving the hotel from exploding (page 329). This is the last clear reference Jack makes to his father in the novel, and the opposite page, 76, features the first reference to his father that Jack makes to himself when Hallorann asks him if Watson isn’t the “foulest talking man” Jack ever “ran on”, and Jack reflects that his own father holds that title. So, Wendy gets a random thought that connects to the father (Lon Chaney) 331 pages after Jack compared Al to the father. And in the middle are the (much more obscure) references to the son.
And then I noticed that Chaney Jr. worked with André de Toth, the director of Carson City, on a film called The Indian Fighters. That film starred Kirk Douglas (the star of Kubrick’s Spartacus), and featured Chaney as a villain named Chivington. De Toth’s film appears to be relatively sympathetic to the indigenous cause, but is part of that well-trod sub-genre of westerns where our hero the white man falls for an indigenous girl, and murders other indigenous people on her behalf. See, it’s okay, cuz he’s so broad minded…he could even fall in love with an indigenous person! But whatever, it was 1955. And it had the nerve to name the villain after one of the most villainous Americans of all time, John Chivington, who perpetrated the Sand Creek massacre. This is probably the strongest connection I’ve yet made between The Shining and that genocidal moment in American history. What’s kind of amazing is that de Toth’s film inside The Shining is right beneath Alex Colville’s Woman and Terrier, which he called his “Madonna and Child”, so just as there’s all this Chaney father-son subtext, Kubrick cozies it up to a mother-son subtext. What’s also amazing is that there’s a painting inside room 237 by Nadia Benois, whose family owned what was called the “Benois da Vinci”, a “Madonna and Child” painting by Leonardo da Vinci. And she was the mother of the only actor Kubrick ever directed to Oscar gold, Peter Ustinov (for his work in Spartacus). So, both of our indirect Spartacus references are occurring in direct connection to a parent-child image.
For the record, the other feature film in The Shining is Summer of ’42 and its director, Robert Mulligan, directed Robert Redford in Inside Daisy Clover, and on page 111 Jack compares the student he beat up, George Hatfield, to Redford, right before comparing himself to Hatfield. So Jack sees himself in Redford, and Danny and Wendy sit down to view a film by a director who worked with Redford. Also, on page 273 Jack thinks he’s going to murder George Hatfield in a dream (with his father’s cane) before he transforms into Danny at the last second, before Jack can stop himself.
Okay, so that was quite a walk to get to my point, which you’ve probably forgotten by now. My point is, there’s obviously no place for the dumbwaiter outside Suite 3 to end up, given what we know about the construction of these floors, so our guy hovering over the maze would most likely bear a connection to this pattern series. But Lon Chaney Jr. was dead before even before the novel was written, so what I’m wondering is…could this be André de Toth?
There aren’t a lot of pictures of him online. And the guy in the movie is never both close to the screen and in focus. But it would make a kind of cool sense, given his connection to all this. Perhaps his leaning over the labyrinth in between two men mimicking the two men in his own movie would suggest a film director’s “parental” dominance over a film.
But de Toth’s connection is to Chaney Jr., whereas “Great party” ghost in the novel is directly across from page 42, where Jack compares Al Shockley to Chaney the elder.
So perhaps the answer to the identity of GREAT PARTY ghost lies in the fact that the actor who plays him is Norman Gay. The Torrances own the autobiography of Tenzing Norgay (Nor(man)gay), the first man to climb Mt. Everest, cowritten by James Ramsey Ullman. So, if the connection between Nor-Gay and Norgay is intentional, then there’s a thing there about men who climb mountains, and the different outcomes that can occur. Norgay held it together. Nor-Gay blew his brains out. But that connection to Ullman makes it seem like what we really have going on here is a connection to every father figure in Jack’s life, all of whom have some thumb in the Overlook pie, except for his own father, Mark.
Actually, Mark Torrance’s full name is Mark Anthony Torrance, and Mark Anthony was a supporter of Julius Caesar. And André de Toth directed Gold for the Caesars.
So I don’t know. Maybe it’s as good as “whatever father figure works for you”. Maybe when we can ID that mystery sketch to his side, and the artists behind the landscape and dog portraits behind him we’ll get a better idea.
I have one more thing to tack on to this Frankensteinian father-son argument, which starts with the fact that Jack’s father’s name is Mark, right? And Jack is from Berlin (pg. 75). Well, that’s Berlin, New Hampshire, but we do learn (pg. 157) that Horace Derwent’s fortune came in part through a patent on a bomber carriage that rained hellfire on the more famous Berlin, where Hitler blew his brains out. So that got me wondering if Mark, whose hellishly traumatizing parenting style warped little Jackie’s mind inexorably, was meant to sound like the German word for money, the Deutsche mark. In fact, Germans simply call them marks.
Well, getting away from the more existential crisis Jack faces (that he’s a character in a book), his more substantial problem is money. His temper loses him his job, and he’s had to take the only thing available to him. Even after he and Wendy accept their fate, they both find themselves wondering what’s gonna come after the Overlook experiment. On page 36 we learn that Jack’s got $600 to his name (which would be about $2600 today, for the record). On page 188 Jack has a humiliating reflection that if he doesn’t play his cards right with Al, he and Wendy and Danny could end up like a “family of dustbowl Oakies” heading for California in their last-legs beetle – a pretty clear reference to The Grapes of Wrath. His agent suggests he look for inspiration for his play in the writings of the Irish Socialist playwright Sean O’Casey (pg. 106) but Jack seems to have no intention of investing in her advice. When he boasts of his two twenties and two tens to Lloyd on page 239, he pulls out a bottle of painkillers instead, and can’t even mask his angry humiliation from his own fantasy barkeep. When he finally can pay for his ghost drinks on page 341, Lloyd tells him his money’s no good here (pg. 342). In fact, page 342 is the mirrorform page to page 106. Jack doesn’t want a hand out. He wants to pay for what he takes from the world, no matter how rigged the system, no matter how gluttonous the overlords. Every time he thinks about money, he quickly moves into either his guilt about being an alcoholic, or just wanting another drink. If he could move past what Mark has done to him, could he escape his ultimate vice?
And the question remains, does he want to pay for what he takes from this world, because that’s what’s right? Or has money (Mark) traumatized him into the role of The Queen’s Dog (a fable referenced in the film), where he has no choice but to serve it all the days of his life? If that’s the case, then the Overlook is offering him a kind of fantasy life alternative, where nothing will ever cost him anything ever again. It’s a life he craves, in a way, how seduced he is by the hotel’s opulence, and Grady’s insinuations about the management sweeping him straight to the top, if he plays his cards right, and gives them everything they ask for.
This brings me to the discovery I made that inspired this train of thought. It has to do with the Twice-Fold, which is the mirrorform folded in half again, bringing the middle of the action to the beginning, so you get four layers of action.
Now, Lloyd says, “Your money’s no good here” at 13:15-13:17, which, if you’ve seen my intro documentary, you’ll recall are the worst years of The Great Famine, when people across Europe started eating each other to survive. It’s believed that the Hansel and Gretel fable comes out of that period, perhaps to normalize or soften the commonplace cannibalism, and perhaps as a story about the glamour of a house made entirely of food, but to warn children off of such places. The other three layers here feature the doctor asking Danny if he remembers what he was doing before he started brushing his teeth (Danny has a Candyland game beside his head in this moment), Danny being tempted into room 237, and Dick is seconds away from getting the chop. (Ignore the red boxes, they’re from a different point from the Twice-Fold analysis. Also, this isn’t quite the right moment, but it looks virtually the same. The big difference is that Danny’s Apollo 11 shirt is visible in the corrent moment.)
Dick is chopped directly beneath a painting of Chief Bear Paw, who was from the same clan, Bearspaw, as Chief Walking Buffalo, whose portrait is directly below where Wendy clubbed Jack atop the stair. And Walking Buffalo’s proper name is Tatânga Mânî, which is pronounced the same as “money” in English. So if Mânî was giving power to Wendy’s defeat of Jack, that “money” is no good anymore for old Dick Hallorann. In fact, if Jack becomes the minotaur for the hotel, as I believe he does, it’s worth highlighting that Mânî means buffalo. Jack’s buffalo is no good here, so he’d better become a better one. A cannibal one.
Also, according to my Avenue of the Dead theory, the Overlook is modelled after a particular collection of pyramids in Mesoamerica, which puts the Grand Stair (and the spot Dick is killed) in the same spot as the Pyramid of the Moon. And Mânî looks and sounds an awful lot like the Norse moon god, Máni. Your moon is no good here.
So it might not be a simple overlay that it looks like Lloyd’s pushing Danny toward 237 as he’s rejecting Jack’s money. It could be that the Overlook is overpowering both the Buffalo energy that could’ve protected Dick, and the moon energy that could’ve protected Danny.
But perhaps the ultimate point here is that Jack needed to face his true maker: on the literal level, Mark Anthony Torrance, and on the figurative level, Stephen King.
EVOLUTION OF A MASQUERADE
There’s a curious phenomenon in the book of minor characters having very similar names. There’s a “Mrs. Brant” who makes a fuss about the Overlook not taking her American Express on closing day, before Danny shines a thought from her mind, lusting after the Overlook’s “car-man” (pg. 66–70), a guy Hallorann later identifies to Danny as “Mike” (pg. 82). Then, on page 138, Danny refers to a child from his left-behind Jack & Jill Nursery School, “Brent”, to explain to Dr. Edmonds how he knows what epilepsy is. Then, on page 178, trying to get ahold of Ullman at his Florida resort, and the receptionist wonders if he’d rather speak with “Mr. Trent”. And on page 222-225, we learn that one of Jack’s older brothers (who dies in Vietnam), was named Brett. And his other brother’s name…was Mike (pg. 222-226). Which is also one of the names Dr. Edmonds throws out as a replacement for “Tony” (pg. 147), when he’s talking to Jack and Wendy. He’s asking if Danny realizes that the name “Tony” was most likely inspired by Dan’s own middle name (Daniel Anthony Torrance), whereas a name like Hal or Mike or Dutch would’ve held less significance. Jack’s own full name is John Daniel Edward Torrance. So if “Edmonds” was meant to resemble “Edward”, then Jack’s own middle name is like a mash-up of these two concepts. The Edward is warped into Edmonds, perhaps because Jack will accept what this learned, science man lays out for him, but the Daniel is direct, and mirrors Danny’s own assignment of “Tony” to his higher-self (as if Jack was trying to create a little “Tony” for himself). But Danny doesn’t try to warn Jack about the hotel’s ills directly, perhaps resulting from the “break” between father and son (literal (Danny’s arm), and figurative (Tony replaces Jack as a guiding father figure)). Also, later, when Jack’s investigating the mafiosos who stayed at the hotel (pg. 162), one of them, Charles “Baby Charlie” Battaglia, is known to have slain a Jack “Dutchy” Morgan. And then there’s Peter “Poppa” Zeiss (“Baby” “Poppa”), who has a story to tell, but of greater concern to me is how the Torrances use Jack’s Zeiss brand binoculars to inspect a gang of five motionless caribou outside the hotel (pg. 213) not long after Jack learns all about the five murderous gangland-types who might be employees of the Overlook’s ownership, and really not long after he was attacked by a hedge dog, hedge buffalo, and three hedge lions (pg. 206–209).
Then, consider that Mike and Brett and Jack’s father is “Mark”. Or that the other teachers at Jack’s old school are Zack and Vic. Or how a man on the board there is Harry Effinger, while one of the hotel’s ghostly ex-(?)-owners is Horace “Harry” Derwent, while another ex-owner was Robert Leffing. Dr. Bill Edmonds and Bill Watson have the same first name. Or consider that Danny is clutching his “Winnie” doll while remembering his friend Robin, whose dad “LOST HIS MARBLES” (and isn’t Winnie-the-Pooh a make-believe character in the mind of Christopher Robin?). This goes on and on, and works in all kinds of mysterious ways.
But I think the point (besides helping us to better understand the nature of the various characters and their purposes, via cross-reference), is to show how the life and universe of Jack Torrance is a novel universe. It almost gets silly how much everyone possesses a name that means something, connects to reality, or echoes another character’s name. But isn’t that what we expect from drama? That a writer should take the care to consider what each character’s life is all about, and to construct connections that help the reader to understand what the writer is trying to say about life? And what it the nature of Jack Torrance’s life? He exists in a reality that mostly resembles our own evolving universe, but it’s not really an evolving universe, it’s inert and hermetically sealed by publication. And if he could but realize these things for himself, he would see the design, the superstructure. It’s up to those of us who know the difference between fantasy and reality, between masquerade and society, to see it for him.
THE STORY CODE PHENOMENON
What follows here is an analysis that grew spontaneously out of analyzing a moment from my mirrorform section. I’m not going to edit it for form. Just understand that the next paragraph begins where everything began over there, as I was going beat-by-beat through all what you can learn by studying the film forwards and backwards. This might sound like some hot nonsense if you aren’t familiar with certain of the concepts. Also, I was trying to keep the stuff on this page relatively simple, and this one gets real complicated real fast. You’ve been warned.
I didn’t want to talk about too many of the cool things you’ll find over on the disappearances analysis page, but I love this one too much. As Jack first starts to act weird, asking Wendy what she “[wants him] to do about” the coming storm, there’s a table and chair behind him that go missing for just this shot (see below), and on the opposite side of the film, the thing that fills the space for that moment is the snowcat at Durkin’s that Dick will ride to the rescue, and that Danny and Wendy will ride to safety. So Jack’s first seeming weirdness accompanies a visual weirdness, and the mirrorform seems to scream at Wendy “Get out, girl!”
And by the way, this vanishing table and chair happens at exactly 44:07, which is one of only three times that the film’s time code can perfectly resemble the number of pages in the book: 447. This number first became significant to me when I realized how, at 47:40 Wendy passes between two painting for exactly one second. One is by Tom Thomson, and one I highly suspect to be by Alois Arnegger. If you’ve read my Tower of Fable analysis, you know how two guys name Aarne and Thompson created the Aarne-Thompson Folktale Motif Index, a series of thousands of codes (AT codes) that attempt to categorize all the fables in human history. And you know that dozens of relevant folktale numbers appear in the Overlook storeroom, or, as Hallorann seems to call it, the story room.
There is, in fact, no AT code for 447. The nearest code that does exist is 449, and this appears, in isolation, on the licence plate of a 1973 Mercury Marquis Colony Park that the gang pass from 23:31 to 23:39. This is for the fable The Queen’s Dog, and likely reflects Jack’s transformation into the hotel’s Big Bad Wolf. The character Jack is compared to the most in the novel is Bluebeard, the code for which is 312, a jumble of the time code that started this shot (23:31). The mirror action for this 449 going by is Dick coming to the rescue in his snowcat, remember.
So there’s this one 447 moment (44:07) utilizing a vanishing object to shrink The Shining down into a nugget: Jack loses his mind, therefore Wendy and Danny will ride a snowcat to safety.
The other two such “447” moments, 4:47 and 40:47, feature the two breakfasts where Danny is watching Roadrunner. In the first instance, Danny is finishing reacting to Wendy saying it takes time to make new friends. He says, “Yeah, I guess so” and the sound of the cartoon is of a train whistle blowing.
In fact, I was just able to confirm, thanks to the cartoon being online, that the first part of the cartoon that Danny is watching is 12 seconds ahead of every accompanying moment. So, we enter the Boulder apartment at 4:17 (a number associated to the concept of “home” in the film), and the cartoon is at 4:29 of its runtime. In the novel, 429 is the page that Danny defeats Jack, for reasons having to do with several of the major themes I’ve explored throughout this site.
So the cartoon plays consistently with the accompanying Shining action right up until 4:54 of the film, which is 5:06 from the cartoon (37 seconds of cartoon). At that point the cartoon jumps ahead to 5:15, or 21 seconds ahead of the film’s time code. It’s consistent again until 5:03 of the film (9 seconds), at which point it jumps again, from 21 seconds ahead (5:24) to 23 seconds ahead (5:26), and plays for 2 seconds, then jumps again to 32 seconds ahead of the film (5:06-film/5:38-cartoon), and fades out at 5:44 of the cartoon and 5:12 of the movie. So that’s:
- 12 seconds ahead (for 37 seconds)
- 21 seconds ahead (for 9 seconds)
- 23 seconds (for 2 seconds)
- 32 seconds (for 6 seconds)
That’s a combined 54 seconds, which would seem to be a mash-up of 37 and 17, the two evil rooms from book and film. Split by the appearance of Tony at 4:54. As for the 17 seconds being broken into a 9-2-6, you can jumble those digits to get 269, which is 4:29 in seconds. So the 37-second chunk would start at 4:29 of the cartoon, and the 17-second chunk would be a 4:29 jumble. Two ways of spelling Danny’s escape success.
This also means that the 4:47 point of the cartoon occurs at 4:35 of The Shining, where Danny says “Yeah, I guess so” to Wendy insisting that the Overlook will be a lot of fun. A line he’ll repeat at exactly 4:47. And during the corresponding parts of the cartoon, the coyote will be chasing the roadrunner up and down a series of Seussian mountain-side train bridges, resulting in him running into a tunnel where he encounters a train that chases him back out. The mirror action for this part of the film is Jack stomping around in the fresh snow, looking for wherever Danny’s escaped to, while the boy makes the final four left turns that will get him out of the maze. At exactly 4:47 forward Danny’s eyes are fixed on the cartoon (showing the coyote get chased by the train), while a spooky Jack is looming in his cranium, defeated, and crazy. And recall that the next film seen playing on this TV is Carson City, which is all about building a railroad through the mountains – the scene from that film in this film being of one such mountain-tunnel-blasting sequence.
At 4:47 into the cartoon (4:35 of the film), Wendy is holding open the middle of Catcher in the Rye, which might mean she’s reading the exact middle page, page 117. Which is the part of the novel where Holden Caulfield fantasizes about running away to go live in a cabin in the woods (to get away from all the phonies – classic Holden!). But yes, 117 also happens to be our Tower of Babel number, another major subtextual story within the film.
But, putting aside the complexity, the 4:47 moment is about how all these stories are informing our story. And it also says a fair bit about how our story works. Numbers are important, time codes are important, other narratives are important. And you start to wonder, where does the coyote stop and Jack begin? Is Wendy relating to Holden’s desire to get lost in the woods when Danny interrupts her? If Danny is a Christ figure, what does he think about the Tower of Babel? Actually, that reminds me: thanks to the incredible analysis of Valerio Sbravatti, we know that the editors on the film manipulated the Penderecki songs that play over much of the film, so that they start and stop midway through the various compositions used. That’s happening on the other side of the film here, as Danny and Jack chase around, so the Roadrunner manipulations are not unique.
The 40:47 moment features the cartoon playing in the backwards action from 99:30 to 101:17 of the proper film (107 seconds). From 99:30-100:27 (or 41:03-42:00 of the first half) it’s just the opening theme to the show (57 seconds), which doesn’t appear before the cartoon as a stand alone short film, which is the version that gives us these relevant time codes, so I don’t think we’re meant to count it. The cartoon starts at the 1:12 mark and plays to 1:21 (100:28-100:37 – technically 10 full seconds (or 40:53-41:02)), then it jumps 1:12 ahead to 2:33 and plays to 3:12 (100:38-101:17 – technically 40 full seconds (or 40:13-40:52).
So, this second breakfast is full of twinning items, as we’ve covered, but it’s also cool that the gaps in the episode would be equally twinny. Everything starts 1:12 into the official cartoon, and then jumps 1:12 ahead during the one break – also, recall that the first cartoon was for 54 seconds, and this one’s almost perfectly twice as long (107 seconds). The 40:47 moment is 2:38 (Hallorann’s death number) into the cartoon, at which point a giant boulder slams down on Coyote, after he tried to drop it in Roadrunner’s path (which is absurd). So this “story moment” is about how Danny will evade a Jack who will thwart himself by taking on a superior adversary (and Danny’s method of dispatch (the lessons and escapes) is fairly absurd). And if you haven’t read about how 238 relates to the moon, that’s the average distance between the earth and the moon, 238,000 miles, and the Apollo 11 crew took the CSM-107 to get to the moon, and that’s the number on the door behind Wendy’s head when she’s seeing the blowjob bear in the Conquest Well. Also, the cartoon is broken into sections of 57, 10, and 40, right? Well, the first time anything went into space was Sputnik, which launched…on October 4th, 1957.
Also, the news lady, Bertha Lynn, is saying in this second how “24-year-old” Susan Robertson is lost in the mountains. Is 24 a callback to the 42 on Danny’s shoulder in the first breakfast? Actually, when Dick dies, Danny is safe in his comfy bed in Boulder, is that why Kubrick picked an episode where a boulder drops on Coyote…? Isn’t it in Boulder that the escape key appears, allowing Danny to…escape? In fact, the song that plays when Dick goes down is about the part of the Jesus myth where the boulder rolls away and reveals the empty tomb.
Generally speaking, there’s a slew of numbers of major significance in the Roadrunner time codes.
- 1:17 in the cartoon is 40:57/1:40:33. Here Bertha Lynn says “predicted snowstorm” in a sentence about calling off the search for the missing Aspen woman.
- 1:19 (40:55/1:40:35) relates to Danny’s firetruck/Emergency fandom, and Lynn is saying “call off the search”.
- 2:34-2:42 relates to the Avenue of the Dead theory, since these time codes account for the majority of the rooms signified to the various characters. This overlays 1:40:39-1:40:47. At 1:40:39 Wendy is saying she’ll be back in “just about 5 minutes” (2:34), then “I’m gonna lock the door behind me” occurs atop 1:40:42-1:40:43 (2:37-2:38). In the cartoon this is all build up, waiting for the Roadrunner to come and get smushed by the boulder (Coyote pulls the rope at 2:38, Dick’s trap number).
- The one really cool thing there is how 1:40:39 syncs with 2:34. My theory is that the Grady daughters live in room 234, and 1439 (1:40:39) is the number that appears beside Jack the entire time he’s in the storeroom. Recall that that’s the second of the film (23:59) where he gives his “word” that he’ll kill his family, sealing his fate as a corpse ghost of the hotel’s.
- In addition to that, 4:47 is itself “just about 5 minutes”. But exactly 5 minutes after she says that, Danny gets a REDRUM vision interrupting his bloodfall vision. In precisely the same manner as the twins interrupted his earlier vision.
- Also, I believe the hotel wanted to absorb Danny into room 242, so it’s neat that that second of the cartoon would pair with time code 1:40:47, which is like another imperfect 447. Recall that 4:17 seems to express a concept of “home” for Danny, so the hotel wanted to absorb him into 242, his new home.
- As for the opposite of 2:34-2:42, this is for 40:43-40:51, which tracks with the majority of the Susan Robertson story.
- 2:34 (40:51) = “She disappeared while on a hunting trip…” (the real Grady daughters are perhaps symbolized by a couple of hunting dog portraits)
- 2:36 (40:49) = “…missing 10 days…” (Wendy’s story takes place over 10 days)
- 2:37 (40:48) = “…Susan Robertson has been…” (Ullman’s secretary is named “Susie”)
- 2:38 (40:47) = “…24-year-old…” (Danny wore a “42” shirt at first breakfast)
- 2:42 (40:43) = “And the search continues…”
- 3:12 (40:13) = The cut from the aerial shot of the maze to Danny and Wendy marching up the centre of the path. Since 312 is the Bluebeard code, I thought it was worth pointing this out. Novel Danny thinks of the folktale thanks to room 217, and the aerial maze shows us that it has a 23×7 design in it. Also, the action in the cartoon at this point is that Coyote is digging a hole, while a book lays open whose title is HOW TO BUILD A BURMESE TIGER TRAP. Jack will indeed trap the tiger in Danny’s life, but this moment shows us where Danny will trap Jack.
- Also, Danny trikes at room 231, Jack’s death room, from 41:32-41:39, at which point in the opening lyrics to the Roadrunner Show (21-28 seconds into the sequence) are “Roadrunner/That Coyote’s after you/Roadrunner/If he catches you, you’re through”
- I also want to point out how (from 40:38-40:42) Bertha Lynn says that someone named “Rutherford” was “serving a life sentence for his conviction in a 1968 shooting”. This plays over 2:43-2:47 of the cartoon, in which Roadrunner appears and sticks his tongue out at the boulder-smushed Coyote. I don’t believe I’ve discovered a certified connection in any of the other art objects to a “Rutherford”, but after doing a quick search, I found that there’s a US President by that name (Danny’s escape in the novel relates to presidents, and the novel also references the “Hayes office” on page 157), and a guy named Lewis Morris Rutherford who was famous for taking the first telescopic photos of the moon (Danny’s escape in the film relates to the moon). I mention him especially because there’s a bunch of “Louis” and “Maurice” references in the hotel lobby. But that connection to the moon might explain the “1968 shooting” bit. Kubrick shot 2001: A Space Odyssey in that year, so perhaps Kubrick was making a subtle self-reference there.
As for jumbles of 447: I talked about 47:40 being the point Wendy passes between the Arnegger-Thompson paintings, but what’s really cool is that the one-third mark of the film is 47:18, but that’s including the 14 seconds of opening Warner Bros. logo. So the one-third mark of the visual film is actually a sort of secret 47:04. What’s neat about this moment is that the (likely) Arnegger painting is obscured by the directory on top of the radio, and the Thompson is obscured by Wendy’s face (it appears in flashes as she wobbles), and the Thompson will appear in the mirrorform behind Jack as he paces back from killing the radio, but it’s not visible at this point. What is visible are the postcards (one of which is by Francis Kies) that speak to the start of the story, and of course the EYE SCREAM note. The one painting that is visible behind the radio (of a horse/dog on a snowy hill) I suspect to be by Rick de Grandmaison (son of Nick de Grandmaison, whose work definitely appears in the film), and that’s a French name meaning “Big House”. This is a story about a big house, let’s face it.
The official 47:04 is Jack typing away on SATURDAY morning (beneath a painting of a (likely) Br’er Rabbit) while opposite side Jack is entering Ullman’s to kill the radio, passing the “winter” and “spring” photos of Mt. Hood by Mike Roberts and Francis Kies, and The Great Earth Mother by Copper Thunderbird (Norval Morrisseau), with the Be’ena Za’a mural in there for good measure. All in all, there’s a lot going on here about the cycles of nature, as interpreted by folks indigenous to the Americas.
7:44 is the start of Ullman saying “For some people, solitude and isolation can, of itself, become a problem.” It’s also the first second of the backwards Famine Ball, with the skeleton butler standing by the model maze. This is a story about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But maybe this is to say that it’s about famine especially, and I think that’s fair. While conquest, war and death are all certainly major subtexts, what the Torrances go through more than anything is their isolation. A social famine.
70:44 is a second before the very middle of the movie, at which point we have The Door beside Hallorann on both sides of the film for the combined 3 seconds (70:44-70:46) it takes for the other one to pass away on the other side. That’s one of the most significant alternate stories within this story, since it seems to imply we should study the film mirrorformally.
There are a few other books here that appear in Boulder, including one that contains the word “Europe” in the title, and one that appears above the doctor’s head that can’t be deciphered (the print’s too small in both rooms). I imagine that if we ever get these, we’ll get a lot more insight, but my guess is that the Europe one would allude to WWII, and other ones are possibly classic works of literature referenced in King’s novel, like Treasure Island or Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Alice in Wonderland or Welcome to Hard Times or McTeague. Honestly, though, who knows? As for the photo of Azizi Johari (if that’s who she is), we don’t know the name of this piece, but we know she’s the model in the piece on the opposite side, and that’s one’s called Supernatural Dream, a very Shining kind of concept. Johari is perhaps most otherwise famous for being a Playboy Playmate of the month (June 1975) and probably most seen as the Ring Girl in the first Rocky movie. The Shining contains a few Rocky connections (like how Larry Durkin is played by Tony Burton, who played Apollo Creed’s trainer in that film), but also, this story takes place almost exclusively in the Rocky Mountains.
Incidentally, Glenn Rinker is saying here how the National Guard might be called “out to clear streets and roads” in Colorado because of the storm. So this moment is also about how the mass media make us think about people in our lives who are very far away. He’s 14 seconds away from the start of Dan’s distress shine, but this newscast set him up to mind the boy’s situation.
74:04 is right between Jack saying “Words of wisdom, Lloyd, words of wisdom” and “I never laid a hand on him goddammit!” in the middle he takes his second drink of Jack Daniels – in other words, the start of Jack’s big confession story and the end of his bullshitting. And it’s the second before 237 Jack begins to move upon the naked ghost. Behind him in that moment is a painting of a fox that connects to Noah’s Ark, and one by the mother (Nadia Benois) of the only actor Kubrick ever directed to Oscar gold, Peter Ustinov, which connects to the film’s various “mother and child” motifs, but also to Kubrick’s own past. Kubrick’s own father was named Jacob and known by “Jack” and the song playing over 237 Jack is Dream of Jacob (in fact, this moment is 2:13 into the performance of that track – a 312 jumble). Also, in the Making Of documentary (directed by Kubrick’s daughter), Kubrick’s mother pays a visit to the set, but I don’t believe his father is ever seen.
The image below is not the perfect moment for 74:04, by the way. It’s just the closest one to the right one (I have to conserve space on the site right now, so I’m having to borrow from other analyses). In the right moment, it looks like Gold Room Jack is holding the glass to 237 Jack’s lips. And 237 Jack is making the same face.
74:40 is not much different. Lloyd has just asked if Jack’s seeming despair is anything “serious”, and Jack brays, “No! Nothing serious!” while tapping his glass for a refill. Opposite side Lorraine Massey is making contact with Jack here, showing how our story is about the way that fantasy and reality do interact in the life of this universe.
This is 2:49 into Dream of Jacob, which is a 429 jumble. As for the nudity, I guess you could say that this is a story about humans as we really are, in our animal simplicity. After all, 429 correlates to the natural sciences in the novel.
So that’s a whole lot of story code jumbles, and I think the moments they speak to are all very aptly interconnecting. I do wonder slightly if we would get results from looking at almost any series of jumbles, but the fact remains that these do speak to such a vast array of the film’s hidden techniques, and even seem to daisy-chain some of the same motifs, like the recurring 429 jumbles.
And since we were talking about cartoons, let’s take a quick look at the other one, To Itch His Own. I especially want to check this out because the cartoon appears in the mirrorform from 42:44 to 43:48, which means it starts almost 2 minutes after 40:47 (2:03), and 19 seconds before 44:07.
So, the cartoon appears behind the head of Larry Durkin (Tony Burton) as he talks to Dick about Dick’s need to get up the mountain. The scene goes from 97:42-98:46 (1:05 in complete seconds), and accounts for almost two minutes worth of cartoon (112 complete seconds (1:52) – 47 seconds longer than temporally possible). The backward action goes from right before Wendy interrupts Jack’s writing…
…to Danny getting a flash of the Grady twins after touching the door knob of room 237. A cool thing about this moment is that Durkin tells Dick to drive carefully at 42:47 (in the backwards action), and Dick’s licence plate reads TG4247. Cuz Kubrick is a boss like that.
The plot of the cartoon concerns a Herculean circus flea named the Mighty Angelo, who busts out of the flea circus to go live on a dog in the country. He chooses a friendly basset hound/beagle kind of dog. This dog is tormented by a bulldog named Butcher, who is then tormented in turn by the invisible Angelo, to the point where the bulldog starts to doubt his sanity, attributing these seeming delusions to his drinking problem. In fact, he looks at his “Old Dog-Nip – 180 Proof” because of a sledge hammer smashing him in the face repeatedly from 4:13-4:47. This happens especially at 4:22-4:28, and on page 429 of the novel, the hotel has seized full control of Jack, causing him to smash his face into a bloody pulp with a roque mallet, moments before Danny defeats the hotel. You can watch the cartoon online here.
One general thing of interest to bear in mind about this sequence is that a clock on Durkin’s wall lets us know that the call is happening at 9:07am. That’s a backwards 709, which is the AT code for Snow White, and which is 4:29, expressed as time. So perhaps that’s to let us know that Danny’s success in escaping is dependent on Durkin being at work, and able to help, which he is. I wonder if that singer on the album?/magazine? behind him will help us understand this sequence better, knowing that it’s behind him the entire time.
Alright, here’s the sequence, with the adjoining time codes and descriptions (I don’t have screen grabs for every one of the shots of Durkin, otherwise I would only need to describe the cartoon).
- 1:07-1:10 (1:37:42-1:37:45) (43:45-43:48)
- Durkin greets Dick, asks about the weather in Florida.
- Cartoon: Zoom on the circus where Angelo lives.
- Mirror: Wendy walks back from interrupting Jack’s writing, says “Hi, hon!”
We kick off on 1:07, one of our moon numbers, in a scene that will go for 105, which is the other room number beside Wendy in the Conquest Well. Also, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta has been playing over the scene of Danny finding room 237, starting at 41:20, so this scene begins when that song’s been playing 2:29 complete seconds, but if we compare it to the original song file, the second of the song at the end there is 4:33, which means that it’s 273 seconds into the song at the appearance of To Itch His Own, and we’ll count back to 208/3:28.
- 1:11-1:21 (1:37:49-1:37:50) (43:40-43:41)
- Durkin asks what the hell Dick’s doing at Stapleton airport.
- Cartoon: A letter Angelo leaves his circus friend Sam is on screen. It says how he’s been working too hard and needs a rest in the country and that he’ll fix the door he’s about to break when he gets back.
- Mirror: Same as before.
What’s interesting here is that the movie shot is only a second, but the shot in the cartoon is 10 static seconds, so it could be any moment from 1:11 to 1:21, which includes 1:17. I think associating Tower of Babel would be the most interesting possibility, since that magazine was in this room in the last scene, and Wendy is about to get three very confusing experiences with Jack over the next several days. Also, that magazine contains the article about chess puzzles, which helped me discover the Tower of Fable analysis, and Tony Burton famously caused Kubrick to shut down production for a day in order to play chess against him.
- 2:16-2:21 (1:37:57-1:38:02) (43:28-43:33)
- Durkin describes the snowy conditions in Sidewinder, saying the plows are “keeping things moving” but that “the mountain roads are completely blocked”.
- Cartoon: The nice dog vibrates in mid-air from the Mighty Angelo thumping him after the nice dog scratched at his itchy presence.
- Mirror: Same, with a cut to Jack’s face, studiously typing.
This is the neat part, because Kubrick’s specifically used a clip from the cartoon that’s out of order with the rest of the clips. If this one and the next one inverted, all would be well. But what this inversion allows for is the 2:17 moment from the cartoon to occur at the 257-second mark of Music for Strings, which would be 4:17, Danny’s “home” number, and the same time code that kicked off the Roadrunner cartoon in the film proper. This is also 132 seconds since Music for Strings started playing in this sequence, that being a Bluebeard jumble (312), and a jumble for the time code when the Roadrunner cartoon stopped playing in that second of its two scenes (3:12).
In one second we have a 2:17, a 4:17, and a 3:12. Even the second where it happens in the film, 1:37:58, is like a jumble of the two time numbers that would make the two evil rooms in book and film: 1:37 (217) and 1:58 (238). That is nuts. Also, consider that the invisible flea is hurting the nice dog in that moment, a little. So that might be a nod to Tony getting Dick whacked. The backward time code, for the record, is 43:32, which is like a jumble of the room I think the Grady twins live in: 234.
- 1:58-2:03 (1:38:07-1:38:12) (43:18-43:23)
- Durkin asks what the big deal is needing to get up to the hotel today, in this awful weather.
- Cartoon: The Mighty Angelo arrives on the nice dog for the first time, and sets himself down to relax.
- Mirror: Same as before. Jack’s typing face.
The last time code of note was 2:17, and this one starts off with a 1:58 (238). Note too how 43:23 is a perfect jumble of 43:32. Durkin’s question then seems to allude to Dick’s eternal resting place being the hotel, and being nigh. That pairs well with the cartoon action: the flea has arrived in his new home.
- 2:42-2:45 (1:38:28-1:38:31) (42:59-43:02)
- Durkin asks how long it should take Dick to get there.
- Cartoon: Butcher decides to go torment the nice dog.
- Mirror: Danny triking backward to room 237.
At 2:42 in the cartoon Danny is triking past room 242, which I believe is the room the hotel wanted to absorb him into. Durkin is checking his watch and perhaps seeing that it’s 9:07am. Dick says he’ll be “about 5 hours”, which would be 2:07, which would be 127 minutes.
Also, Danny’s triking past 242 at 43:02, and isn’t that exactly a backwards 20:34? The time code for when Jack first sets foot in the Colorado Lounge? The time associated with his sense of home? Maybe that’s because 242 is Danny’s anti-home. That pairs well with Butcher coming to steal the nice dog’s pillow and kick him into a brick wall.
- 2:50-2:51 (1:38:36-1:38:37) (42:53-42:54)
- Durkin agrees to do Dick the service.
- Cartoon: The nice dog gets kicked by Butcher into a brick wall, after Butcher steals his pillow.
- Mirror: Danny standing up backwards from his trike to go to 237.
2:51 is 171 seconds, another Tower of Babel jumble. It’s worth noting that in the shots of backward Danny, room 238 is open beside him.
Also, since the cartoon started at 1:07, 2:50 would be 1:43 into this sequence, the Fibonacci number that defines the movie, and Danny’s lessons and escapes in the novel.
- 2:53-2:58 (1:38:41-1:38:46) (Mirror: 42:44-42:49)
- Durkin saying no problem and telling Dick to drive safe, with a little fade into Dick driving.
- Cartoon: The Mighty Angelo going after Butcher
- Mirror: Danny getting the twin flash.
At 42:44, Music for Strings is 1:24 from where it started in this sequence, and it was 2:07 (127 seconds) into the song when it entered the film’s soundtrack…at 41:20. The AT code for Three Little Pigs is 124. The Grady Twin vision shows up at 42:45-42:46, which would mean when Music for Strings is at its 3:33 mark, which is both 213 seconds (a Bluebeard jumble) and the AT code for Little Red Riding Hood (333), a fable that will link to Hallorann’s rescue mission (when he’s in his little red snowcat with his red toque, riding up Mt. Hood). In fact, Danny will be wearing a red riding hood when he encounters the Grady Twins for the last time. Also while riding atop Mt. Hood. On page 333 of the novel, a man in a wolf mask pops out and quotes the Three Little Pigs at Danny.
Also, when the twins show up, it’s 1:49 since the start of the first of the cartoon images (in the context of the cartoon itself: 1:07-2:56). That’s a 419 jumble, which are the F21 photos behind Danny when he first notices the twins.
The other cool thing to consider here is that there’s 23 full seconds of the cartoon being in the film, but that one clip being 9 seconds longer than the time accounted for means we’re dealing with 32 potential seconds of cartoon.
But yeah, all in all, the cartoons in this film were used to express a tonne of cool little ticks and tricks.
I guess we might as well consider the other movies in the film, since they also use these techniques to convey some secret messages.
Summer of ’42 enters The Shining at 51:20-52:42, showing 24:38-26:00 of that film. We see Hermie (Gary Grimes) has just helped Dorothy (Jennifer O’Neill) bring some groceries home, and he’ll refuse her offer to pay him a pittance for his assistance. She courteously offers him some doughnuts and coffee instead, and he accepts the coffee. They chat idly about the war, and she cautions him not to be in too big a hurry, while he assures her he knows all about what there is to know about such adult fare.
The film is broadcasting on television in the middle of the day, so it’s probably edited for its sexual content, but the fact remains that Wendy is showing this to her 5-year-old son. And you can only edit this movie so much before it becomes incomprehensible. The entire text and subtext is young people having sex, and the innocent courtship of a 15-year-old and 23-year-old married woman (it plays in this film from 51:20-52:42, which would include the time code 51:32, both ages backwards – in fact, that’s when she offers the coffee). The ending is not pornographic, but it involves a lengthy sequence of intense sexual energy. In fact, already by this point in the film, Hermie and his friends have found a book describing various sex acts, as we’ll see.
The scenes from Carson City that appear in The Shining are from 51:51-51:54 and 52:07-52:08 of that film (appearing at 10:59-11:02 and 11:12-11:13 of The Shining), so those codes would fall within this Shining scene of Summer of ’42 playing (51:20-52:42). From 51:51-51:54 of Carson City, the hero’s boss is saying “That’s not all you’ve been punching lately” and at 52:07-52:08 he’s saying “I got you out of jail for this job” (just as at 11:12-11:13 Wendy is saying “Sounds like you got the job?!”). In these time codes from The Shining Danny is turning to ask Wendy if he can go get his fire engine (51:51-51:54), and then promising he won’t make any noise (he’ll “tip-toe”) (52:07-52:08). In the corresponding moments from Summer of ’42 Dorothy is asking “You drink coffee, don’t you?” (25:09-25:12 (51:51-51:54)) and then Hermie is telling her “I take it black.” (25:25-25:26 (52:07-52:08)) What’s more, the 10:59-11:13 period of Carson City features the hero being gotten out of jail, and asking a guy with a black eye what happened, “You did,” the guy replies nervously. And 24:38-26:00 is one of the most romantic scenes in the film, entirely comprised of a sequence where he carries the young damsel across a patch of desert to their coach. At 10:59-11:13 and 51:51-52:08 of Summer of ’42 there happens to be two scenes of the young men finding a book about how to have sex (the first sequence) and then smuggling the book into the house of the one boy (tip-toeing, you might say) so that his friend can make notes on it for him (the second sequence). So, sex and violence are the key elements of the three sequences in both other films, and the 11-minute and 52-minute parts of both those other films interconnect on relatively minute details, given everything else that happens in both films (the black eye, and the sex book).
There’s also the fact that Danny interrupts Summer of ’42 at 51:51 into The Shining to ask if he can get his fire engine. Details in his Boulder bedroom suggest that his love of fire engines comes from his love of the TV show Emergency! That show was about department 51 of the LA County Fire Department. But station 51 was portrayed by real life station 127 in…Carson, California. The hospital they brought patients to? That was in the next city over: Torrance.
In the Fibonacci analysis, higher up on this page, we learned that the way Danny saves himself in the book is perhaps by realizing that he is a character in a book. So perhaps this is Kubrick’s way of rendering that same thing. Maybe Danny realizes the magic that exists in the time codes of these videos, and, realizing he’s a character in a movie, is able to see the lessons and escapes for what they are.
I’M READY FOR MY SLOW ZOOM, MR. KUBRICK
One of my little pet theories about King’s novel is that it encodes a private nod to the works of Kubrick. On pages 302-306 Danny sees a clock that plays The Blue Danube at him (a song immortalized by 2001: A Space Odyssey) until it reveals to him the secret meaning of REDRUM. That chapter also contains numerous references to “clock” and “work”. Then, on page 353, Jack sees the same clock at the ghost ball (right after Ticket to Ride has been interrupted by the call to unmask), in a scene that contains the word “clockwork” eight times (as in, A Clockwork Orange).
On page 38 we find out that it was on the way into Barre that Jack and Al struck a riderless bicycle while driving drunk up US 31. Barre sounds exactly like Barry, as in Barry Lyndon (and of course, Ullman and Watson here are played by two men whose real names are Barry (Nelson and Dennen)). On page 222 Jack thinks of called his Overlook exposé Strange Resort. Is that a soft Strangelove reference? Barry Lyndon happens to be 3:05:00 long. 2001 is 2:22:00. Clockwork is 2:16:00, a page where a flurry of Alice in Wonderland references happen. Lolita is 2:33:00, a page on which Wendy recalls the need to see Dr. Edmonds (Barry Lyndon’s real name is Redmond Barry). Vladimir Nabokov (who wrote the screenplay for Kubrick’s adaptation) called Humbert Humbert a descendent of Lewis Carroll. Lolita also features a scene where Humbert and Lolita decode the works of Edgar Allen Poe, whose work apparently inspired King’s novel. The scene in question features Humbert pointing out to Lo that Poe uses the word “mid” and the word “dim” in the same sentence, to suggest inversion and symmetry.
Need I say more?
But yes, I suppose this could be coincidence. I haven’t put much thought into it beyond what I’ve put here. But bear in mind that King writes on pages 114, 115, 116, and 153 of his book on the craft of horror, Danse Macabre, that Kubrick’s has an “almost exquisite sensitivity” when crafting the look of his scenes, and that no other directors are “smart enough (or brave enough)” to venture into the borderlands between horror and black comedy. On page 153 he almost dissects Kubrick’s entire canon to prove his point…in loving detail. That book was written in 1981, well after The Shining came out, well after the dawn of King’s supposed hate-on for Kubrick’s mangling on his own great work. Kind of goes to show how much people will take your word for something if you just say it, right? (Please fact check everything I’m saying.)
But you might be left wondering: what was the point of the ruse? I can only express my suspicion, which is that controversy is vastly more interesting and memorable than complacent satisfaction. Do you have any idea what King thinks about Brian de Palma’s Carrie? Or Rob Reiner’s Oscar-winning Misery? Do you know what he thinks about the film that has been considered the greatest film of all time for over a decade running at IMDb.com? And do you know which of the films based on his work is his personal favourite? Spoiler alert: it’s The Mist. Why The Mist? But I’ll bet axes to doorframes that you did know (or thought you knew) what he supposedly thinks about The Shining. And it’s probably because you knew that King and Kubrick are both genius storytellers, and famously friendly with their creative partners. How could two such friendly, affable geniuses not resolve their differences in two decades? The ruse was almost good enough to work forever, it seems.
When I got to the middle page of the novel (pg. 224) in the page-by-page analysis that follows, I realized that Danny is being choked by Mrs. Massey on page 218, which is 6 pages to the “left”, if you like, of the middle page, then we get eleven pages (219-229) of Jack processing the way his father’s abuse effected the family, leading into him hearing his father’s voice on the CB radio, causing him to destroy it, which brings Wendy up from her sleep. On page 230, the one opposite 218, Wendy wonders where Danny could be. Then, the page opposite him meeting Mrs. Massey (217/231) Jack has a big meltdown about the way Wendy won’t ever let him forget that he broke Danny’s arm. And on the page opposite him first stepping through the door of room 217 (216/232), Danny appears to them in his catatonic state. So Danny’s “inside 217 experience” is happening on-and-off-camera, if you like, for those middle 15 pages perfectly. That seemed too synchronous for me to ignore doing at least some kind of mirrorform study (I didn’t want to go page-by-page with it). Luckily, King seems to have structured the plot such that you can look at the chapters happening across from each other in much the same way (and to much the same effect) as Kubrick did with the film. So, we’re going to start with that middle scene and then track what’s happening on either side in whatever cluster seems to best for showing quickly how the two sides of the novel are speaking to one another.
Page 219-229: Jack confronts nature of father’s abuse, destroys CB Radio with father’s ghost voice.
Page 214-218/230-234: (1) Jack in the basement doing research. Danny entering 217 and meeting Lorraine Massey. (2) Wendy looking for Danny, catatonic Danny appearing, Wendy blaming Jack, and stealing Danny away to seclusion. Jack banished to a place “below” them.
Page 210-213/235-238: (1) Various descriptions of the way the snow has finally blocked the Torrances in. (2) Jack crossing the Colorado lounge alone, and getting to the spot where he’ll summon Lloyd.
Page 206-209/239-242: (1) The end of Jack playing in the playground, and thinking about his dad. Mainly the hedge animals attacking Jack. (2) Jack’s entire “Lloyd” experience, ending when Wendy interrupts. She wants to escape the hotel, Jack wants to prove he never touched Danny (and so, is nothing like his father).
Page 203-205/243-245: (1) Jack trimming the hedge animals and testing out the playground haplessly. (2) Danny seeming to accuse Wendy of abusing him, going to Jack for protection. Wendy denying culpability, and Jack accepting but admonishing her. They ply Danny for an explanation. Wendy frets about her own childhood.
Page 198-202/246-250: (1) Wendy and Danny driving down to the library in the hotel truck. Wendy quizzes Danny about Tony and about the hotel’s effect on Jack. Shining type stuff. (2) Danny explains about the woman in 217 and the hideous murder vision in the Presidential Suite. Begins with Wendy invoking “The day that you trimmed the hedges, Danny and I had a talk in the truck.” She suggests that they continue that conversation (246), which ended on the opposite page (202).
Page 193-197/251-255: (1) Danny lying in bed, fretting about the Al Shockley situation, and not wanting to ruin things for the family, but still trying desperately to understand what’s going on in his life. (2) The entirety of Jack’s 217 experience, almost meeting Mrs. Massey, and getting chased out of the room by something he doesn’t see. Since Danny’s voyage into 217 was its own quest for understanding, having him wrestling with his desire to stay opposite Jack’s unenlightened quest for understanding (where he refuses to believe what he’s seen), is pretty apt.
Page 189-192/256-259: (1) Three pages of Jack accepting Al Shockley’s terms without having heard them first (No calls to Ullman (a father figure), and no book about the Overlook), then talking about it with Wendy, and Wendy fretting about it. One page of her trying to talk to Danny about it. (2) One page of Jack lying to them about the Massey situation. Three pages of him working on his play, trying to figure out the relationship between Denker and Benson again.
Page 186-188/260-262: (1) The first half of the Al Shockley call, leading up to Al’s terms and conditions for staying. (2) Wendy interrupts Jack’s writing to try and think of a way to get off the mountain. Jack tries to seduce her away from such thoughts with sex. Wendy remembers the snowcat right at the end of 262.
Page 178-185/263-270: (1) The entirety of Jack’s last and disastrous talk with Ullman. (2) Wendy realizing how they can ride to safety on the snowmobile and Jack agreeing. They have sex. But the glow quickly dissolves as Jack tries to mask his frustration with Wendy’s desire to leave, and her unwillingness to believe his lies about how Danny got his bruises. He can’t sleep, and wants to get some writing done, but is too frustrated.
Page 175-177/271-273: (1) The rest of Jack’s Sidewinder experience, starting in the library, getting mad at Wendy for interrupting his important research, then going to the drugstore to buy his painkillers, and call Ullman. (2) The entirety of a dream of Jack’s, starting with him back inside 217, finding George Hatfield in the bathtub, and being chased through a dream world until he gets a mallet and kills not George, but the Danny he transforms into before Jack can stop himself.
Page 166-174/274-282: (1) A page (166) of Wendy interrupting Jack at the end of the chapter where Jack finds the scrapbook, in which he converts to a more playful, sexual, natural version of himself. Eight pages of Danny tempting fate outside room 217, and being (probably) chased by the fire hose. (2) The entirety of Jack seeing if the snowmobile will work. Hoping that it won’t, and then finding that it could. Then taking its destruction (secretively) into his own hands, on the last page (282).
There’s a neat thing here worth noting. On pages 279-280 Jack relives a childhood memory of being in a class full of children who, one by one, all claim to be able to see Jesus in a bunch of chaotic black lines. Jack can never force himself to see the pattern, and it drives his little kid brain crazy. On the opposing pages, 168-169, Danny’s being outside 217 is interrupted by a memory of earlier that day when Wendy was encouraging him to go play amidst the hedge animals, which leads into him going to 217 and contemplating Bluebeard. So, Danny is showing a preternatural ability to see patterns where others might fail to (the Bluebeard story is very similar to his own in this moment). While avoiding the hedge animals, who will at first seem to Jack to have no faces, but then seem to grow faces as they animate and stalk him. He covers his eyes, refusing to acknowledge that a supernatural event is occurring, and the hedges return to normal. And if you scroll back up, you’ll see that that event (pg. 206-209) happens directly across from him first conjuring Lloyd into existence. Putting a “face” on the Overlook of his own liking. So, perhaps the kids who could “see” Jesus in the chaos lines were like Danny “seeing” Bluebeard in his 217 situation. It’s not that the lines actually made Jesus, but that Jesus is humanity’s way of reacting to the “chaos” of existence. Jesus gives order to the chaos, and brings peace. To everyone but the Jacks of the world.
Page 152-165/283-296: (1) The entirety of Jack finding and exploring the scrapbook. (2) 9 pages (283-291) of Danny trying to snowshoe alone and encountering what might be a ghost child trapped somewhere beneath the snow near a bunch of “concrete rings”, who wants Danny to come play forever and ever. Escaping that, the hedge animals come after him, but he makes it back inside. Then four pages (292-295) of him explaining to Jack and Wendy in the lobby what just happened, and Jack trying to make him confess that he made it up. He slaps Danny. Jack and Wendy fight, but Danny begs for peace. Jack contemplates confessing to destroying the snowmobile, but can’t. Finally, one page of the start of chapter 36, The Elevator, which starts with the elevator coming to ghostly life, waking the Torrances. The opposite page, 152, contains a passage about Jack not using the elevators at Wendy’s request.
It’s possible that the various stages of Jack passing through the scrapbook line up with the opposing action more cleverly than I’m noticing, but I do have a theory that the hedge animals are possessed by the spirits of the dead mafia guys, so him finding that opposite Danny being threatened by the hedge animals is apt. The part more focused on Derwent goes with Jack hitting Danny and that jazz.
One thing I noticed is that the postcard Jack finds from 1945, of the Overlook re-opening under Derwent just weeks after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is found on page 154, opposite page 294, where Jack slaps Danny for the first time (when the boy insists the hedge animals cut him) leading to Wendy and Jack each grabbing one of Dan’s arms, and pulling at him until he cries out in agony at being split in half. I thought that was a good macro-micro comparison for the notion of war and the divisions that war leads to.
Page 137-151/297-311: (1) The entirety of the visit to Dr. Edmonds. The switch between Danny’s portion and the Jack and Wendy portion is on page 144. (2) The rest of the chapter where the family goes to investigate the elevator (four pages), and then the entire chapter of Danny inspecting the glass clock that reveals the meaning of REDRUM (six pages), and then five pages of Hallorann’s pre-emergency life in Flordia. In fact, it’s right at the end that he starts smelling the intense orange smell that precipitates an incoming shine.
The passage where Edmonds gets Danny to summon Tony is 141-143, so the mirror pages, 305-307, involve Danny finally seeing what REDRUM means in the glass clock, amidst a cacophony of other cultural references. He’s also begging Tony to come to his aid here, and being told by Tony that he can’t come, that the hotel is blocking him.
Page 129-136/312-319: (1) Jack reflects on wanting a drink after putting Danny to bed. He and Wendy discuss the need to get Danny to a doctor, and the need for Jack to keep this job. Danny has a horrid nightmare about being chased by future evil Jack, only to awaken into the wasp storm. Jack and Wendy kill the wasps and rescue Danny. Jack traps and freezes the wasps. (2) Hallorann gets the call from Danny while driving. As he makes arrangements with his boss to go save Danny (lying about his reasons), he continues to get bolted with Danny’s shines. In the last couple pages he remembers his own experience with Lorraine Massey. Part of this mirrors over Danny’s nightmare.
Page 117-128/320-331: (1) Jack gives Danny the wasps nest. Danny learns to read while Jack writes his play. Wendy gets nostalgic about Dan growing up right before he locks himself in the bathroom and has his visions. (2) Two pages of Hallorann racing to the airport and getting stopped (mirrors over Jack and Wendy quizzing Danny about his visions). Oh man, on 321, a police officer is holding Dick up, saying that his favourite time in grade school was story time, and on the opposite page, 127, Wendy is offering to read Danny a story. Moving on, there’s four pages of Danny and Wendy chatting about the hotel that seems to be waking up around them, on the stairs of the lobby (mirrors over Danny’s bathroom vision section). Six pages of Jack trying to stop the boiler from exploding, with a two-page reverie about the time his father showed the kids how to confuse the wasps out of a wasps nest with smoke (mirrors over Jack giving the wasps nest).
Page 104-116/332-344: (1) Jack on the roof getting stung, thinking about the nature of pain, and then about the whole saga of his getting canned, and the George Hatfield incident, along with thoughts about his play, The Little School, and whether his characters resemble he and George. (2) Four pages about Danny awakening from a dream about the hotel burning down, then going out to face off against some of the hotel’s spooks, and getting beaten back, while trying to call Dick. Four pages of Dick on the plane coming to the rescue, near a “sharp-faced” woman who is also a shiner (perhaps the mirrorform version of Jack’s agent Phyllis, who is mentioned on the other side, loving a playwright named Sean O’Casey – Jack thinks about an engineer named Casey on page 331 – a near miss?). He gets more shine blasts from Danny (more wasp comparison). Five pages of Jack entering the ghost ball and meeting a Lloyd who talks back to him, and seeing Derwent and Vito the Chopper and all the historical figures he knows so well. Lloyd tells him the manager wants Danny (mirrors over the bulk of his The Little School thoughts – also, both sides make references to “bomb” imagery).
Page 93-103/345-355: (1) Ullman’s tour reaches the Presidential Suite, where Danny sees the bloody mess. Ullman carries on the tour name-dropping repeatedly. They tour their quarters, learning that Hallorann stays there usually. The tour ends back in the lobby with Watson. Ullman drives away, after a pained farewell. (2) The entirety of the second half of Jack’s ghost ball experience. The page that Grady arrives (347) is opposite the page of Ullman driving away (101). The page opposite Grady calling Hallorann the n-word is them meeting Watson in the lobby, and Wendy feeling bad for judging the man (he was creepy to her earlier) – one page off from them finding they’ll be sleeping in Dick’s quarters. The page opposite the Beatles reference (the ghost band plays Ticket to Ride) is Wendy contemplating all the Presidents who would’ve stayed in the Presidential Suite. The pages opposite the party ghosts disappearing and Jack deciding he’ll go handle Danny and Wendy himself is Danny seeing the blood in the presidential suite.
Page 90-92/356-358: (1) The beginning of Ullman’s tour, with the rickety elevator, and the Titanic reference. (2) Hallorann’s plane landing against turbulence, and everyone on board thinking they’re going to die. Nuff said.
Page 71-89/359-377: (1) Nine pages of meeting Hallorann and his tour of the kitchen. Ten pages of Hallorann and Danny discussing the shining in his car. (2) Three pages of Dick renting his car and putting the chains on. Fourteen pages of Wendy creeping through the eerily empty hotel, finding the drunken Jack, clubbing him, and, with Danny, locking him up in the storeroom. A two-page chapter of Danny trying to process everything that just happened.
There’s a lot of cool crossovers here, but you can basically see that the book does what the film does, combining all the opening Hallorann business with all the locking up of Jack at the end. The next page in both directions will begin a) all the pre-Hallorann action, and b) Jack stuck in the pantry, bargaining for his release, and the remainder of Hallorann’s rescue mission. So, while the film starts the middle of the mirrorform with Dick, and keeps him in the action until about five minutes to the end, the book brings him back soon after the two-thirds mark (309), and keeps him right to the end, with this 71-89 cross-over happening fifty pages after his return and seventy pages before the end.
I do want to mention that the first page of Dick meeting Danny features him pretending that Danny’s gonna come to Miami with him and have all the fun in the world, and the last page of Danny and Wendy processing the locking up of Jack features her promising that they’re gonna go someplace where they had a good time before, called Chatterton Lake. In fact, the end of the novel is just like this, with her and Dick and Danny at Red Arrow Lodge by some lake in Maine. And there, Dick mentions having made delicious shrimp creole, which is what he promised to teach Danny how to do upon first meeting him.
Also, Jack has his first thought about his father on page 76, after Dick remarks that Watson might be “the foulest talking man” anyone ever ran on, and Jack reflects that, no, his own dad has Watson beat in that department. The opposite page is 372, where Wendy and Danny are dragging Jack to the pantry, and he murmurs in his sleepy daze something his father said in his childhood, which he earlier daydreamed about on page 328. That murmur is, as far as I know, Jack’s last indisputable reference to Mark Torrance. It’s true that all the “come here and take your medicine” and “you little pup” kind of lines that follow are also lines we read Mark saying at the middle of the novel (pg. 224). But we also hear those lines in Danny’s visions of the future before page 76, and Jack remembers using those lines on George Hatfield. So they’re just as much a part of the Jack Torrance Behavioural Canon at that point, as they are rooted in the mind of Mark. And they lack the specificity of the dream murmur. They’re more like empty catch phrases.
Page 65-70/378-383: (1) The entirety of the family meeting Ullman, and him getting pulled away to deal with Mrs. Brant. They look around and take in the lobby, while Danny feels relief at the love he senses between his parents. (2) The entirety of Jack selling out to Grady. And one page of Hallorann trying to drive through the blizzard.
Page 58-64/384-390: (1) The Torrances drive up to the Overlook. (2) Dick drives up to the Overlook.
Page 49-57/391-399: (1) Seven pages of Wendy pondering Jack’s alcoholism, his abuse of Danny, their divorce thoughts, Danny’s shine powers, and their dynamics as a loving family. Two pages of Danny having a future vision of monster Jack and being warned by Tony not to go to the hotel. Ends with the word REDRUM. (2) The entirety of chapter 50: REDRUM, which features Wendy leaving Danny to go check on Jack. Her crossing through the spooky hotel, and doubting her sanity. Hearing ghost ball noises. And then encountering Jack, with whom she fights, stabs, and begins to retreat from.
Page 43-48/400-405: (1) Jack’s phone call to thank Al for the job connection, for two pages. Four pages of Wendy lying in bed, thinking about being kicked out by her mom, falling in love with Jack, giving birth to Danny, and Jack’s early writing success. (2) Hallorann meeting Durkin (mirrors over Jack’s writing success), then driving up through the wilderness (mirrors over being kicked out by mom), arriving at the hotel and being attacked by the hedge animals (mirrors over the Al talk).
Page 37-42/406-411: (1) Six pages of Jack chronicling what little he knows about Al, their mutual alcoholism, their bizarre episode running down the riderless bicycle, and their mutual journey out of alcohol dependency. (2) The entirety of chapter 52, which is the second half of the Jack/Wendy fight, her locking herself in the bathroom, and him pounding his way in, before the sound of Hallorann’s snowmobile draws him away. In fact, Dick almost drives straight into the hedge lion in his chapter, so if this is the same moment, it’s happening almost exactly opposite the riderless bike episode. But yes, generally speaking, Jack’s great hidden guilt (the drunk driving) occurs right across from his most aggressive attempt to kill Wendy.
Page 31-36/412-417: (1) Four pages of Danny reading Jack’s mind while he drives back from the job interview, interrupted by Tony showing Dan his first warnings about the hotel, including the first several blasts of REDRUM, ending with Jack coming home, and Danny thinking a bag of groceries was a bloody roque mallet. Two pages of Jack going into the drugstore to call Al, leaving Danny with a bunch of roadmaps to look at. He begins to contemplate his old school’s sense of history, and the Hatfield incident. (2) The entirety of Dick escaping the hedge animals and getting up to where Jack gets the drop on him (opposite the REDRUM vision). Then Jack goes off in search of Danny for two pages.
I’m wondering if the bits about the illustrious history of Stovington Prep happening opposite the hedge animals speaks again to them being possessed by, if not mafia goons, then Very Important People.
Page 25-30/418-423: (1) The last page of the Watson chapter: Jack and Watson are walking up the stairs to leave the area, and Jack feels sympathy for Grady’s descent into madness. Four pages of Danny contemplating leaving his friends behind, the nature of Jack and Wendy’s divorce and his abuse, and the nature of his shine powers, and the origins of Tony. (2) The entirety of Tony taking Danny through a dream world that leads back into the real world, before confronting evil Jack on the last page, the first encounter between Danny and evil Jack. So evil Jack’s appearance to Danny and earlier Jack’s sympathy for Grady are simultaneous.
Page 16-24/424-432: (1) The other nine pages of Jack being shown the boiler room by Watson. Starts with two and a half pages of Jack reliving breaking Danny’s arm. The last four pages focus on Grady and Mrs. Massey. (2) Starts with the entirety of a chapter called That Which Was Forgotten, so, pretty fitting that it would mirror over Watson showing off the boiler. Two pages of Wendy coming out of her bathroom experience and finding Hallorann’s alive. Then five pages of jumping back and forth between Jack and Danny facing off for the last time and Hallorann and Wendy stumbling around looking for Danny. Then, the first two pages of a chapter telling a complete section of text about Danny reuniting with Wendy and Dick and getting them to escape with him, while a screaming, monstrous Jack rides the elevator to the boiler room.
Jack’s elevator ride to hell mirrors over the bulk of his earlier reliving of breaking Danny’s arm.
Page 11-15/433-437: (1) The entirety of Danny’s first chapter, sitting on the curb outside their Arapahoe apartment, talking to Wendy. They talk about why they had to come here (Hatfield), and Wendy frets about the state of their relationship and the breaking of Danny’s arm. Al Shockley is mentioned by Danny on the second page (12). (2) A page of the Jack monster getting to the boiler and it exploding in his face (mirrors over a moment of Wendy going inside the apartment and weeping in “grief and loss of the past, and terror of the future”). A page of the Overlook exploding. Three pages of Hallorann trying to get Wendy and Danny to safety.
The second last page features a reference to a guy named Howard Cottrell, who helped Dick find Larry Durkin, and who gave Dick some warm gloves. The mention of him mirrors over the mention of Al Shockley, and probably says something about the angels of the world versus the devils of the world. The last page features Dick remembering an event from “fifty years ago or more” where his brother exploded a wasp’s nest using a firecracker saved over from “the Fourth of July”, and so we have an Independence Day reference right across from the first page of Danny and Wendy appearing in the story. And if this is 1977, Dick’s memory could be from as far back as 1921, though he would’ve only been 3 years old.
Page 1-10/438-447: (1) The entirety of Jack’s “interview” with Ullman – the last four pages focus on the Grady issue. (2) Three pages of Dick going into the equipment shed and having the insane urge to kill Danny and Wendy. One page of them finally escaping, and then being rescued (mirrors over Ullman talking about how “fantastically cruel” the winters can be). And then the whole six-page epilogue, where Dick meets Wendy and Danny at the Red Arrow Lodge. Technically the first two pages on the first side are mostly blank, simply announcing that it’s chapter one. So the last two pages, where Hallorann explains to Danny about the hard, uncaring nature of the world, and tells him to make sure he grieves the loss of Jack, but to also move on, mirror over nothing else. It’s their own moment, in a sweet, special way.
OTHER NOTES OF EYE SCREAMERY
There’s a tonne of other neat things I found that connect to Kubrick’s forms, but that don’t require a lot of time to analyse.
Like how Jack imagines that the snows that case in the Overlook will be like “three beetles stacked on top of each other” (pg. 35). Doesn’t that sound like Redrum Road? Three repeats of Abbey Road played one after the other?
Or how a couple things repeat exactly 137 pages apart (137 being 2:17, as we’ve discussed), like Jack hearing from Watson that every hotel has a ghost on page 22, and then reliving those words on page 159. Or how Wendy first contemplates the Donner party while driving to the hotel (pg. 62), and then hears a radio broadcast while making her last trip down to Sidewinder before the snows trap them in where the DJ references the Donners again (pg. 199). It’s possible there’s many more of those, but I stopped doing the page-by-page at the middle. So let me just say that I suspect there’s some 217-sized gaps between certain references, but the middle page is 224, so I wouldn’t know without venturing further beyond.
Or how the page that would correspond to the Aarne-Thompson code for Little Red Riding Hood, 333, features a ghost in a big bad wolf mask snarling “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin” at Danny. One of the few open references to another fable in the novel. Or how Jack and the hotel die on the 2nd of December (pg. 326 – 122 pages from the end!), which would make 2/12, which is a day before it would be 3/12, which is the Aarne-Thompson code for Bluebeard, the fable Danny’s afraid he’s going to relive.
Or there’s a thing I haven’t studied very closely throughout the book, but especially once Jack starts to lose his mind, where his voice is frequently described as “hoarse”. Every time his monstrous form lurches back into the action, he cries out in a “hoarse” voice. So I’ve wondered if this is why the whole Four Horsemen analysis became a factor for Kubrick. Also, it occurred to me that if George Hatfield is invoking the Hatfields and McCoys, that’s a famous case of two families at war with one another, which is like the most microcosmic variant of “war” (next to an acrimonious divorce, I suppose), while the Donner Party is a microcosmic case of “famine”. As for conquest, Kubrick put the book Tiger of the Snows in the film, which is the autobiography of Tenzing Norgay, the first man to climb Mt. Everest, which was co-authored with James Ramsay Ullman. So perhaps Kubrick saw “Ullman” as the “conquest” microcosm. As for death, I mean, that feeds into so so many of the story’s little winks and nods, I wouldn’t know where to start, but since these have all been real-world examples so far, perhaps the JFK subtext would count as the most central “death” image.
As for absurdities, there’s a few bizarre things, like how on page 347 (of my first edition printing, at least) there’s two lines of text that are perfectly backwards in their position of a larger paragraph. Like, in order for it to make sense, you read the first line, then skip down to the third line, then back to the second line, and then down to the fourth line in order to continue. It’s the only time that happens, and it might just be a publisher’s glitch (I have no idea how common that is, but it’s the only time in around 2500 books that I’ve read that I can think of seeing such a thing). The action described is of the ghost ball: Derwent’s butt boy, Roger (in a dog outfit), turning to perform a mid-air somersault and failing, landing on his back. Grady’s “drinks cart” bumps into Jack six lines later, as he’s retreating from the site of Roger’s failure to obey commands. So, first off, I wonder if it’s meant to suggest the inversion Jack is about to perform against Grady, the man who’s character he’s about to swap with. But also, it’s exactly 101 pages to the end of the novel, which means that it mirrors over the page (101) where Ullman leaves the hotel, and the Torrances become officially alone, their lives swapping out with their former reality.
It also occurs to me that there’s an absurdity that’s sort of inherent to the story. Watson informs Jack that Grady and his family were found “frozen solid” (pg. 21) by a park ranger in the west wing. If they had time to freeze, then the boiler, which detonates less than a day after Jack dumps it on Dec. 2nd at 5:20am, would’ve had to make it through however long it took the Gradys to freeze, however long he hadn’t dumped it before killing his family, however long it took the ranger to report the incident, then however long it would take Ullman to fly there from his resort in Florida (Watson details this on page 22) rent a “sleigh” and get back up to the hotel to dump the boiler. In fact, we know exactly how long it takes Hallorann to get there, because we know that Danny shines him in Miami (even closer to the airport), and he calls the airport at 6:02pm on Dec. 1st (pg. 320). But his plane doesn’t even leave until 7:20am (pg. 338), which is the same moment in time as Jack realizes he’s escaped death, since the time difference between EST and MST is 2 hours. But yes, even if Ullman (and fate) had had the most crackerjack timing, it’s stretching belief that he could have gotten there in time to keep the hotel from exploding, unless the park ranger had somehow understood how and why to dump the boiler, and that’s a little ludicrous. I suppose the ranger might’ve known how to find the radio, and maybe someone could’ve talked him through the procedure, but a) that still would require him to have arrived at just the right time, and b) no ranger drops in on the Torrances in their first 2+ months alone at the hotel. But yes, you can see the extent to which things would’ve had to play out just right.
One thing a lot of people have commented on over the years is how The Shining (film) doesn’t depend on spooky, darkened spaces to achieve its terrors. But as I read the book, I noticed that there was an abundance of references to something being a “silhouette” or something to that effect. In the film, a similar effort is made to show things being strongly backlit, a phenomenon I discussed on the page for a painting of some backlit flowers. Head over to that page for more.
The one Kubrick technique that doesn’t have a correlative that I’ve been able to pin down is the F21 photos. Like, King uses a lot of repeating words and phrases that seem loaded with particular meaning, like how “hoarse” might be about the Four Horsemen. But do you have to go through and count how many times the word “hoarse” appears? And if you do, do you get a cool total value? I guess I’m not willing to find out. Because Kubrick had 21 core photos, and another 100+ photos all bouncing around the place, so it’s possible King has just as many or more doing some crazy pattern, maybe working in tandem with the page numbers. If anyone cracks that code, let me know.
Alright, I hope that’s was enlightening. From here on out it’s the page-by-page. For those of you crazy enough to read it: enjoy!
THE SHINING: A PAGE-BY-PAGE ANALYSIS
- King dedicates the book to his son Joe, “who shines on”. For the people who skipped the intro, this is a reference to Instant Karma/We All Shine On by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Connection: Redrum Road.
- The book begins with a lengthy excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, which will be referenced innumerably throughout the book. You can read my analysis of Kubrick’s use of Poe imagery here.
The excerpt comes from paragraphs six and seven of Poe’s fifteen-paragraph story. The story is 2397 words, and King’s excerpt ends at the 1009th word (of a 262-word passage, meaning it starts on word 747), and omits several short sentence fragments for possibly no reason other than truncating the passage. But here’s what King or his publishers had excised (I’ll include the number of the word that has been omitted in parentheses): “…against the western wall…” (words 10-13), “…the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and…” (words 33-42), “…momentarily in their performance…” (words 94-97), “…the musicians looked at each other…” (words 174-179), “…and folly…” (words 188-189), “…(which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of Time that flies)…” (words 220-231). So that’s 38 words taken out altogether, bringing the total words King references down to 224. But if we throw back in the reference to Poe’s full name and the name of the story, we come back up to 233, a Fibonacci number. Of course, 224 is the middle page of the novel, too.
I don’t know if Kubrick saw significance in these numbers, I just wanted to point out how we’ve got a 237 buried in that 2397, a 747 kicking off the excerpt (Hallorann rides a 747 to Danny’s rescue), an 11th word and a 42nd word being omitted (11 and 42 are what I consider to be the other most significant of Kubrick’s secret numbers, besides 237). And the last word omitted is the 231st word, which happens to be the sum if you add together the values of all the F21 key photos. I’d be happy to chalk that up to coincidence, but just bear in mind that this is the first thing the reader thinks is connected to the story, this Poe excerpt. And the F21 key is the first thing appears in the mirrorform. The other thing that first appears in the mirrorform is a shot that resembles the Four Directions, and the 12th word King omitted was the word “western”, which happens to be the only compass direction reference in that section of the story (“east” and “west” are referenced five times total).
As for the other omitted words, they include several words King uses abundantly in his novel: “wall”, “minute”, “hand”, “face”, “looked”, “seconds”, “Time”, “flies”.
And note how Poe (and through him, King) is drawing our attention to the dual notions of time and timelessness. At the gonging of the clock in Poe’s story, the “musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause” and the revellers “ceased their evolutions”. Everything freezes when time makes itself unignorably apparent to these human minds, and while Kubrick’s film makes great use of time imagery, perhaps this is never more true than in that final frame, when Jack is frozen in a similar moment of celebration, at a similar revel, whose time and date we know well.
As for the excerpt that does appear, that reference to “evolutions” being “ceased” could be part of what inspired Kubrick to include the theory of evolution in the four John Gould bird paintings that appear in room 237.
Other significant words from the excerpt that appears in the book: “apartment”, “clock”, “ebony”, “dull”, “heavy”, “hour”, “came”, “musical”, “note”, “pale”, “hands”, “confused”, “echoes”, “light”, and “whispering”. These are all words that King will employ relentlessly in the following novel. The one to draw especial attention to might be “confused”, which bears the significance you can read about here.
- Following the Poe is a quotation from Goya: “The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” I haven’t yet found a satisfyingly direct reference to Goya in the film, but the word “reason” will appear regularly throughout the novel. Update: I realized something on page 143 relating to this.
- Finally, King includes the apparent “Folk saying”: “It’ll shine when it shines.” I’m guessing this means “the sun will come out when it comes out”. As in, you can’t control the mysteries of the natural world–just work with what you’ve got. So on the one hand, King is connecting his supernatural creation to a natural phenomenon (a rhythmical one at that), but he’s also connecting its goodness to the concept of daytime. Of natural light. Human civilization is powered in part by unnatural light that we create for ourselves, and some places, like the Overlook hotel, use this unnatural light for no-goodness. I think Kubrick found clever ways to weave in his own approach to this concept of day and night, light and dark.
PART ONE: PREFATORY MATTERS
CHAPTER ONE: JOB INTERVIEW
- Paragraph 12: “All my men wear English leather or they wear nothing at all.” From a cheesy, baroque ad campaign for English Leather Cologne. Jack thinks of this upon smelling Ullman’s cologne, and has to stifle his laughter. At the same time Jack is flashing his “big PR smile” (paragraph 9 and 16) at Ullman all throughout his interview, so while he derides Ullman’s “prissy” quality, and associates it to a cheesy commercial, he himself is not genuine. Sort of a…Holden Caulfield type.
- Paragraph 13: Ullman: “The Overlook has changed hands several times since World War II and it seems that each successive manager has put everything they don’t want up in the attic.”
- In paragraph 18 Ullman notes how there’s 110 guest rooms in the hotel, and at the end of the next page notes how “the Overlook employs one hundred and ten people full-time; one for every room in the hotel, you might say.” So right away King gives us this feeling of a seemingly meaningless object (the hotel) achieving significance through an arbitrary (but precise) connection to a more dramatically interesting phenomenon, the number of people here. Sort of a Jacob’s ladder sort of thing. But also, this quietly draws our attention to Jack becoming the 111th employee, making a number with 11 already in it look more like two 11s mashed together.
- Ullman goes on to break down this 110 figure into seven collections of rooms: four groups of 10, two groups of 20 and one group of 30, described in terms of their placement across the east, west and centre wings, and across the first, second and third floor. So right away we get an orgy of evidence effect, where we’re not quite sure if we’re meant to remember all this seemingly meaningless information about the hotel’s layout. But it gets us thinking about numbers and directions, and the components that make up the body of something. He goes on to detail all the other rooms and areas with precision, something the film doesn’t do, except in the most cryptic way imaginable.
- Paragraph 24: It might be worth noting that there’s no “Gold Room” as there is in the film, and that the “Colorado Lounge” as first mentioned here is the place where Jack does his ghost drinking. Kubrick made this the writing room, where nary a drink is ever seen (besides a can of Coke in one shot).
- Paragraph 27: “The pad disappeared back into Ullman’s jacket pocket like the conclusion of a magician’s trick. Now you see it, Jacky-boy, now you don’t. This guy is a real heavyweight.” The Shining contains many instances of things disappearing (and sometimes reappearing) onscreen. But this is also the first subtle reference to boxing. And Jack is here projecting onto Ullman the quality of his friend Al Shockley who calls him “Jacky-boy” quite a few times (something his father also called him, pg. 205). Shockley, we later find out, owns the majority of shares in the Overlook. So it’s like Jack is aware that there’s a connection between “the management” and the magical things that will be happening around the hotel. Although Hallorann will later confirm that Jack is not a shiner, moments like this make you wonder.
- Paragraph 29: Ullman: “I’ll be perfectly frank with you, Mr. Torrance. Albert Shockley is a powerful man with a large interest in the Overlook…” We’ll soon learn that Jack and Al were drinking buddies who might’ve killed a child together (it’s unclear), and that this is part of how Jack came to this freebie of a job. The name Albert is closely etymologically related to the name Delbert, a man who Ullman will soon be explaining as his reason for not wanting to give the job to a family man again. Also, it’s interesting that Jack will much later sow the seeds of discord with Al by telling Ullman over the phone his plan to write a tell-all exposé about the Overlook’s dark past, when a very dark past is the only reason he’s here. In the film, we only know about Jack dislocating Danny’s shoulder, but the thing with the child he and Al might’ve killed is that they definitely ran down a child’s bike in the middle of the road at night, they simply couldn’t find a corresponding body. And while Danny is never seen riding a tricycle in the book, isn’t that how the film’s hero learns the pattern that helps him survive?
- Paragraph 33: Ullman: “During the season that runs from May fifteenth to September thirtieth…” In the film, Ullman says it’s “May 15th to October 30th” meaning Kubrick bumped it back a month, which allows for the A MONTH LATER and ensuing weekday placards to give us Jack’s death day as being December 14th, the feast day of St. Lucia, who is otherwise referenced.
- Paragraph 35: Of all the names of famous people who’ve stayed at the Overlook are mentioned by Ullman, the only one with an admittedly indirect reference I yet know about is Roosevelt, which you can read about here. The Astor family is referenced, a name which means “god of thunder”, which is another way of saying Thor.
- Ullman also mentions here that the Overlook was built by Bill Watson’s grandfather, Robert Townley Watson in 1907 before selling it in 1915. A Robert Townley Caldwell was the Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge from 1906 to 1914. Jack is a failed schoolteacher, and Shockley sits on the board of both the school he was ejected from and this hotel, so it seems like the (possible) comparison of the Overlook to a kind of bizarro schoolhouse would play into my thoughts about exactly that.
- Paragraph 37: Ullman introduces Horace Derwent, saying he bought the hotel after the end of World War II, and mentions that he was a pilot (movie Ullman bears a subtextual connection to pilots), and compares him to King Midas (a Greek myth figure with a connection to Apollo), saying that the Overlook was the only thing he touched that didn’t turn to gold. Since we’ll find out in two paragraphs that Derwent was the one who introduced the roque court to the Overlook, and since Jack will go on to use a roque mallet to almost kill Hallorann, Wendy and Danny, it’s neat to think that here, in paragraph 37, we’re getting this genesis of the man responsible for introducing these elements to the hotel.
- I also just want to mention that there’s a painting and some knittings which may bear a connection to a “Derwent” and there’s the matter of The Masque of the Red Death bearing a connection to a “Horace”.
- Also, Ullman notes here how the hotel was sold in 1915, 1922, 1929, and 1936. Each of these times is 7 years apart. When Derwent buys it in 1945, this breaks the combo, with a 9-year gap. Movie Grady killed his family 9 years before the present action, and 9s throughout the film seem to allude to that.
- Paragraph 41: Ullman describes roque as a “British forebear” to the American game of croquet. There’s innumerable references in the novel to the “middle” of things, and here we have a game (described as “the game of the century“), whose name comes from dropping the first and last letter off another game’s name. Also, the first few shots in the film capture Four Bears Mountain.
- Paragraph 42: “A roque court, a topiary full of hedge animals out front, what next? A life-sized Uncle Wiggly game behind the equipment shed?” The Uncle Wiggily game (which has been compared to Candy Land, which appears in movie Danny’s bedroom) is based off a children’s book series of the same name. While certain versions of the game feature a more chaotic racetrack for the players to compete along, one version I’ve found online looks almost butterfly-like for the way the one half of the board mirrors the other along its centrefold. The titular Wiggily is a rabbit who gets around on a red, white and blue walking cane, and who must pass between his own home and Dr. Possum’s house, sort of like how Little Red Riding Hood (who will be referenced later in the novel) must get between her home and her grandma’s house. Seems like this might be one of the earliest inspirations for Kubrick’s Lessons and Escapes formula. In the mirrorform, forward Danny is wearing his red, white and blue Bugs Bunny shirt with the 42 sleeve the entire time that backward Danny is racing through the hedge maze, which replaces the roque court, topiary and equipment shed from King’s novel. So perhaps that’s the main meaning of “42” for Kubrick, this Uncle Wiggly reference in the 42nd paragraph, and everything else just grew out of it from there.
- The reference to the game being behind the equipment shed is also interesting since this is where Jack throws away the magneto to the Overlook Skidoo on page 282, rendering the Torrances truly snowbound, and this is where Hallorann has his final temptation from the hotel (pg. 438-440) to slaughter Wendy and Danny with one of the roque mallets he finds there. Hallorann is frequently compared to rabbits. So the first and last references to this spot are 4 pages into the story and 7 pages from the end.
- Paragraph 44: This page references 1970 two times. Once in this paragraph where Ullman cites it as the year Shockley and “a group of his associates” bought the hotel, and once in the final paragraph (51) where he cites it as the year of the Grady murder-suicide. Although it’s interesting that book Ullman specifies that the Grady murders were for the winter of “1970-71” making the actual year of the murders vague, and creating a question that’s never, in fact, answered. Movie Ullman only says “the tragedy we had up here during the winter of 1970”, making the Jacob’s ladder effect concrete. In fact, the current year of the novel is a bit of a mystery, which is only dealt with in chapter six, when Wendy vaguely traces a path from when her life with Jack began (on page 45 she recalls that it was 1970 when she and Jack first made love in his apartment, when it “had been less than three months after her mother drove her from the house”) to Danny’s current age of 5 years, making it around 6-7 years later, but we’ll get to that. In any event, it seems that Jack and Wendy meet, Shockley buys the Overlook and hires Ullman, and Grady murders his family all in the same year.
- Also, if the current year is 1976 (the first year the hotel has run a profit in “almost seven decades”, according to Ullman), this would make it 69 years since construction began.
- Paragraph 51: Ullman notes that Grady’s hiring was “after we had refurbished the Overlook but before our first season” meaning the season of his hiring. So Grady was Ullman’s original sin, his first major failure of the hotel. Jack will be his last, since the novel ends with the building blowing to infernal bits. So this speaks to the notions of genesis and apocalypse. It’s also interesting, this early connotation of families being bad for the hotel. In the wilderness, the lone wolf dies while the pack survives. But in the Overlook (civilization?) it’s the other way around.
- Paragraph 58: Ullman references cabin fever. There’ve been extremely few films and books to reference cabin fever directly. You can see the list here. Crime and Punishment is seen on a shelf in Suite 3, while a review I did of Chaplin’s The Gold Rush revealed a few interesting connections. This would leave the 1948 Stefan Zweig novella The Royal Game, which is about chess, nazis and Buenos Aires. Click here if you want to see something that could be connected to this, but I’m honestly not sure if it matters. Point being, I think Kubrick was aware of how rare this condition was invoked in popular culture.
- Paragraph 59-62: Jack explains cabin fever before Ullman gets the chance, citing “hallucinations” and “murder” as possible byproducts. This comes moments before Ullman casually explains that Grady killed his wife and children. As we’ll see much later, Danny’s realization that REDRUM is MURDER spelled backwards is not the same kind of kick-off to the story’s violent climax that it is in the film (Wendy never even finds out what the word means). So, while Kubrick waits almost 2 hours to drop this connection (the word “murder” is never spoken by any of the characters–only euphemisms and synonyms), King front-ends it, perhaps in the hopes that we’ll feel even more surprised by not noticing it. Sort of like the connection between Apollo 11 and room 237, which seems so obvious once you see it.
- Also, Ullman mentions Grady was found with a broken leg from falling drunkenly down some stairs. The concept of falling down stairs is referenced on the last page (8) when Ullman imagines Wendy or Danny falling on the stairs to illustrate to Jack the true cut-off-ness of the location, but here we have someone going down them. It seems clear to me that Kubrick saw the Jacob’s ladder effect bleeding into many non-ladder items, but especially stairs. It would’ve been 62 years after the hotel’s opening that the Grady murders happened, but only if they were in ’71 (1909-1971). Ullman never references Grady again directly after paragraph 62, though his final reference to the matter of who should and should not be the winter caretaker comes in paragraph 71: “But I would still rather have an unattached college boy taking a year off.”
- Paragraph 66: Jack says a “stupid man” is less desirable than whatever he himself is, then draws a line between “cheat[ing] at solitaire” and committing an atrocity. Obviously all the storytellers on hand here know there’s going to be things that disprove Jack’s thesis, but while novel Jack shows a wit that the hotel will literally replace by novel’s end, movie Jack is never shown to be especially intelligent, unless you’re impressed by his History Channel overview of the Donner Party incident. And his transformation into the stock minotaur figure is much more gradual, never relying on King’s conceit that the real Jack has been buried beneath the barrage of psychic attacks and fake drunkenness. Kubrick’s Jack is much more himself all the way through, which makes the believability of his transformation into psycho killer a much trickier thing to pull off, especially given the limited time frame. This issue of stupid vs. educated is reflected in the lessons and escapes.
- Paragraph 68: Jack says Danny will have “puzzles” to get him through the winter, which seems like another nod to my last point. Also, he says he plans to teach Danny to read, a clever allusion to the REDRUM phenomenon.
- Also, Jack says here how he hasn’t had “so much as a glass of beer in the last fourteen months”, and when he’s talking to Lloyd later he’ll say it’s been 19 months. So, unless there’s some sort of trick or error at play here, Jack’s Lloyd chat takes place in late November in the novel, which would make this late June or early July… Movie Jack says he would “sell [his] goddamn soul for just a glass of beer”. This always stood out to me as a bad bargain–like, why not at least sell it for endless refills? So perhaps it was meant as a reference to King’s interview, which would draw a connection to the Faustian imagery of Kubrick’s interview.
CHAPTER TWO: BOULDER
- Paragraph 1: One of the first things we learn about Danny is that he has a balsa glider (a little plane made out of wood). Wendy will soon reflect on the “splintery” stairs of their apartment in Boulder, and on the next page she’ll notice that the glider is splintering. More Jacob’s ladder stuff. This word will show up again much, much later to show something about the Overlook’s decay. If I remember what I’ll try to make a note here.
- Paragraph 3: “She hung the dish towel over the bar by the sink” Kubrick took the trouble to have one of these in the Boulder kitchen, upon which he hung a towel with a significant character on it.
- Also, the house they’ve moved from is described as “the small neat brick house in Stovington”. Since King will invoke the Three Little Pigs later, this felt like a cute inversion. The Torrances are moving backward through social evolution.
- Also, they live below a couple named “Tom” and “Elaine” who produce “rancorous” fights that Jack calls the “Friday Night Fights”, something Wendy does not find amusing. So, first off, this combines notions of sports and violence. But also, there’s a painting in the BJ well that I’m becoming increasingly convinced is of Mont St. Michel, off the coast of Normandy. I’ve found paintings that could very well be the one in the film, but it’s only seen moving blurrily by in a shadowy stairwell, so it might be impossible to say. But if it is of Mont St. Michel, the closest little mountain to it is called Tombelaine (named for the daughter of a 6th century king said to be buried there). That painting hangs next to one I strongly believe to be depicting a nature reserve in England called Derwentwater. If that’s a reference to the omitted Horace Derwent, then Kubrick may’ve seen some relevance to these early (possible) references by King to western European mountains and lakes.
- Paragraph 4: The first thing Wendy says to Danny is “What’s up, doc?” So the relationship between mother and child is ushered in with a reference to television and cartoons.
- Paragraph 10: Danny: “Do you think the bug will break down?” And, paragraph 20: Danny: “When he was looking at the bugmotor he said…” So, twice, on the same page as the uncredited Bugs Bunny reference, Danny calls the Beetle a “bug”. I’ve said it enough times elsewhere, but it’s worth repeating: we tend to associate Danny to Bugs thanks to characters quoting him at Danny. But the phrase forces the speaker into the Bugs position, and Danny into the villain position. He’s Elmer Fudd, or Yosemite Sam, or Marvin the Martian. Wendy is Bugs. So, him asking her if the “bug” will break down could be a sly allusion to Danny’s fear that Wendy will fail him against the menace of Jack.
- Incidentally, in that second instance, paragraph 20, Danny says “shit” while quoting Jack, and asking Wendy if Jack is not a nice person for saying vulgarities. Wendy gives him the old “maybe when you’re older” routine, asking him “How does twenty sound?” Coincidence? Perhaps.
- Paragraph 32: Wendy reflects that they live on “Arapahoe Street” here in Boulder. There is an actual street by this name (not far from where the apartment in the film is seen), as well as a county of the state. But the name comes from a group of indigenous people who were among those genocided during the Sand Creek massacre, as I’ve discussed here.
- Paragraph 34: “She thought that to children adult motives and actions must seem as bulking and ominous as dangerous animals seen in the shadows of a dark forest. They were jerked about like puppets, having only the vaguest notions why.” King is so great at introducing concepts like this which seem almost like non sequiturs in isolation, but which feel totally natural in complete sequence. Anyhow, the animals bit is obvious, projecting all over the topiary that will hound the family during childish moments. But this is also the first mention of “puppet” imagery, which becomes a recurring image throughout the book, usually in moments meant to cause us to question ideas of free will and determinism. Kubrick included a puppet of Goofy in Danny’s bedroom, and had Wendy be dressed in the exact same attire. Note too how these are the same colours as the dog shape on the black rectangle beside Wendy, and how all these animals shapes are not as clear and recognizable as they could be.
- Paragraph 38: Wendy brings up George Hatfield with Danny. If you haven’t read the book, I’ll discuss his significance in the next point. For now, I haven’t found any direct references in the film yet to a “Hatfield”, but Americans would likely see this reference right away as an allusion to the Hatfield-McCoy feud, arguably the best-known instance in American history of two families clashing over a long period of time (1863-1891), and from opposite states divided by a river. The Shining features numerous instances of artworks depicting rivers, or depicting two different things that signify rivalling parties. Not to mention war.
- Paragraph 39: Danny: “Was he the one who put the holes in our bug’s tires?” George Hatfield is the student Jack pummels in Vermont for doing as Danny suggests, here. But the theme of holes is a recurring one throughout the story as we’ll see, and holes are never more significant in the film than with the whole sewing cards business.
- Paragraph 61: Danny: “Sometimes I miss Scott and Andy.” I haven’t found any Andys in the film. Also, I don’t think we get anymore references to this “Andy” character, but Scott will return a few times (pg. 26, 119), in both Jack and Danny’s thoughts. His last name is “Aaronson” we’ll later find out, which has a kind of Old Testament vibe.
- Jack will later (pg. 152) compare the papers in the Overlook basement to the Andes mountains, which are an extension of the Rockies, so this could be about that.
- Paragraph 62: “Somebody in the Divine Placement Service had made a mistake, one she sometimes feared could never be corrected and which only the most innocent bystander could pay for.” Wendy is reflecting that she and Jack don’t deserve a child as amazing, as heaven-sent as Danny. But this use of the word “corrected” here is interesting. It’s the euphemism Grady will later use to suggest Jack should kill Wendy and Danny. So, here Wendy is acknowledging that some things can never be put right, and later Jack will conflate the complete destruction of something with putting it right. The follow-up bit about the innocent bystander certainly feels like an apt description of both book and film Hallorann, not that Hallorann is a bystander at the moment of his murder/bludgeoning, but in terms of how he only interacts with the Torrances for an hour one afternoon, and then, weeks/months later, risks his entire existence for them.
- Paragraph 65: Wendy leaves Danny on the curb and goes inside to put out Oreos, before weeping into the “steam” of her tea. King describes Wendy’s emotional break as a “cloudburst”. So, first off, Oreos appear in the pantry, behind Jack’s head while he begs Grady to let him murder his family, but I want to note that, throughout part one of the novel (“Prefatory Matters”), Jack, Danny and Wendy all have emotions that are described as cloud-based phenomenon, suggesting a link between storms and emotions (Jack’s is a “red cloud of rage” – pg. 16, paragraph 8; Danny’s is how the word DIVORCE floats in the minds of his parents “as thick and obscuring and frightening as thunderheads” – pg. 27, paragraph 6). And this is the first mention of “steam”, which is what Jack needs to dump from the boilers to keep the building from exploding. So perhaps what we’re seeing here is that Wendy possesses what Jack does not, the ability to let out her steam when a situation gets too stressful. “In grief and loss for the past, and terror of the future.” This could practically be the tagline for the story, or my analysis of it anyway. Wendy is someone who can let her emotions out over these matters, while Jack struggles mortally with his need. And Danny must figure out if he’s a Jack or a Wendy.
- But this is likely why these are the Torrances (in English Torrance sounds like “torrents” as in “torrents of rain”). I think Kubrick read a lot into all this water imagery.
CHAPTER 3: WATSON
Special Note: I now realize that if I’m gonna bring this analysis in at under 100,000 words, I’m gonna have to keep it to the major points. So, from here on out, I’ll try to avoid redundant observations.
- Paragraph 2: Watson is described as having “fluffy popcorn hair” and when movie Hallorann is asking if Danny would like some “eye scream/ice cream” there’s a box behind him for the Poppers Supply Co. of Portland, Oregon. We don’t see it clearly until Jack is stumbling in the pantry later. This was a popcorn company, and Kubrick associates it to the part where Jack is saying to Lloyd, “Best damn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon for that matter.” So, if Kubrick chose a popcorn company to create a link between “eye scream” and Watson, this might explain why movie Watson dresses like Bugs Bunny.
- Paragraph 8: This paragraph spans three pages on the novel: 16-18.
- As Jack recalls the episode of breaking Danny’s arm, he reflects that, “It only seemed slow the way some dreams seem slow. The bad ones.” In the film, Jack tries to make Danny’s injury sound like a split-second accident to Lloyd, while the ensuing episode in room 237 plays out the way we suspect his abuse of Danny to have done, languidly, consciously, and awfully. The song in that scene is The Dream/Awakening of Jacob, underscoring the dreamlike quality of the moment.
- Also, we learn here that Jack’s “three-act play” baby Danny scattered around (while Jack had been performing his “Act II corrections”…) was something he’d been “slowly developing from a novelette he had written seven years ago as an undergraduate” likely meaning that it was something inspired by he and Wendy getting together, or something he wrote just before they got together.
- Also, there’s a bit here where Jack wonders if Danny spilled the beer just to “see it foam”, and then this phrase gets stuck on repeat in his mind for a second. It occurred to me that Kubrick may’ve seen this as a soft allusion to “seafoam”, something the creation of the Pillars of Hercules would have produced.
- Jack compares his anger to “the sick thump of that one Spike Jones chord.” Spike Jones was a musical humorist arguably most famous for his anti-Hitler piece Der Fuehrer’s Face. Al Bowlly, whose music appears in the film, was killed by a luftwaffe parachute mine only days after recording his last song, Irving Berlin’s similar anti-Hitler piece When That Man Is Dead And Gone.
- Jack recalls that Wendy’s reaction to baby Danny’s screaming was “damped by the inner mist” of his drunken rage. Hallorann is standing in front of Mist Fantasy when he takes the axe to the heart. Hallorann also had a postcard of the Maid of the Mist in his office.
- Jack recalls that the sound of Danny’s arm breaking “had not been loud, not loud but it had been very loud, HUGE, but not loud.” This struck me as an early example of absurdity.
- “A clean sound with the past on one side of it and all the future on the other…” A guilty echo of Wendy’s version of the same thought.
- “…his own voice, weak and drunk, slurry, trying to take it all back, to find a way around that not too loud sound of bone cracking and into the past–is there a status quo in the house?” This passage seems to forecast Jack’s entire Overlook journey. He wants back into the half of existence that doesn’t contain the committing of his greatest regret. A half of existence that would still contain all the horrors that befell the countless other victims of countless other atrocities, just so long as his regrets could be erased. But I really love that replacing of the word “doctor” with the words “status quo”. Danny is “doc”, so Jack’s little play on words is literally trying to replace his own son, amid this shameful recollection. And sure enough, Jack will try to replace Danny with the status quo the ghosts offer.
- Paragraph 11: Watson is described as having a “red and blue bandanna” that he wipes his sweaty forehead with.
- Paragraph 15: Watson compares Ullman to a dog. In the Four Directions analysis, the hotel is associated to dogs.
- Paragraph 16: Watson calls the ducts “ducks” which might have something to do with the as-yet-unidentified duck paintings we see behind movie Watson as he first enters (one of which is seen again outside room 237…). In paragraph 19, after seeing Watson point out the slow, steady way the boiler builds up steam, Jack thinks, “The goose just walked over my grave.” And I suspect one of those mystery paintings to be of geese. We only see that geese painting once again after the Watson entry, which is while Danny’s triking around near 237 on TUESDAY. This sequence comes right before the first scene of Jack typing, and freaking out at Wendy. In multiple analyses on this site, I’ve described Jack’s stroll over to the model maze as the last instance of his “sane” self on screen, making this freakout the birth of “insane” Jack. So perhaps Kubrick used geese to mark the “death” of sane Jack, just as King foreshadowed Jack’s death at the boiler wheel with this “grave” line.
- In fact, the boiler is at 102 pounds per square inch as Watson points this out. And page 102 of the novel is the end of Part 2: Closing Day, which is the moment the Torrances are finally left alone with the building. I mention this for two reasons. The first reason is that the next time Jack interacts with an overheating boiler, it’ll creep just past 217 pounds per square inch before Jack finally dumps the steam out, and room 217 is where he’ll have seen the ghostly Mrs. Massey by then (a room Danny first enters on page 217). The second reason is that I did a study on the number of seconds in each shot and sequence of the film, which lead me to realize that the film can be broken down into six massive chunks of time, which each have symbolic significance. The first of these phases is 2370 seconds, and ends right at the end of “sane” Jack’s stroll. So both King and Kubrick forecast the transition between the pre- and post-Overlook Jacks with a number code.
- Also, Watson releases steam and it drops to 91 pounds of pressure. And 91 is 19 backwards, but also, page 91 features Ullman saying how everyone must be back on the 12th of May, a thing he’ll repeat on page 99 and which Jack will think on page 100. So, 91, 99 and 100 have a bunch of 1s and 9s, and make reference to the “12th” which is jumbled in the earlier 102.
- Paragraph 17: Watson: “I tell you, this whole place is gonna go sky-high someday, and I just hope that fat fuck’s here to ride the rocket.” This isn’t the last reference to a “rocket” or the “sky” with its moon and stars. But it is the first. The second comes in the next paragraph: “If you forget, it’ll just creep and creep and like as not you an your fambly’ll wake up on the fuckin moon.”
- Paragraph 17: Watson describes himself as being “mean as a snake with the shingles” and at the end of the chapter asks if Jack knows about the need to redo the roof’s shingles, which is the first thing we see Jack doing after page 102. That’s where he’ll discover the wasp’s nest in a “hole” formed by the missing shingles. But that “snake” imagery is interesting too: there’s many times throughout the first section of the novel where things are described as “hissing”, especially the boiler. So we’ve got Sidewinder, and we’ve got a hissing hotel run by mean “snake” men, who direct Jack toward a wasp’s nest. The tiles on the floor of room 217 are described as “hexagonal” (pg. 217), which echoes a moment where Jack reflects on the hexagonal chambers of the wasp’s nest (I’ll try to remember to note which page that’s on when I get there later, but just in case, know that I might be remembering that wrong). And of course, Danny will be tormented by a snake-like firehose outside 217, so there’s a fairly conscious intermingling of these venomous, stinging animal images.
- Incidentally, Danny’s haircut in the film, the bob cut, is also known as the “shingle cut”.
- Paragraph 20: For the sake of completism, I’ll point out that Watson tells Jack the boiler is rated to 250 (same as the page that Jack leaves Wendy and Danny to inspect room 217), but that he wouldn’t stand next to it if it was at 180, for all its wear and tear (page 180 is from the chapter following Danny’s first encounter with 217, and features a rare, almost singular reference to ghosts–Jack has called Ullman to perform one of his most inexplicably stupid acts, taunting his boss with all the Overlook’s dirty laundry he’s discovered in an old scrapbook, and Ullman replies, “Or do you think there are ghosts parading up and down the halls of the west wing, wearing bedsheets and crying ‘Woe!’?”). These numbers are separated by 70 points.
- Paragraph 29-31: Watson calls Ullman a “fat fairy” and then, while he’s admiring Jack’s educated parlance, says, “I admire that, as long as the fella ain’t one of those fairy boys. Lots of [college educated people] are. You know who stirred up all those college riots a few years ago? The hommasexshuls, that’s who. They get frustrated an have to cut loose. Comin out of the closet, they call it.” I think this might be the only openly homophobic material in the book, so perhaps that’s why we only get one gay novel in the Torrance library (that I know of), No End to the Way. Also, in my The Rum and the Red analysis, we see that it’s right as Jack and Watson touch hands that the music kicks into ’70s porno music heaven. But yeah, it’s never settled if Ullman is gay, or if Watson just feels the need to mark him as such. Interestingly, Barry Dennen, who played movie Watson, was gay.
- Paragraph 37: Watson describes Grady as always “grinnin like an egg-suck dog” and film Grady spills advocaat on Jack, an egg-based drink.
- Also, Watson says Ullman would’ve “hired the Boston Strangler if he’d’ve worked for minimum wage.” The real strangler was named Albert, which, again, bears a virtually identical etymology to Delbert. More striking than that, the 1968 film about the strangler co-starred Hurd Hatfield, who, like Barry Dennen, once played Pontius Pilate. Is this where Hatfield comes from?
- Also, Watson describes the Grady family as having been found “froze solid” by a park ranger, which makes you wonder why their story didn’t end the way the Torrance story does. Did Grady somehow have the presence of mind to shut down the boiler before hacking everyone to pieces? Why? Seems like an absurdity to me…
- Paragraph 39: Watson tells the tale of Mrs. Massey, who is supposed to have died “this last July”. So, unless he means a full year prior, Jack must’ve gotten his months of sobriety mixed up when he said “14 months” earlier.
- He describes Massey’s legs as being covered in “varycoarse veins” that look “like a couple of goddam roadmaps.” In just a couple chapters Jack will leave Danny in the car, where the boy entertains himself with roadmaps, which he loves doing. Tracing them with his fingers. That reminded me of the Rum and the Red subtext.
- He specifies that her 17 year old boy toy drank a bottle of Olympia the night of her death. Jack Torrance is the name of an Olympic shot putter who competed at the same Olympics (Berlin, 1936) that Leni Riefenstahl turned into the documentary Olympia. Book Jack doesn’t make out with Massey the way movie Jack makes out with 237 ghost, but perhaps Kubrick saw this as the connection between Jack Torrance and this nameless boy toy. Watson also describes the boy as grinning like “she had strings tied to the corners of his mouth.” More puppet imagery. Also, the boy drives off in a Porsche, that being the other company responsible for the VW Beetle.
- Watson tells that her real husband was some “big-shot lawyer”, and advocaat, the Grady drink, means “advocate” as in “lawyer” because lawyers find it soothes their throats for all the orating they do.
- There’s a recurring theme of older women preying on younger men, which starts with this story.
- Paragraph 43: Watson, referring to the lawyer: “He gave old Ullman four different shades of holy hell.”
- Paragraph 44: He tells Jack the Porsche was found driverless in Lyons, Colorado. Jack, Danny, and Hallorann will be tormented by hedge animals cut to look like lions.
- Watson names the county coroner to be one Archer Houghton. I don’t have a strong feeling about the “Archer” part yet, but the Pillars of Hercules story involves archery since Herc rode to defeat Geryon in a golden cup given to him by Helios, the sun god, after Herc shot a mighty arrow at him. Apollo (of Danny’s shirt fame) was the god of archery. But Houghton was the name of the estate that Horace Walpole grew up in (Houghton Hall) and the Gothic author (who is thought to have inspired The Masque of the Red Death) was buried at Houghton, Norfolk.
- Paragraph 46: Watson names the “stupid cunt of a chambermaid” who first encountered Massey’s corpse ghost as Delores Vickery. I’m not sure if the Delores part means anything, but Joyce Winifred Vickery was an Australian botanist who came to public attention thanks to her role in helping solve the July 7th murder of 8-year-old Graeme Thorne. So, on the one hand, we’ve got a woman scientist, using science to catch killers, and on the other hand we’ve got someone with the same name as Jack’s wife being called a “stupid cunt”. If Watson is an agent of the hotel, which seems likely, this could be an early example of its attempts to undermine Wendy’s credibility with Jack.
- Paragraph 61: Jack’s thoughts refer to the Grady murders as an “atrocity” moments before thinking, “Poor Grady…” and “…he shouldn’t have lost his temper.”
- General thought: It’s interesting that Watson is so coarse, when he’s the grandson of the man who built the building. Jack never reflects upon this, but there’s a subtle comment on what Watson’s nature says about his forebears. Is he the softer version of much vulgarer ancestors? Or is he the winding down disintegration of a once-great house? This would seem to be another major difference in the overarching implications of King and Kubrick. King delights in thinking that this old world is being obliterated, if not fiercely opposed, when the Overlook goes up in smoke. Kubrick warns that it’s a system that can’t simply be undone by a little self-destruction.
- General thought: There’s mention in chapters two and four of Wendy putting out milk and cookies for Danny, and in chapter three of “fat fuck” Ullman having taken a “sleigh” (something Watson seems bemused about) to attend to the Grady murders crisis. Several references will be made to “Christmas” later, usually connected to Hallorann’s having put aside a capon for the Torrances. But things will go sour 23 days before that, when Jack gives over completely to the dark side on December 2nd. Anyhow, I’m not sure if all these subtle associations to Santa Claus were intentional, though Kubrick’s film does have a fair bit to say about saints and anniversaries.
CHAPTER FOUR: SHADOWLAND
- Paragraph 1: Danny declines Wendy’s invitation to watch Sesame Street. When I discovered someone’s fairly incomplete list of the cultural references in the book, I was struck by how many of them were almost deliberately avoided in the film. Cartoon characters feature heavily in the film, but none of them are from Sesame Street. Why? Did Kubrick think it was a meaningless reference, or did it simply not support anything from his own weave? That said, there are a series of German political cartoons by an artist who simply went by the name “Oskar”. All three of these hang mere feet from Jack’s three murders. And Wendy does say, “Aw, c’mon, hon. Don’t be so grouchy.”
- Paragraph 3: Danny sings Skip to My Lou to himself for the first time here while waiting for Jack to come home from the interview (he’ll do it again while approaching room 217 on pages 215–216). The song is from the 1840s, and has a variety of interchangeable verses, some of which involve references to red and blue (“There’s a little red wagon/Paint it blue” and “Can’t get a red bird/Jay bird’ll do”). The word “Lou” refers to the Scottish word “loo” meaning “love”, though “loo” is a slang word for toilet (the place Danny is skipping to when Lorraine Massey becomes a figure in his life), which could have one of several etymologies, but perhaps most interesting is the thought that it’s a shorthand for Waterloo, the place of Napoleon’s undoing. That could help inform all the Julius Caesar/failed emperor imagery in the film, though we do have some more direct Caesar references coming up.
- Also, Danny says “my master’s gone away” as the odd part of his version of the song. I can’t find anything linking this to an official version of the song, so it’s probably King’s invention. And if so, what was he thinking? Is it a foreshadow to Tony abandoning him mid-novel? I can’t help hearing it as a reference to American slavery, but what would it mean?
- Paragraph 4: Danny picked up this song at the “Jack and Jill Nursery School”, a rhyme with connections to Shakespeare, and the most interesting of the few interpretations of the song that exist explains that King Charles I of England lowered the volume of a “Jack” (an eighth of a pint of alcohol) while keeping the tax the same. A Gill (some versions of the rhyme have it as “Gill”) is a quarter of a pint. So it could be seen as a gentle way to introduce to children notions of alcoholism. And if that sounds bleak, check out this actual 1791 edition of the rhyme that explains its moral is about the virtues of obsessing over death.
- Paragraph 6: First off, this chapter starts much like chapter three did, with a massive paragraph that spans the first three pages. In Jack’s chapter, it was his ruminations about having abused Danny. Here it’s Danny ruminating on Jack’s alcoholism, which eventually involves the memory of his arm in a cast.
- “It was too bad they couldn’t believe more, though, especially at times like this.” Danny’s reflecting on the way Jack and Wendy dismiss Danny’s special talents. The idea of “belief” will toll like a bell throughout, usually pairing with the goodness of Danny’s supernatural gifts. I think this is why, or part of why, Kubrick worked in the Mark 13:29 business.
- Also, we get Scotty’s full name here: Scotty Aaronson. I can’t find a particular historical figure who this would seem to be an allusion to, so perhaps we’re meant to simply understand that Scotty’s last name is Jewish, meaning “son of Aaron” who was the first high priest under Moses. So, just as the Sidewinder-Boulder connection suggests a certain New-Old Testament vibe. Danny “missing” Scotty could hint at the way he’s left behind the Old Testament view of the world to go live in Boulder. That said, Scotty “who was six months older” is the one who first explains the “Bad Thing” (alcoholism) to Danny, because his own father (another teacher and colleague of Jack’s) “punched his mom right in the eye and knocked her down.” In the mirrorform, while Wendy is describing Jack’s dislocating Danny’s shoulder to the doctor, there’s a moment when Wendy’s saying how Jack just “used too much strength” when he hurt Danny, and a painting on the other side makes it look like she’s got a black eye for a few seconds.
- The word “DIVORCE” appears in Danny’s mind, in small capitals, and it’s said that they’re always “red” and “covered with hissing poisonous snakes”. He struggles to understand why it means one’s parents no longer live together. This reminds me of the Franks subtext, and everything connected to that.
- Danny struggles to understand why someone would have to go to a “court” to settle these matters “tennis court? badminton court?” noting that Jack and Wendy played both, so it could be either. Of course, we’ve already heard about a “roque court”, and there will be increasing references to legal terms as things deteriorate for the family. As well as direct references to Alice in Wonderland (pg. 29, 216), specifically the scene where a mad queen of hearts is beheading her followers over a game of croquet.
- Paragraph 9: Danny remembers that Jack once said of him, after he passed out from the stress of Jack and Wendy thinking so much about DIVORCE: “He’s having a Ha Loo Sin Nation.” A mashup of the “loo” sound in Skip To My Lou and the word Jack uses in the interview to describe what cabin fever does to people. Later Jack will claim that Mrs. Massey, the loo ghost, was Danny’s hallucination. The whole phase with Danny in 217 is less than two pages of text ending on page 218 (the final page of the novel’s middle part, “Part Three: The Wasp’s Nest” and the start of “Part Four: Snowbound”), and the novel is 447 pages, making the middle of the book halfway down 224. Though the text of the story itself starts on page 3, so we could think of 222 as the middle page. Either way the middle of the book is two or four pages into chapter 26: Dreamland. And film Danny’s second scene is scored by The Awakening/Dream of Jacob, a song that returns as he’s entering 237, and again at the middle of the film, as Jack passes through the room. Not to mention how those two scenes contain the lesson and escape keys.
- Paragraph 10: Danny reflects on finding the much darker word SUICIDE in Jack’s thoughts. Film Danny’s second scene contains the bloodfall sequence, with the visions of the daughters of the man who murder-suicided.
- Paragraph 13: “It would seem that he was getting up, then falling into a deep hole, like Alice into Wonderland.” Danny’s recalling the first and second times Tony showed him something in a vision. The first time “nothing much had happened” but the second time he shows him that the reason Jack can’t find “THE PLAY” is because the movers put it under the stairs leading down into a dangerous cellar that Danny doesn’t have access to. He repeats at Danny that the movers left it “right”…under…the stairs. While Jack two paragraphs later moans that he’ll sue the movers who “left” it somewhere. Occurrences of “left” and “right” in the book are far too numerous to want to make a list of, but since they’re occurring here, in conjunction with Danny recalling Tony’s visions, I have to wonder if this is where Kubrick got the idea for the left-right-ness of the lessons and escapes. And if you go read the longer analysis of that phenomenon, you’ll note that Jack has his own four lessons, that all have to do with the All work and no play papers. So Tony projecting THE PLAY at him here feels like a mashup of all that.
- Paragraph 24: While trying to reach into Jack’s mind, driving home from the interview (a mind Danny identifies as “John Daniel Torrance’s”), he slumps over “as if all the muscles had gone out of” his body. So, at the same time as we have all this active puppet imagery, of the sort we’ve already seen, there’s a good deal of this passive puppet imagery too, people going limp as if wires or muscles were cut. It’s like King’s saying that to fully shine is to lose control in the best way. Kubrick having the Goofy puppet show up in the first shot after Danny’s first shine probably supports this notion of puppet-like control being our resting state.
- Paragraph 28: Danny sees “autumn leaves blowing in the gutter” and again we’re yanked through time to realize this must be sometime in late September, perhaps days before the Overlook closes. So Jack saying he’d been sober 14 months before and 19 months during the talk with Lloyd (in 2 months) is curious. Just as movie Jack and Wendy state almost 3 months apart (in December and September, respectively) that he’s been on the wagon 5 months.
- Paragraph 29: The first word Danny picks up in Jack’s thoughts is “shingles”. The word was used in two very different contexts in chapters one and three, to denote a building material, then a disease, then back to a building material. And, again, we’ll later see that the absence of this material is what leads Jack to put his hand in a hole, and pull out at wasp’s nest. So, just as sewing cards are full of holes, which Kubrick may’ve been using to suggest his own grand design, it’s interesting that we keep getting these shingles references, linking the first four chapters together. Here plucked from Jack’s mind as Danny burrows his own hole into it.
- The rest of Jack’s thoughts are interesting. He laments that he might end up with “the whole fucking human race” in his PLAY if he isn’t more discerning. That reminds me of the line in Room 237 when one of the theorists posits that Kubrick is making a film about everything that ever was, something I see more having to do with the wide-reaching implications found in the Shining Tree of Life.
- Jack foresees that there could be some wasp nests and plans to get a bug bomb. This is exactly what plays out. But since Danny calls the family beetle a “bug”, it’s strange that he isn’t perturbed about his father thinking about “bombing” a “bug”. More suicide imagery, too subtle for both characters. In fact, Danny becomes excited by the idea of seeing a wasp’s nest, just as he can’t help himself walking into the room 217 bathroom with its hexagonal floor tiles.
- Paragraph 30: When Danny returns to his own thoughts, the first word he thinks is “shingles”.
- Paragraph 32: When Danny sees Tony appear down the street from him, he gets “a prick of fear” as if Tony held a “jar of wasps” behind his back.
- Paragraph 34: The Hatfield-McCoy feud happened to either side of the Tug Fork, a tributary of the Big Sandy River. This paragraph refers to Danny’s hands dangling into the “fork of his crotch” while a “dim, painless tug” drags him further into Tony’s darkness. Coincidence? Perhaps. But Tony is about to show Danny the book version of the horrors of his approaching hotel life. So this would be a good time to give the audience a little subconscious jolt about what Danny really needs to be afraid of. The impulse in his father that caused him to pummel that Hatfield boy to a pulp.
- Paragraph 39-40: Tony shows Danny a vision of the hotel’s front face as lit by a “green witchlight” which comes to look like a skull and crossbones. “Poison,” he says in the next paragraph, and repeats it. “Poison.” Can’t help wondering if this is where Kubrick got the Snow White imagery from, with all its skulls and green witchlight.
- Paragraph 42: There’s an odd line here that goes, “Snow spattered against the window like thrown sand.” Could be another reference to the Big Sandy River.
- “Across the room was a mirror, and deep down in its silver bubble a single word appeared in green fire and that word was: REDRUM.” So, again with the Snow White-ness. But it’s neat that Danny’s first encounter is in the 42nd paragraph, and has him seeing it in a mirror. It should be a dead giveaway, for anyone who actually imagines the word appearing in a mirror, but I know I certainly didn’t get it as a kid (I read the book when I was around 12-13), and maybe Kubrick thought the Pillars of Hercules component of his vision was obvious sauce too.
- Paragraph 46: This contains the first reference to future Jack’s voice being “hoarse”, though we’ll get maybe another dozen or two instances throughout the book of this word describing his lunatic caterwauling. Is this where the Four Horsemen subtext comes from? I think it’s likely.
- Paragraph 47: Future Jack: “Come out! Come out, you little shit! Take your medicine!” I don’t think book Jack ever says “Come out, come out, wherever you are…” as film Jack does, but I nonetheless suspect this is where the Come Out, Come Out subtext comes from, and the Two Red Couches subtext, perhaps.
- Paragraph 49: Danny envisions “Pictures torn off the walls” as part of Jack’s rampage. No one in the film ever smashes a picture, thought pictures obviously ended up playing a heavy role in Kubrick’s technique through the way they move.
- Paragraph 51: Danny envisions Wendy’s albums spilled over the floor, and sees “Grieg, Handel, the Beatles, Art Garfunkel, Bach, Liszt”. Since Wendy’s thoughts about Bartók at the start of chapter 26 seemed to have inspired much about Kubrick’s approach to making the film, it’s funny that these other composers weren’t referenced directly. Grieg and Liszt were friends in real life, just as many of the artists in the film knew one another, or were part of artist collectives. Handel composed a “musical drama” called Hercules, about the murder of Herc via poison by his wife. Bach will come up in concert with the Bartók reference later. As for Art Garfunkel, at the time of the novel’s writing, there’s only two albums he could be referring to here, one of which contains a track called Disney Girls, which was the B-Side to the EP. That song contains the verse “Oh, reality, it’s not for me/It makes me laugh/Fantasy worlds and Disney girls/I’m coming back”. Since we’ve got Alice and Snow going on here, I’d suspect that’s the thread. Garfunkel was also an actor, though, and made his debut in Catch-22, the novel of which appears in the first shot of Wendy and Danny. As for the Beatles…I can probably leave that up to everyone’s imagination. But remember that it’s the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that bears the 1234-2341 pattern that corresponds to Danny’s lessons and escapes. And maybe this finally legitimizes my thoughts about all the buried Beatles album covers that seem to correspond to moments from the film.
- Also, Danny sees REDRUM again here, this time in the “medicine cabinet mirror”. So this combines the idea of “take your medicine” which Jack screams a lot, and REDRUM. Danny being a “doc”, doesn’t he prescribe Jack with a certain kinda REDRUM at the end of both versions?
- Paragraph 60: Danny sees himself on a “blue rug with a riot of twisting black shapes” on it. In chapter three, Watson mentioned that it was the hommasexshuls who were responsible for all the “riots” a few years ago. Because they had to “blow off steam” and “come out” of the closet. Now, future Jack wants Danny to “Come out” and “Take [his] medicine” while a boiler is beneath them both, full of steam and ready to blow. I’ll probably never be able to fully capture the mad dance of words at play in King’s novel without simply encouraging you to go read it and look for yourself, but passages like these are a real peephole into that. Later, Danny will notice (many times, in fact) that the rug has a jungle pattern to it. So this blue rug has some connotation to the wild, while redrum is scary for the reasons of civilization. This blue-red dynamic will follow Danny in a different way later as 217 comes into better focus.
- Paragraph 62: “And the trapdoor in the ceiling was locked.” Danny can’t ascend into the sky to elude Jack. The (seeming) opposite of Kubrick’s Jacob’s ladder ending. But also, since King is directly referring to the end of his novel at the beginning (many times, as we’ve seen, but here most directly), there’s a certain Jacob’s ladder-ness to that too. Going by the interpretation where rungs equal years, Jacob’s dream is like a metaphor for being able to observe your whole life at a glance. To go up and come back down the rungs/years of our lives. Danny has now witnessed the end result of his drama, and has only to live it out.
- Paragraph 66: Danny sees the “battered red bug” “farting blue smoke”.
- Paragraph 67-68: Danny sees a bloody mallet next to Jack when he opens the door. It then transforms into a bag of groceries. I thought this was a nice simple way to suggest the connection between food and death, and perhaps by extension cannibalism and murder.
- Paragraph 75: Jack: “Doc Torrance, the world’s strongest man” I think this is the most direct reference to anything Herculean in the novel, but it still felt apt given the familicide moment we just had with the bloody mallet.
- Paragraph 78: “But fear had settled around his heart…and around that indecipherable word he had seen in his spirit’s mirror.” One last reference to mirrors to bring the REDRUM trick home. But I also think it’s near that the phrase is “spirit’s mirror”. Is Tony his spirit’s mirror? Does Danny think of Tony that way? Or is he merely equating his vision of a mirror, with his own spirit. If his mirror shows him a mirror, doesn’t it become like a hall of mirrors?
CHAPTER FIVE: PHONEBOOTH
- Paragraph 1: In reference to the winter snows about the Overlook: “…maybe higher than three beetles stacked on top of each other.” I’m sorry, but isn’t that like a perfect description of Redrum Road?
- Paragraph 8: Danny asks for a Baby Ruth from the drug store. This bar has a funny etymology that either has to do with a famous 1921 baseball player (Babe Ruth) or, if you go by the company’s story, the long-deceased daughter of a long-retired president. As Danny chows down in his opening scene, there’s a baseball right behind his head, and many before me have noted Ullman’s resemblance to JFK, not to mention how one of the people in the photo Jack photo looks like Woodrow Wilson. I don’t think the Baby Ruth reference is why those other things are happening, but they’re congruous.
- Paragraph 10-12: Here’s where Danny gets excited to look at the maps while Jack makes his phone call. “As far as he was concerned, new maps were the best part of moving West.” I’d file this with the Pillars of Hercules and the indigenous genocide themes.
- Paragraph 13: Jack makes his call of thanks to Al Shockley “by the keymaking machine”. I don’t think this is the first reference to keys, but it shows that King’s keeping the theme alive in our minds. In the film, Jack calls Wendy about getting the job while standing beside the F21 key.
- Paragraph 17: The headmaster who fires Jack is named Crommert, a name with no easy, evident association. The closest thing I can think of is that the giant map of Colorado on Ullman’s office wall is Cram’s Superior Map of Colorado by George Franklin Cram, famed, and first, American to publish a world atlas.
- Jack imagines the scene of his firing as a scene from his own quasi-autobiographical play, seeing the “old prints” of former 19th century headmasters as theatric symbols of the school’s origins (1879), and the school’s acquiring of Vanderbilt ties (1895). I’m not sure what Kubrick read into these dates, if anything, but here’s a list of candidates for 1879:
- The Anglo-Zulu war war broke out. That could be read as a reference to the Zanclean flood aspect of the Pillars of Hercules theory.
- The Gilmore Garden was rebranded into Madison Square Garden by Vanderbilt money.
- There was a Donner-Party-esque episode called the Jeannette expedition, where a crew of 33 people on a ship became icebound for 2 years, leaving only 13 survivors. This ship made stops at Unalaska, and St. Michael. Danny passes A Woman of Unalashka on his way first past, then into room 237. Wendy passes what is likely a painting of Mont St. Michel on her way toward the blowjob room. And the hotel the overlook is based on is partly designed by Jeannette Dryer Spencer. The Jeannette expedition was led by George W. De Long, and much later in the novel, we’ll read how Jack wrote a main character in one of his stories named Paul “Monkey” DeLong.
- The Meeker massacre happens, as I’ve written about here.
- Edison tested the first lightbulb, which could implications perhaps too wide-reaching for anything as simple as a justifying link, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose this one.
- Henrik Ibsen’s controversial play A Doll’s House (for which I don’t think I have a direct reference marked in the film, other than the fact it contains a costume ball), debuts. The play was (unintentionally?) shattering of timely social norms, for the way it depicted a woman brought to leave her husband by increasing mistrusts and disillusionments, ending with a slamming door as the protagonist leaves her husband to make a life of her own. So, I suppose this could be what inspired Kubrick to make The Door such a central symbol of the film.
- And here’s a list of candidates for 1895:
- Oscar Wilde’s last play, The Importance of Being Earnest, debuts. The hero of this comedy leads a double life as Jack and Ernest, and the play’s focus seems to be similarly concerned with duality.
- The US Treasury, with the aforementioned Grover Cleveland serving as president, is saved by a gold loan from JP Morgan and the Rothschilds.
- Bridget Cleary is famously murdered by her husband, who zealously believed her sickly, bedridden state to have a supernatural explanation: she was not his wife, but a twin-like changeling.
- The Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Trail race becomes what some call the first motor race. The Shining has a huge race car subtext.
- The first American football game is played between the YMCA and the Jeanette Athletic Club. So that’s another Jeanette reference. And funnily enough, the first game of rugby league football is played days later in England.
- George Washington Vanderbilt officially opens his Biltmore estate after 6 years of construction.
- And there’s some other stuff with teeny weeny connections, but I’m happy to leave it there.
- So we’ve got two plays about duality and social norms, two Jeanettes (actually there was an Arctic expedition in 1895, but it was successful in getting further north than ever before), and two Vanderbilt references. Given the direct reference to Vanderbilt in the text, this would seem to be the leading candidate for King’s intentions, if any. But Kubrick (so far as I yet know) hasn’t included his own Vanderbilt subtext, and expunged from his script any direct reference to a family of power. Food for thought!
- Anyhow, by paragraph’s end, Jack thinks, “It was no set, he remembered thinking. It was real. His life. How could he have fucked it up so badly.” I like how this establishes both Jack and Danny as wrestling with reality and fantasy. Danny’s wrestle is a metaphysical one with wide-ranging implications, while Jack’s is a more personal, self-interested struggle.
- Paragraph 22: Jack hears that it’ll cost $1.85 to talk to Al Shockley. Page 185 is the last page of Jack having called Ullman from an apparently different drugstore payphone, to almost get himself fired thanks to announcing his tell-all book plans. In that chapter, the operator says it’ll be $1.90 (pg. 178) to talk to Stuart Ullman, and page 190 is the last page of Jack talking to Al about the Ullman call, having agreed not to write the tell-all. That’s the last time Jack uses a phone, or talks to anyone other than Wendy, Danny or ghosts again. Also, Jack’s Ullman call goes way over the time limit, and the operator asks him to pay an extra $3.50. Page 350 is ghost Grady telling Jack about Danny’s “very great talent”, which is his ability to essentially phone call people with his mind alone. This page also features the only clue I know of that King’s ghost Grady isn’t the actual Delbert Grady of history. Jack notes that Grady doesn’t “talk like an uneducated man”, as Ullman had led on. And ghost Grady makes a coy statement about how education came to him through the hotel’s beneficence, affirming that “Education always pays”.
- Paragraph 23: We find out Al’s father was named Arthur Longley Shockley, a steel baron. Arthur Longley Vernon was a not terribly prolific late-19th-century painter of idyllic aristocratic life in England. So, perhaps though none of Vernon’s works appear in the film (that I know of), this connection to a famous painter of the era being invoked in this chapter helped Kubrick realize that using painters to make connections was a thing to do. Also, as for “Shockley”, one of the only famous people with this name was William Shockley, Nobel Prize-winning scientist who discovered the transistor mechanism of transistor radios (the thing that’s supposed to keep Danny’s mind occupied during his winter at the Overlook), and who is considered the “second most controversial intelligence researcher” of all time thanks in part to his racist views on the minds on black people.
- We find out that Al lives in Barre, which looks like “bar”, but sounds as “barr-ee”. Ullman and Watson are played by two men named Barry (Nelson and Dennen).
- Paragraph 25: We find out here that calling martinis “martians” is Al’s invention. This notion of invaders from another world will recur throughout the novel in subtle ways.
- Paragraph 26: Jack imagines a little mockery on himself, “Good morning, kids, today the Red-Eyes Wonder is going to tell you about how Longfellow lost his wife in the big fire.” Frances Appleton burned to death when her dress caught fire, and Bridget Cleary, who I mentioned not long ago in the 1895 analysis, was murdered similarly. Appleton was not murdered, and Longfellow even sustained heavy injury trying to save her. It’s possible that’s a coincidental connection. The more likely connection would seem to be that Longfellow was the first American to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy into English. A major figure in that story is Geryon, of the Pillars of Hercules fame, who acts as a conveyance for the main characters. So calling himself the “Red-Eyed Wonder” could be a subtle way of invoking Jack’s connection to mytholigical monsters.
- Paragraph 28: We find out that Jack’s writer’s block, which seems to have unofficially begun with meeting Wendy, ends a month after breaking Danny’s arm. So was it sobriety that broke the spell? Or was it the dawning lovelessness of his failed marriage? Either way, art was ready to scoop him into its arms, it seems.
- Paragraph 29: The story of Jack and Al hitting the riderless bike on the midnight highway starts with the detail that it was highway 31. This is the same number as the Gate that leads Hallorann to the plane that takes him to the rescue (pg. 336). I’m not sure the significance – maybe just transposing the notions of those who rush to save and those who rush to slay the little children. Page 31 is the first time Tony appears to Danny in the current story, to give him a vision while he sits partly in the street, waiting for Jack’s red bug to come home.
- Al drives a Jaguar, and the hotel boiler was described as a “large, dozing cat”.
- Al’s face, after the collision, is described as a “round white moon”.
- Paragraph 31: The Jag is described as having left “zigzagging loops of burned rubber for a hundred and thirty feet”. On page 130 Danny is having one of his visions of being chased down “mazelike corridors” by the form that turns out to be Jack, and we get this line: “Oh and he could hear the owner of that voice coming, coming for him, charging up the hall like a tiger in an alien blue-black jungle. A man-eater.” Jaguar. Tiger. Zigzag. Mazelike. You get the idea.
- Paragraph 32: Al refers to Jack as “Jacky-boy”, his father’s phrase. This is also the first thing he’ll say to him in the present on page 43.
- Paragraph 37: “At quarter past two they returned to the Jag, sober but queasy.” That’s a couple minutes before 2:17. Then Al says, “If there was nobody riding it, what was it doing in the middle of the road?” And, “It wasn’t parked on the side; it was right in the fucking middle!” Danny enters room 217 a few pages before the fucking middle of the novel, and finds there is somebody riding this particular bicycle.
- Paragraph 43: Al offers a friend fifty bucks to come put snow tires on the Jag. Page 50 features Wendy thinking about Jack having broken Danny’s arm, and thinks, “Even after the accident–if you could call it an accident–” I’m not married to this one, but it is neat that we would have this moment of doubt about the definition of an accident connecting to this moment of Jack and Al not knowing if they’d had an accident of their own.
- Paragraph 49: Al: “I’ve slain my last martian.”
- Paragraph 57: We find out the “accident” was in “late November”. Jack’s kill crazy rampage occurs on December 2nd in the novel, a point that’s made rather strenuously. This means that it happened in the same time of year as most of the action that immediately precedes Hallorann’s rescue mission: the room 217 episode, Jack throwing away the snowmobile’s magneto, Danny exposing Jack’s awareness of Mrs. Massey.
- Paragraph 58-59: Jack contemplates blowing himself away with a Spanish Llama .38. I’m not sure about the brand or model of gun, but on page 38 we have this line, “Those were the times when his mind would turn thoughtfully and sanely to the gun or the rope or the razor blade.” He puts it “back in the closet” and I wondered if that was meant to ring the “coming out of the closet” bell. But is there a connection between repressed homosexual urge and repressed suicidal urge other than the mutual repression? I’m not sure. Someone in the Torrance household owns a copy of No End to the Way.
- Paragraph 60: Jack’s department head is named Bruckner. I’m not sure about the connection, but there’s something call The Bruckner Problem, which concerns the fact that Austrian composer Anton Bruckner’s compositions exist in too many versions to know which was meant to be the real sound for the symphony. Similarly, Kubrick released numerous versions of The Shining, making it harder to know which was the version intended for the kind of analysis I’ve done here. For the record, I don’t think Kubrick went to all that trouble just to acknowledge this tiny passage of the book. But perhaps he was inspired by the reference to try something similar, or by the fact that King deleted a prologue and epilogue from the published novel.
- Paragraph 67: Jack anticipates Wendy being about to ask for a divorce, and asks for a week before they talk about it. This proves to be the thing that keeps them together. I’m not sure about this, but it seems like this might be a genesis kind of thing.
- Paragraph 76: Jack tells Al he looks like “Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera.” I’ve suspected the film buries a True Grit subtext, a story in which a young woman’s father is killed by the drifter Tom Chaney. I don’t know if this is strong enough for that, but it’s something.
- Lon Chaney was known as “the man of a thousand faces”, which could connect to the Geryon subtext, if we’re to think that Al Shockley is one of the Overlook’s tentacles. We know that he came into the business in 1970, and that Jack was finishing his studies then. So if that was King’s intention, it would lend an extra layer of fatalism to the proceedings. It might even explain the phantom of the kid’s bike they just ran down. It reads like an absurdity, and you almost assume the two men saw the child’s body, and just forgot about it, but then we hear how they check the papers for a notice only to see none. And why would a child be out riding after midnight anyway? So, if Shockley was a tentacle protected by the illusion of foggy origins, perhaps his purpose was to find a susceptible alcoholic, and lure him in. If that sounds paranoid, remember: the mirrorform (not to mention so much else) doesn’t work if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.
- As for the film itself, it opens with a production of Faust with the Chagny (Chaney?) brothers in attendance. The Shining opens with a very Fausty scene: a scholar (Jack) has gone as far with academia as he will go, and signs a “contract” in a room with a “RED BOOK”.
- Also, the Phantom appears to the heroine of the film at a masque dressed as the Red Death from Poe’s story. And it’s interesting that Jack would compare Al to a character who lurks in the background, and masterminds curses and plots against the protagonists.
- And just since this is page 42, let me just point out that it contains the phrases “sunny kitchen”, “he dreamed you had a car accident”, “into the bathroom”, “endless cans of Coca-Cola”. While Danny wears the “42”-sleeved shirt in the film he’s seen in a sunny kitchen where Wendy reveals Coke in the fridge, while he’s in the bathroom having a funny dream, while Wendy sits with her back to an album for a documentary about car accidents.
- Paragraph 96: Someone named “Effinger” who sits on the board of directors at Stovington Prep said, according to Al, that they might’ve been too hasty firing Jack for pummelling a student. This is the first and last reference to him. The only major figure by this name is George Alec Effinger, a science fiction writer whose first novel, 1972’s What Entropy Means to Me, has a title that sounds like the story that Jack gets published in Esquire (Concerning the Black Holes, mentioned on page 48). Stephen Hawking drew a link between black holes and entropy in 1971. Did King read about this? Seems possible.
- As for whether these made the leap to the film–when I first told my architect brother about the sewing cards phenomenon, he wondered if it might have something to do with four-dimensionalism, which struck me as random in the moment, but which strikes me as cleverer and cleverer…as time carries me through space. But other than that, there is an issue of Scientific American in the film, which concerns the discovery of a new elementary particle: the tau. So far, that’s the closest thing I have to this subject, but there remain a few unidentified magazines in the film.
CHAPTER SIX: NIGHT THOUGHTS
- Paragraph 4-5: Wendy thinks the lyrics to I Know You Rider at herself. It’s a folk song that’s been covered and rewritten numerous times, giving it a soft Bruckner effect. She wonders if it was Billie Holiday or Peggy Lee. Holiday did a version, a version, in fact. And Hallorann is murdered next to a painting called Stormy Weather, which was also the name of a Holiday hit. As for Lee, she was noted for being one of the “old guard” who embraced the shifting music of the ’60s, and the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll. She did a few Beatles covers, including a 1969 cover of Something, off Abbey Road. Paul McCartney idolized Lee. In fact, that Something cover appeared on the 1969 album, Is That All There Is?, which features Lee puzzling over the strangely unimpressive nature of watching her childhood house burn down. The Shining ends with Danny, Wendy, and Dick watching the Overlook burn down with a different sort of feeling.
- I also wondered, since this chapter will feature the only reference to Jack’s story, “Concerning the Black Holes”, if Wendy pulled the Lee connection from the fact that one of her most iconic (and best, for my money) albums was called Black Coffee.
- What follows from here is a traceable, if intentionally vague, timeline by which we can determine the current year. Paragraph 6 (I’m heavily abridging this): “They had met in college..that had been three months after her mother drove her from the house… That had been in 1970… A semester later they had moved in together, had found jobs for the summer…” Page 46, paragraph 8 (Jack asks for a break in the relationship, and then…): “They were together again in the spring…” I’m guessing this is 1971 now. Paragraph 18: “The wedding…Then Danny had come, her fine son.” If “spring” is literal, and if the wedding and conception of Danny don’t happen in the same month, then Danny can’t have been born in 1971, unless he was extremely premature. Paragraph 19: “That had been the best year…” I’m guessing this is 1972. And since we know Danny’s 5 years old (I think he says this to Hallorann later), and since his birthday would likely be sometime mid-winter, or early spring, this would have to be the winter of ’77-’78, setting the novel in the future from its January 1977 release. But, again, this date is never referenced in the text, just as Kubrick leaves it up to a single newspaper to clue us into the fact that his film takes place in the recent past.
- Paragraph 10: Jack, in Wendy’s memory: “The Shadow knows.” Jack is pretending to be a supernatural detective from a 1930s/40s radio drama, comic strip and film series. The radio and film version of the character could read people’s thoughts. Pulitzer Prize finalist Diane Johnson, who co-wrote the film’s script with Kubrick, put out a book in 1974 called The Shadow Knows, about a woman raising four kids alone who comes home one day to find her door smashed in by an axe. Disturbing events continue, until her “real fears merge with paranoid fantasy”. Was this the reason Kubrick sought her out? She was also a professor of Gothic literature, which would seem the more reasonable explanation, but I like that it could’ve been this pulp fiction connection.
- Also, it’s funny that Jack pretends to have the powers of The Shadow, only to give birth to a child with those powers.
- Paragraph 19: We learn that Wendy got a job typing out the novel for one of the professors at Stovington that was never published. It takes her 2 months. There’s stories about Kubrick’s secretary being the one who typed out all the “All work and no play” pages, a process that supposedly took months, and drove the poor women half mad. This sounded ridiculous to me until I learned about how Kubrick had her type out versions in several languages so that international versions of the film would all have their own versions of Jack’s mad scribblings. I then typed out my own edition of one page worth of “All work” lines, and I recall it took me 15 minutes, and was quite soul-draining. I gave up trying to be accurate about halfway through, and it was still a soul-suck. So having to produce roughly 20 of each such pages would be an odious task, for sure. Anyway, that’s not my main point. My main point is that Wendy, we learn through this, a) possesses impressive stamina to be able to type out an entire novel for someone, and b) Wendy actually does write a novel, even if it wasn’t her own, making her subtly superior to Jack, who can’t for the life of him finish his own masterwork.
- Paragraph 20: “…in the sunwashed kitchen of the four-room second-story apartment…” This struck me as a soft 42 reference. 4 room 2nd story.
- Paragraph 23: “Sun gonna shine in my backyard someday…” Wendy seems to sing a line from Trouble in Mind to herself. This was originally a slave song, popularized by versions recorded by Georgia White, Dinah Washington and Nina Simone. I don’t know yet if there’s references to these singers in the film, but it’s interesting that Wendy would be thinking about the best year of her life right before thinking of a song containing the lines, “I’m gonna lay my head/On the lonesome railroad line/Let the 2:19/Satisfy my mind” I probably don’t need to point out how close 2:19 is to 217, or the fact that page 219 is the start of Part Four: Snowbound, and chapter 26, which starts with Wendy ruminating on the difference between Bach and Bartók, two composers with very similar-sounding names (pg. 221).
- Paragraph 24: “On Saturday nights a bunch of his fellow students would…[argue] over whether Pepys’s diaries were literature or history; discussions of Charles Olson’s poetry…” SATURDAY night in the film is the night Danny encounters the Grady twins for the last time. In the following paragraph, Wendy reflects how the “Saturday sessions were necessary therapy. They let something out of him that might otherwise have swelled and burst.” Kubrick was keen to make this attention to days of the week count for something.
- Samuel Pepys was a 17th century British member of parliament whose diaries documented the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War, and the Great Fire of London. Sounds fairly four horsemen, doesn’t it? And is the bible literature? Or is it history?
- The Charles Olson reference might have to do with some obscure aspect of his poetic thinking I know nothing about, but Olson’s second wife Betty Kaiser died in a car accident that he suspected to be suicidal in nature. A painting of the Kaiser mountains appears in the radio room and Suite 3, and acts as a supporting joist in the subtext about how the pursuit of ultimate power is a suicidal urge.
- Paragraph 26: Wendy gets the letter saying Jack’s story would be published and had “almost thrown the envelope away”. It occurs to me that on SATURDAY is when Wendy’s trying the radio, with the EYE SCREAM note, and the wedged open envelope pinned to the board. In the next paragraph we learn that she calls Jack about his success and he comes home 45 minutes later (like 1945?) with seven friends and, after mailing his acceptance reply, walks back into their apartment to “gravely” declare “Veni, Vidi, Vici.” One of Julius Caesar’s (murdered in 44 BCE) most famous remarks. And this happens on page 48, and/or 47 minutes into the movie. To see what this moment in the film potentially has to do with another dead dictator, click here.
- Actually, I just noticed that paragraph 24 uses the word “thousand”, then Esquire offers “nine hundred dollars” for Jack’s story, and then we get the 45 minutes line. 1000 – 900 – 45. Coincidence? Maybe.
- Also, Jack’s story, as mentioned, is “Concerning the Black Holes”, and if the elements I’ve pointed out in the below image are meant as references to that, consider that this is the exact 1/3 mark of the film, the significance of which is explored here and here.
- Paragraph 28: Jack is described as “owlishly” lacing up his “moccasins”. In the film, it’s more Wendy who wears items with indigenous motifs or designs.
- Paragraph 30: Jack: “Tonight I could fly to the moon if I wanted to.”
- Paragraph 35: Wendy recalls that Jack sounded and seemed like a “little boy” the way he sulks after dropping infant Danny while drunk. This made me think about how Al Shockley’s in Barre, which looks a lot like Barrie, as in JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. In the film, Jack says, “Wendy? Darling?” And Wendy Darling is Peter Pan’s best platonic girl friend.
- Paragraph 41: “That had been the first night she had slept on the couch.” The film is also concerned with firsts.
- Paragraph 42: “Her mind, freed of any linear order by encroaching sleep…” You’ll have to read the book to know this, but of the two early chapters where Wendy and Jack mull over the many events of their shared history, Jack’s is much more scattered and time-jumpy. Wendy’s is fairly A-to-B-to-C. At the risk of being obvious, the film can be viewed through a few non-linear lenses, most notably the Twice-Fold. But Wendy’s mind does in fact become more time-jumpy here, and if the reason is indeed encroaching sleep, it might say something about Jack’s normal mind, since his was like this in broad daylight, trying to call his friend to offer thanks. He was already a bit of sleepwalker (sleepthinker?).
- Paragraph 52: Wendy reflects that the change in Jack’s demeanour, asking for a week before they talked about divorce, was as though “he had been replaced by some unearthly doppelgänger”. Obviously that goes with the twin/duo subtext.
- Paragraph 61-66: Wendy relives Danny’s birth. Origins.
- Also, Danny is born with a caul over his face, making Wendy think he has none. The cover image of the original novel is a faceless boy’s head on a glossy, mirrored surface, such that you see yourself as Danny. So, just as the hotel vexes with its many faces, Danny’s guilelessness is reflected in him having none.
- Paragraph 70: Wendy describes Jack as having made a “one hundred and eighty degree change” in reference to his sobriety. On page 180, Jack’s disastrous, almost inexplicably nasty call to Ullman involves Ullman confessing that Al Shockley indeed holds the most control over the Overlook. “…better than 35 per cent.” And 35 is (page) 53 having made a 180-degree change of sorts.
- Paragraph 73: “He had taken Danny to a Stovington-Keene soccer match…” Stovington, Vermont, is King’s invention, and so is Keene (if it’s meant to be a joint district), but there’s a Stonington in Maine, and a Keene in New Hampshire. Keene is part of Cheshire county, and it’s a Cheshire cat who haunts Alice in Wonderland.
- Paragraph 75: Wendy recalls watching little Danny run through and scatter a group of ducks. Again, this could have relevance to the paintings in Susie’s office that move to the outside of 237.
- Paragraph 78: At the start of the chapter, Jack’s semen was described as his “seed” wetting Wendy’s thighs. Here at the end it’s described as his “need”. More twin/duo imagery.
- Paragraph 80: Wendy recalls more lyrics from Trouble in Mind, as if it’s been playing in her head the whole time, acting as (slave) anthem to the story of her life. Then sleep takes her.
CHAPTER SEVEN: IN ANOTHER BEDROOM
- Paragraph 2: After hearing the “hoarse” voice calling out to him, Danny realizes that the accompanying booming is only the sound of his heart. Heartbeats are a major part of the film’s soundtrack, with a cute connection to the story’s obsession with numbers.
- Paragraph 3: Danny notices that the shadows of the leaves outside “[twine] sinuously together, making shapes like the vines and creepers in a jungle, like patterns woven into the nap of a thick carpet.” So both of Danny’s perspective chapters in part one involve this description, the first describing the carpet in a vision, the second describing a pattern on a ceiling. So there’s a yin-yang/mirrorform/phi grid kind of thing going on there. Even a heaven/hell thing.
- Also, we learn here that Danny is wearing “Doctor Denton” pajamas. These were the creation of Frank Denton, who was not a real doctor, but carried the nickname of “Doc”, like Danny.
- Paragraph 6: Danny goes to the window to notice that the “hooded” streetlights look like a “monster in a space show”. I thought that was neat since it means Danny has similar fears as Jack about foreign invaders. But also, Danny notices (remember that he can’t read) that their house is across from the Cliff Brice gas station. This is a real company, though they currently only seem to have two stations left, many kilometres south of Boulder. If there ever was one in Boulder, it might’ve given some sense of what cross street their house was near (most of the streets that cross Arapahoe are numeric–and of the few that aren’t, only Eisenhower Dr. bears a name that reflects anything in the film). My other thought there is that King might’ve selected this “Brice” to make us think of Percy Bryce Shelley, husband of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein, with its famous “monster”.
- Paragraph 8: Danny reflects that while he might be the only “human being” awake, he might not be the only thing out watching the goings-on. This idea of being fearfully watched is not invoked in the first part except here, but foreshadows, perhaps, what I like to call the shame of being watched.
- Paragraph 17: Danny’s mind finally suggests that these creeping vines and jungle patterns might be “flesh-eating plants”. There’s a painting in room 237 that I haven’t nailed down yet, but the closest thing in existence to what’s in the film is a carnivorous plant, the nectarina gouldiae.
A few months ago I put down this analysis in order to redirect my energies towards things that felt more pressing. Another reason has to do with the way my process here has taken a good deal more physical effort than in other analyses (ie. holding the book open, to read a line, then putting it down to type the part I can remember, and back and forth like that), so it takes longer. So I’ll keep noting the page number, but I’m going to forgo noting the paragraphs. I’ll probably also stop noting anything that’s purely “novel”, and stick to what seems like a link to Kubrick.
PART TWO: CLOSING DAY
CHAPTER EIGHT: A VIEW OF THE OVERLOOK
- General note: we’re almost a seventh of the way through the novel (that would be page 63), and we’re only now certain of what day the events are happening on. Ullman told Jack that the season runs to September 30th (30/9) on page 5, and this date will describe everything from page 61 here to page 101. I mention this because the film does a similar thing, where it only dimly hints that THE INTERVIEW takes place on September 22/23, before arriving at CLOSING DAY where we know it’s October 30th. And fun fact: page 309 (30/9) is the first page of part 5, Matters of Life and Death, which begins with Dick Hallorann, on a day we know to be December 1st, thanks to events from the preceding chapter, and how they end with Danny sending the distress shine that will blast through Dick’s brain in a few pages. The prior chapter starts with a line saying it’s December 1st (pg. 301), and ends with Danny realizing that REDRUM is MURDER backwards, and seeing a secondary shine about December 2. That’s the day (2/12) that REDRUM will happen. This means that Wendy, Danny and Dick live to see December 3rd (3/12), and 312 is the AT code for Bluebeard, the folktale that Danny connects to room 217, as we’ve discussed (pg. 88, 169–173, 215).
- Wendy has a “Victoria Holt paperback open but face down in her lap” as the family drives to the Overlook, hoping the “bug” won’t give out before they arrive. I’ve written about which novel this might be referring to here.
- Wendy sees a waterfall on the drive through the mountains that catches the sun in its spray, which is described as a “golden fish snared in a blue net”. Hallorann, who is associated to fish, has Niagara Falls postcards in his office.
- Wendy’s Donner Party thoughts remain unspoken in the book, and end with, “The mountains did not forgive many mistakes.” I like how that attaches the notion of forgiveness to the notion of manifest destiny. Will the Rockies, the Shining Mountains, forgive what Americans did here so long ago?
- Wendy says she doesn’t think they’ve “seen five cars” since passing through Sidewinder. Sure enough Kubrick’s opening drive shot features the bug passing four cars.
- As the family parks at a lookout, Jack points at the hotel to indicate its distant location. His point is described as “eleven o’clock”, meaning just left of centre gaze. But I like how the hotel is associated to time and to elevens this way. Obviously the film has a lot to say about 11s. Also, there’s a long passage of Wendy simply reacting to the view of the mountainous terrain, before we’re told what Jack’s pointing at, which puts a lot of distance between the “eleven” and what it actually signifies. It also combines the awe she feels about nature, with the similar feeling she gets from looking at the Overlook, which is “overlooking” the same natural wonder.
- Danny gets a shine that causes him to space out. Jack and Wendy notice, freak out a little, and Danny replies that it’s fine, and that he probably just got the sun in his eyes. Like a golden fish in a blue net.
- The Overlook is also then noted to catch and reflect the sun in its “westward-looking windows”.
CHAPTER NINE: CHECKING IT OUT
- There’s a mention of three nuns sitting by the hotel’s exit, which will be mentioned a few times on other pages (like on the following page, when their laughter is described as “girlish”). The painting Battle of Sisters Creek could be, and sometimes is, translated as Battle of Nuns Creek, since the “soeurs” of the French river does refer to sisters in the nuns sense. Since that painting hangs just outside room 231, and considering my theory that room 231 is where Jack’s soul ends up in the film, perhaps Kubrick saw in King’s nuns a reference to Jack’s doom. By the time these “sisters” have departed for the season, the hotel will seem unbearably empty to the Torrances. For Kubrick, Danny will continue to encounter the Grady sisters and Jack will quote them at Danny.
- Wendy recalls their honeymoon at Beekman Tower in New York (originally conceived as a hotel and club for college sororities), since its art deco style resembles the Overlook. The Boulder apartment contains a novel about a famous burning tower, and the lobby contains a magazine referencing the Tower of Babel. Danny will have read her thoughts on the next page (67), but interprets Wendy’s words as “the beak-man place”. Of course, Danny is associated to birds in the film, but I’m also wondering if that was meant as a light invocation of the notion of masks. A “beak-man” could be something like a plague mask, for instance.
- Wendy reflects that the hotel could be a good place to have a “family honeymoon”. This struck me as lightly incestuous in tone. Why would you want your child on a honeymoon? Of course, in olden days, it was considered wrong to give birth out of wedlock, so even the concept of a family honeymoon wouldn’t make antiquated sense.
- Ullman says he expected them closer to 3pm, and Jack says he wanted to give the “Volks time for a nervous breakdown” meaning they’re early. Volks is German for “Folks”. The Donner Party had a nervous breakdown of sorts as they traveled through the mountains, but also, though we’re not told the earliness of the hour, if it’s before three, it could be around 2:17, say. The entire Hallorann experience will occur before Ullman starts the tour 24 pages from here (pg. 90), so it’s not beyond consideration. And this is far from the only time that number will subtly show up.
- A woman named Mrs. Brant (described as a “dreadnought” in a “black feather boa”) makes a fuss near reception, invoking the fact that her husband died on the roque court. At this point on the opposite side of the novel (pg. 382), Jack is being handed the roque mallet by Grady to kill his family. She’s assuaged by Ullman in a moment, who she describes (on page 67) as not being “an utter Philistine”. The Philistines were the people genocided by Samson, who is referenced in a painting that hangs near reception in the film. That painting happens to resemble the opening shot of the film, and the opening line of the novel is Jack hating Stuart Ullman. Here, Ullman is showing his mastery at his work – something Wendy is quick to admire.
- Danny tells himself to watch out for “something called Redrum” on the same page as he observes a sign reading “R-O-Q-U-E” which Jack compares to croquet. So we have a word buried inside another word (c)roque(t) on the same page as a REDRUM invocation. Jack offers to teach Danny (who he earlier said he’ll be teaching to read), which Danny responds to colourlessly, saying he might not like it. I just thought that was cute, and worth pointing out.
- They see a topiary with the following animals – rabbit, dog, horse, cow, lion. By the next page Jack is explaining his former life as a greenkeeper for a woman who kept a hedge made of playing card shapes – spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds. So Jack kept a hedge exactly like the hedges of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (a story that will be invoked a few times throughout the novel, but particularly as Danny goes into room 217). Does that make him a “Jack”? If so, that’s a good way to express Jack’s lack of “main character” status. Something Kubrick does with Julius Caesar.
- I just wanted to mark that Danny notices the “aspen” trees around the hotel. There’s aspens in a painting inside Suite 3.
- I said it before, I’ll say it again. Jack recalls Watson’s words about the “fuckin’ moon” here. Putting it near the Alice reference that would connect us to room 217. So King was connecting 217 to the moon too.
- There’s no hedge maze in the book, but the playground has an exact replica of the hotel, model-sized, for playing. They’re observing it for the first time from the lobby windows. Kubrick put his model labyrinth in the lobby. I have a theory that three recurring postcards connect the labyrinth to the hotel and to the US Forest Service, as a metaphor for life. So perhaps Kubrick saw King’s playground (absent in the film) as a kind of life metaphor. The big thing that happens there is Danny going down into a concrete tunnel and hearing a spooky voice there. So perhaps that’s a birthing metaphor.
- Danny regards the road back to Sidewinder as a “long black snake”. He even thinks of how it would connect to Boulder. My theory on these city names is that they reflect the old and new testament of the bible. So invoking that on page 69 could be a way to suggest how going to the moon was what ultimately shattered humanity’s relationship with religion. We finally did the thing that mythologies had promised was impossible for so long.
- Danny catches Mrs. Brant having a thought as she leaves satisfied from Ullman’s inner sanctum. It’s about wanting to get into the “car-man’s pants” as the bellboy (car-man) helps her to her “big silver” car. So we have another instance of an older woman craving after a younger man (à la Mrs. Massey). But I also wonder if this “car-man” bit is where Kubrick’s repeating “Carson” motif comes from.
CHAPTER TEN: HALLORANN
- Wendy envisions that Hallorann should look like “a forties musical comedy star”. I haven’t ID’d the people in the photos that hang around the hotel, but the Kubrick Archive mentions that they’re all of “famous people”, and many of them look like headshots and glamour shots of famous stars of that era, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if this came from references like this (there will be others as Jack researches the history of the hotel).
- Hallorann tells Danny “You ain’t gonna stay up here all winter” as the intro to a joke about stealing him away to Florida with him. But as first lines of dialogue go – and ones being spoken by one psychic to another, no less – you could have something less prophetic sounding. And less accurate, as it turns out. The Torrances make it 63 days into their Overlook experience (September 30th-December 2nd) and fall short of winter by 19 days.
- As Hallorann lays out his course for escaping the Overlook for Florida, he mentions how “Gate 32” at Stapleton airport will get him there. Page 32 is Danny being introduced to the word REDRUM, and the Beatles album strewn across the floor, which, as we’ve covered, connects to Danny’s escape.
- The place Hallorann says he’s going is “St. Pete’s” which gives the feeling of Christian heaven. He’ll invoke “paradise” on the next page (73), when he invites Danny again.
- Dick asks Wendy here if she’s a “Winnie or a Freddie”, something Kubrick associated to Wendy’s four horsemen trials, which is how she escapes the hotel. Wendy’s next thought about Winnie-the-Pooh comes on page 123. That’s the AT code for The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, which is like a mash-up of The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, two fables that will appear later. You can read all my findings about King’s page numbers connecting to famous fables here. But also, a few lines later here Wendy invokes Hansel and Gretel in the “trail of breadcrumbs” line, and the AT code for that is 327, and this is page 72. For what it’s worth, the AT code for 32 is for the story One Bucket Up, One Bucket Down, in which a wolf jumps into one bucket that pulls it down into a well in order to rescue a fox who was down the well in a second bucket. Kubrick attaches the 237 ghost to the notion of foxes, and Jack to the notion of wolves. So that could be part of why.
- Wendy remembers the Donner Party and cannibalism again for the first time in 11 pages (62), while being amazed at the food stores of the place. She then imagines them stranded like “creatures in a fairy tale” before recalling Jack breaking Danny’s arm.
- Wendy imagines Jack falling down the elevator shaft and cracking his skull. The “elevator game” (pg. 223) is something Jack’s father Mark played with him, a game that sometimes resulted in Jack getting injured by the drunken, older man. So perhaps Wendy is dreading that Jack will reconnect with his childhood traumas, when she ponders this (absurd) possibility. Kubrick connects elevators to all the death of history, so I don’t think this is an idle possibility.
- Their breath in the walk-in freezer is compared to “comic strip balloons”. Later, as Jack’s remembering his father’s abuse against his mother (pg. 225), he recalls that his mother said, “Who’s got the newspaper? Your daddy wants the funnies,” after he caned her once, splitting her scalp, then seven more times (something Jack’s brain makes a point of pointing out), and on the next page Mark Torrance tells his wife he’ll give her all the canings she wants and “two extra”. That’s a 2, a 1, and a 7. And Danny has just entered 217 a few pages before as we’re reading this. On page 217. But yes, it seems like Hallorann’s tour is bringing out a lot of concern that would connect to Jack’s childhood trauma. The King family stayed at the Stanley Hotel in 1974 (a trip that inspired this novel), and this is page 74. Coincidence? Perhaps.
- Jack notices Dick’s god-like way of knowing Danny’s called “Doc”, and Dick sidesteps it quickly before shooting Danny his first shine thought (Sure you don’t want to go to Florida, doc?). So this positions the “eye scream” moment right next to all the subtle notes about Jack’s childhood trauma. In my analysis of the film, the eye scream connects to Herakles being made aware of his own demigod status, something that leads to him killing his family, and then having to atone. Jack, whose father never had to atone for his gross abuses, spends most of the novel wrestling with his own guilt.
- Hallorann’s listing of all the amounts of things in the hotel starts here and goes to page 76. All together they make 480 if you multiply the numbers (a dozen (12) ten (10) pound bags = 120) instead of just adding their whole values (12 + 10 = 24). I you just add the values you get 362. Anyway, I’m not sure what this would mean in either case. Page 362 is a page after the start of Dick’s drive to get the snowcat, when Wendy heads down to make some food, fearing Jack has lost his mind, which Danny assures her is okay to do. This leads to her confrontation with Jack, and locking him up in the pantry on page 372. I suppose that’s not nothing, but it lacks poignancy somehow.
- He also jokes that the 30 white loaves and 20 dark loaves of bread are a sign of the Overlook’s efforts at “racial balance”. I also forgot to mention that Hallorann’s afro was described as “beginning to powder white” on page 71, which reminded me of Watson’s “popcorn” style hair. Wendy’s hair will much later be described by Danny (pg. 169) as “corn-coloured”.
- We learn Jack was born in Berlin, New Hampshire. The last time Berlin was invoked was possibly through the bottle of Olympia that helped kill Lorraine Massey (pg. 22). That invocation brought to mind the Olympian Jack Torrance who competed in the 1936 Olympics. So maybe the first invocation of Berlin was the first time we saw Jack’s full name, on page 3.
- You know, if Jack symbolizes the defeated ex-Nazi Germans recovering from WWII, this could explain why Burda is one of the first things he passes on his way to the interview. As though the hotel is saying, “Don’t worry! The Germans recovered! All is well!”
- Speaking of Herakles, Hallorann lists “rainbow” trout among the fish stores.
- Hallorann “gravely” informs Wendy not to skip Thanksgiving or Christmas, or at least that she should celebrate them in style. This is like his comment on the next page about how “You got to be regular if you want to be happy”.
- Hallorann says he’s “runnin’ a bit late”. Earlier he imitated Bugs Bunny. The White Rabbit of Wonderland fame was “late” for “a very important date”.
- Dick calls Watson “the foulest talkin’ man you ever ran on” and Jack reflects that his own father was the actual foulest talkin’ man he ever ran on. So that’s more Mark Torrance subtlety.
- Hallorann says Watson’s grandfather, who built the place and had money once, “got a bee in his bonnet about the place”, which lead to the family’s ruination, and Bill Watson being lowered to the caretaker position, which they all agree is a shame (despite the fact that Jack’s caretaker job is more odious and less prestigious than even Bill’s). Jack will find a wasp’s nest in the roof (bonnet) of the hotel (pg. 105), which is the first thing we see happen once the Torrances are alone in the hotel, and it leads to Danny’s first physical abuse of the story, when the wasps come to life and sting him, echoing Jack’s ancient abuse of the boy, and Wendy’s fear of that abuse. The grandfather is said to have “plugged his finger into a light socket” meaning suicide, sometime right before the Great Depression. But this also nicely invokes the Watson name “son of light”. If you’re a child of light, a lightbringer, you might just kill yourself if things don’t go your way.
- One of Watson’s boys is said to have died in a riding accident during construction, circa 1908/1909. There’s an album in the film for the 1975 documentary One By One, about Formula 1 drivers competing in 1973 (the deadliest year in history for the deadly sport) and how frequently they die from driving. There’s two big death scenes in the doc, where you watch men roast alive, and it’s pretty traumatizing. This reference to a driving death comes two pages after page 75, but maybe that’s why Hallorann’s “runnin’ late”. I don’t know.
- Dick asks Jack to use “traps not poison” if he does in fact see any rats, like the ones Ullman thinks are everywhere around the hotel. This reminds me of the whole Trapper’s Camp phenomenon.
- As they move through the dining hall that will bring them back to the lobby, King describes a rolled up carpet leaning against one of the corners of the room, “like a sentinel on guard duty”. There’s one such carpet behind the head of Danny in every shot of him seeing the Grady twins. And they’re just about to notice (same page) that the three nuns from before (pg. 65) are gone now.
- We find out it’s been half an hour since they’ve been with Dick. So, since the tour will commence after the Dick/Danny chat of the next chapter, it’s very possible it was around 2:17 when they arrived.
CHAPTER 11: THE SHINING
- Danny has a moment of “manfully” trying not to grunt as he helps Dick with his luggage to the Plymouth Fury. This reminded me of the Hercules subtext, since Jack earlier called Danny “the world’s strongest man” outside his Beetle (pg. 34), and the Hercules subtext has to do with the strait of Gibraltar, which subtextually connects to the idea of western conquest. The Plymouth Fury was named for the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock. Danny even recalls during this moment the way Tony warned him not to come here 23 pages earlier (pg. 57). Also, Hallorann refers to his real car, a 1950 Cadillac, as his “Bessie”, which is english slang for a cow. And cows are a major factor in the Pillars of Hercules. After hearing this, Danny “managed to carry it the last ten or twelve steps without grunting”, and the Pillars of Hercules were a component of Hercules’ tenth labour, which was supposed to be his last, before two more were tacked on by the ruler of the day.
- Hallorann says “You shine on, boy”, as if referencing the Lennon song, but bringing the concept of shining into the book on page 80. Probably a coincidence, but the film did come out in 1980, introducing the concept to everyone too busy to read the book.
- Hallorann says he’ll be 60 years old next January. So he’s a Capricorn or an Aquarius. I don’t know which of those I like better, but if it’s the goat, it would make him a possible mirror of Jack’s minotaur status. And if it’s the “water bearer”, that would connect nicely to the notion of the body slumped in the bloodfall being Hallorann’s corpse.
- As Hallorann describes the shining, we learn that his grandmother had it, and so get a kind of flip side to the idea of alcoholism’s hereditary evil. If the shining is hereditary, maybe not everything we inherit is so bad.
- The film was filmed in the Ahwahnee hotel, a word inspired by a Miwok word, meaning “mouth”. Here, Hallorann describes the shining as the ability to converse without opening mouths. In the next line, Danny’s “openmouthed” expression is interpreted as “almost hungry” by Hallorann, and in the next paragraph, Wendy “opened her mouth” to say something about Danny being in Dick’s car to Jack and doesn’t.
- Wendy describes Danny’s fascination with Hallorann (to herself) as akin to his fascination with the TV. I’ve noted many times that the shining is akin to screen media.
- Hallorann says he’s only met around 60 shiners in his lifetime. One for every year of his life?
- Dick’s laughter at Danny’s unintentional joke is described as “cannonfire” which leads to him dabbing his eyes with the “white flag of surrender” that is his handkerchief. At 2:37 in the film, Jack is driving toward Heavy Runner Mountain, named for chief Heavy Runner, who was shot dead while running toward genocidal maniacs waving his white safe conduct papers. I link the number 237 to the concept of work, and Jack’s work is to kill Dick in the film.
- The car-man that Mrs. Brant was lusting after is named “Mike”, which happens to be the name of one of Jack’s brothers (pg. 222). His other brother is Brett, which is part of a chain of names in the book that sound like Brant.
- Danny’s requested shine is described as a “Nolan Ryan fastball”, linking shining to the notion of sports.
- Danny mentions how Jack’s going to teach him to read this winter. A skill that will come in handy at turning REDRUM into MURDER.
- Danny tells about stopping a kid who was thinking of stealing a radio from a store. Ironically, he stole thoughts out of the kid’s head, just as the kid would have been stealing the ability to take the thoughts that come through radio waves.
- Also, the connection is drawn between shining and dreaming here, between the two men, and not much is made of it, besides Danny comparing it to a machine whose complexity could either be a sign of its goodness or its wickedness. That simply reminds me of the complexity of the film and novel; I’ve often wondered similarly if the machinery of King and Kubrick has a net good or bad result when studied this closely.
- Danny describes Tony as “really real”. This reminds me of the lyrics from the One By One soundtrack, “Tell me/Are you really really real?”
- Hallorann gives an explanation of the shining that includes biblical and scientific references. This reminds me of the Mark 13:29 phenomenon.
- There’s a thing across this chapter about Danny wanting to stuff his thumb in his mouth, heightening the mouth imagery, I guess.
- Hallorann says the strongest prophetic shine he ever had was in 1955, when he was stationed in West Germany. If Hallorann will turn 60 in January of 1978, he was born in 1918, and would’ve been 37 when he got this shine. Jack passes a painting of a German Shepherd (which are bred in West Germany) exactly when 37 seconds of a song called Masquerade starts playing in the distance, from the ghost ball. His shine was about how his brother died in Georgia, and my theory about the German Shepherd painting is that it, and another dog painting nearby, represent the real Grady girls who were murdered in the hotel. So there’s a murdered sibling theme here too. Also, he talks about how he sees “Sirens” as part of his dead brother shine, and behind Larry Durkin in the movie is a copy of Sirens & Lights. Of course, Durkin doesn’t die in the film, but Hallorann does, and in the mirrorform, as they talk, Danny is passing 237 for the first time, which involves 238 opening behind him, something I consider to be the first indication that Hallorann will be absorbed by the hotel. So maybe Durkin had a flash of Dick dying in the film, and brushed it off as a common sense reaction to the danger of his mission to get up the mountain.
- Also, he contrasts this accurate prophetic shine with an inaccurate one that happened “four years ago”, which would be 1973, when Dick would’ve been 55. So that’s 1955 and 1973, when Dick was 55 and 37. He also says that this was the strongest shine he had in “about five years”, which would mean the last strongest was in 1968, and this is page 86. Also, we learn that Dick smells Valencia oranges right before receiving a massive shine, and there is a 1967 book called Orange Wednesday that appears only very briefly, and almost impossible to see, beside the doctor in Boulder. This book appears at 15:20, 15:37, and 15:47 while the doctor is explaining away shining as “autohypnosis” then asking if they’ve been in Boulder long, and finally as she’s asking about the “appearance of Danny’s imaginary friend”. The mirrorform moments for the three book appearances are Wendy realizing she can escape the Suite 3 bathroom thanks to Dick (“autohypnosis”; 15:20), and Danny climbing in (15:37) and running to (15:47) the steel drawer hidey hole in the lobby back hall. And the section of the film called WEDNESDAY starts with a massive close up of the orange carpet outside 237, right before Danny will be lured in. So there’s a neat tying together of the two major bathrooms of the film, and of Danny running into hidey holes (237 is where Lorraine Massey “hides” if you will). Also, and this might be irrelevant, but the city of Valencia, for whom the oranges are named, had a major civil war in 1521-1522. So the book first appearing at this time code could be a nod to how the Revolt of the Brotherhoods was defying the rule of King Charles V. Hallorann mentions that his dead brother’s name was Carl, a name with the same etymology as Charles.
- Actually, I should mention that Carl was killed by a train, and Wendy was thinking about Trouble in Mind 39 pages ago (pg. 47), which involves the narrator suiciding by way of the 2:19 train. So perhaps Carl’s death was a suicide. That might explain why Kubrick’s real Grady was Charles Grady, who satisfied his own mind with “both barrels of a shotgun”.
- Hallorann describes the shining as a “crazy late show”, and Jack mimics the opening line of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when assaulting Wendy. The mirror moment is Wendy explaining how Jack broke Danny’s arm, so Orange Wednesday is still in the room. Also, the first time Jack appears in the film, he seems to be passing the actor John Carson, from Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are, and Danny receives his first major warning about the hotel while Carson City is playing behind Wendy (a movie about the building of a railroad). So there’s a whole lot of “crazy late show” subtext appearing between beginning and end.
- Also, Dick’s tenure in West Germany was 6 years before the Berlin wall went up. And Jack is from Berlin, New Hampshire.
- Hallorann brings up using the shining to win at the race track, and the film has a profound connection to F1 racing. But he also says that, while there have been some wins, sometimes he comes home on “shank’s mare”, a phrase meaning he had to walk home. The horse is himself. And movie Hallorann possesses a profound connection to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Also, two pages ago, Danny gets Dick to help him define the word “nightmare”, and movie Dick has that connection to the knights of Raymond Smullyan. On this page, Hallorann will use nightmares as a basis for describing the horrors of room 217.
- 217 is mentioned for the first time, in conjunction with a maid named Dolores Vickery who was fired by Ullman for seeing the ghost of Lorraine Massey and freaking out. I’ve yet to find any reference to a “Vickery” in the film, but there was a Joyce Winifred Vickery, a botanist whose skills were called upon to solve a murder in the 1960s. She was the discoverer of a few strains of grasses, which puts her in the Darwinian business of differentiating species. And room 237 contains Darwinian artworks. Though Winifred Torrance never does set foot in the evil room. Also, the word “Vicker” is closely connected to the word “Vicar”, which was a type of priest. So I wonder if this could be a sly allusion to Abbey Road.
- Hallorann describes Vickery as a “maid”, a word Danny misinterprets to “maiden”, right before Dick says that the horrors of 217 are like “pictures” in a book, which Danny will connect to the French folktale Bluebeard on the next page. So it’s almost as if Danny’s mis-rendering is him grasping what Dick’s going to say before he says it. Shining without realizing.
- I’ve already covered the issue of Bluebeard here and here, if you’re interested, but yes, it first appears here, and then on pages 169–173 and finally on page 215, all connected with appearances of room 217.
- This is also where we learn that Wendy shines “a little” and Jack not at all, according to Hallorann. Movie Wendy’s shine moments are very subtle, and Kubrick also didn’t have Jack join Wendy for the kitchen tour, meaning that, when she notices Dick’s use of “Doc” Jack isn’t there to be equally befuddled.
- Wendy shouts “Hey, doc!” at the bottom of the page. Jack finds this weird poem written on an old menu way later on page 214, in the hotel basement, that starts with the line “Medoc/Are you here?/I’ve been sleepwalking again, my dear./The plants are moving under the rug.” This is the last thing anyone else is doing before Danny begins to enter room 217. I’ve been wondering about this “poem”, and if the “Medoc” is meant to echo the various cries of “Hey, doc!” that Jack and Wendy make throughout the book. As for the name, it’s the name of a west coast French town known for red wine. But it’s also the name of a town in Missouri, named for the Modoc people of southern Oregon and Northern California (I’m not sure how “Modoc” became “Medoc”, but there it is). So the word would seem to be a reference to redrum and indigenous peoples, two things Kubrick considered heavily.
CHAPTER 12: THE GRAND TOUR
- Wendy compares herself to a “bit player who accidentally wandered back onstage” to describe how the bond between Danny and Jack makes her feel like an outsider. And goes on to think that the solitude of the winter will make a main character out of her. Since Jack has come here to write a play, and since that roughly autobiographical play is the portal through which the hotel seizes his mind, this comparison is fairly apt.
- Wendy compares the Overlook to a school, thinking that “school’s out” for everyone but she, Jack and Danny.
- We learn that the head clerk’s name is Braddock, and that’s all we learn of him. Since Hallorann said “Bessie” in the last chapter, I wonder if this could’ve been a reference to Bessie Braddock, although I don’t have a reference for her in the film. Matt Braddock was a fictional bomber pilot, and Ullman is compared to bomber pilots during this moment in the film. Also, it’s interesting that there would be that “doc” sound in his name.
- Ullman tells Braddock that May 12th, not a day earlier or later, is when he’s expected back. If we consider this as 5/12, and look at jumbles, pg. 125 is Danny tripping out to a Tony vision, pg. 152 is the first page of chapter 18, The Scrapbook (which involves quite a few dates of its own), pg. 215 is Danny approaching room 217, and pg. 251 is the first page of chapter 30, 217 Revisited, with Jack re-entering 217 after Danny’s voyage. I’m not exactly sure what this would mean, though. Movie Ullman seems to want Danny to enter 237 and to trigger Hallorann’s doom, so perhaps this is book Ullman’s association to the actions that bring the Torrances down.
- A few references have set up the Titanic image that Jack introduces on this page, where the Overlook is described as having portholed doors and elevators outlined in copper and brass. The Titanic went down in 1912, and when movie Danny sees the Grady twins in the games room (between the tour of the lounge and suite 3), they have a poster behind them possibly commemorating the 1912 Denver flood. Also, 1912 is a 1921 jumble.
- After Ullman reassures them about the elevator’s, Jack says, “The plane ain’t gonna crash, doc.” This would eerily echo something Hallorann told Danny a few pages before (pg. 86), about how his false premonition was that his plane would crash, and it didn’t. Of course, Hallorann’s rescue mission will involve a plane that doesn’t crash. But the Overlook will explode, so Jack is technically wrong in his prophecy here, despite its symbolic similarity to the Hallorann story. The momentary illusion is that Jack might have some shining power after all, and maybe that’s what Danny is wondering, having just heard Hallorann invoke this imagery. But Danny would be wrong.
- Also, we’ll learn much later (pg. 223) about something called “the elevator game“, which was where Jack’s father Mark would whip little Jack drunkenly through the air, a thing that was sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful, depending on Mark’s grip. So it’s interesting that the first real danger faced by the Torrances in the hotel would come in the form of this elevator ride. Wendy gets some fearful visions of the three of them getting stuck between floors and their corpses being found, frozen, in the spring. Of course, the boiler would’ve exploded long before then, but if her fears were even remotely valid, there’s no reason it mightn’t have happened here with Ullman. It’s true that Watson will be waiting later to leave with Ullman, but he could’ve gone ahead on his own had Ullman taken too long.
- Wendy remembers the Donner Party for the third and final time across the past 30 pages (pg. 62, pg. 73).
- Wendy notices the “jungle” theme in the deep blue floor runners, as well as the “silhouettes” of “exotic birds”. There’s quite a few instances of backlighting in the film, including in one of the paintings inside 237, which possesses a unique association to mothers and their sons. And of course, 237 also contains some exotic bird art, not to mention striking rug designs.
- The first stop on the tour is the Presidential Suite, room 300. Page 300 of the book is Wendy finding the confetti, streamer and cat’s mask in the mis-operating elevator car that she’s boosted herself into. On that page Jack will feel as though the cat’s mask is staring up at him, with the carpet acting as the eyes. So it’s interesting that both these pages would focus on the living nature of the carpet, and on the dangers of the hotel’s elevators. Also, the film tour starts with the gang emerging from an elevator and Ullman telling about the four presidents who’ve stayed at the Overlook, and leading them to Suite 3, where a painting by a man named Delano is the first thing we see.
- The word “timberline” appears here while describing the breathtaking view from the suite. The real hotel that served for the Overlook was the Timberline Lodge, which was dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937. It’s also described as “picture-postcard” which is what one of the Room 237 theorists describes the opening of the mirrorform as.
- Danny witnesses “great splashes of blood” around the bedroom. And, as detailed in the section looking at Aarne-Thompson codes, Danny and Wendy pass a piece of cardboard during the tour with 1012 written on it, which is the code for when a story features a “flood” made of “human fluids”, like blood. And here we have a similar vision appearing right after disembarking from an elevator during the tour.
- I also like how Danny’s gasp at seeing the blood goes unnoticed by Jack and Wendy who are gasping at the view of the mountains. I think this is a heavily recurring theme in both the book and film: you couch one thing inside a similar thing, and people don’t notice what’s really going on. Like, I’ve seen (and written) redrum so many times it’s almost baffling to me that someone wouldn’t just intuit the word’s meaning at this point. Like, why wouldn’t the collective unconscious alone ruin the surprise for new viewers? But I think it’s because the story opens with Ullman telling Jack about Grady, and you know that the set up is “will Jack or won’t Jack turn into another Grady?” And so even if you did figure out the redrum riddle before the end, you’ve already been primed for murder to factor, and you might discard its significance to the story without thinking.
- I’ll probably never remember to update this, but Danny describes the blood splash pattern as looking like “a crazy picture drawn in blood” of a face of a man screaming in pain. I’m wondering if one of the yet-unidentified paintings might seem to relate to this later. But also, this description reminded me of the film’s poster, with the face inside the words, reeling in horror.
- The hallways are described as ones that “twisted and turned like a maze”. That’s a good Masque of the Red Death bit.
- Danny misinterprets “suite” as “sweet”, and reflects that he can’t see any “candy” anywhere. That’s a good callback to the Hansel and Gretel theme that started on page 72.
- Ullman brings up Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller as having been guests once. Since orange has been such an important motif lately, this reminded me of one of Miller’s most famous lines in Death of a Salesman: “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit!” But yes, Jack is a playwright, and Wendy has blonde hair, and Danny connects these figures to the dreaded notion of DIVORCE. This is a neat moment of Danny’s ignorance factoring on the audience, because we know something much worse than divorce befell Monroe, and we wonder if this spells doom for Wendy.
- I feel obliged to mention how Danny suppresses an “iron scream” during this bit. And I couldn’t help seeing that as “eye urn scream”/”eye scream”. Movie Danny is offered his “eye scream” during the tour.
- Ullman mentions that Truman Capote was a guest. Capote is best known for In Cold Blood, which is apt. But he was also gay, as Watson suggested Ullman might be. The film doesn’t feature much gay material that I know of, except for a novel considered the first Australian gay romance novel, No End to the Way, appearing in Boulder.
- Danny finds himself frightened by a fire hose “folded back a dozen times on itself” near the elevator. He’ll be attacked by such a hose outside 217 on page 172. But anyway, yes, this image reminds me quite a bit of the mirrorform, the Twice-Fold, and the seven-times-folded Shining. On the next page he’ll compare it to a “sleeping snake”.
- Danny realizes that he has a gift for knowing the way things work as he studies the fire hose. He connects this to Jack telling him he has a NACK. Hallorann described the shining as a “knack” on page 81. So the shining has to do with knowing how things work.
- Ullman tells that the windows of the Presidential Suite cost $420 to replace in 1947, and would cost $3360 to replace these 30 years later. On page 420 Danny is talking to Tony about how the Overlook has taken over Jack’s mind, leading to him breaking through a “placental womb of sleep” into the real world where he finds that he’s been on the “rug outside the Presidential suite”. On page 336 Dick is boarding flight 196 to come to the rescue, and this is page 96. On page 196 Danny is fretting about how THE MEN IN THE WHITE COATS will come and take him away for being afraid of folded fire hoses and seeing blood and brains in the “Presidential Sweet”. This includes a moment where he imagines Jack calling the men in white coats and telling them to come to “149 Mapleline Way”, and on page 149 Dr. Edmonds in Sidewinder is responding to Jack and Wendy about Danny’s episode in the Suite 3 bathroom, telling them how he thinks Danny might have grown “into” his apparent childhood schizophrenia instead of “out of” it, as he seems to be doing now. So we’ve got a neat little network here comparing shining ability to madness. Also, 149 happens to be exactly one-third of the way through this 447-page story.
- Wendy reflects that Roosevelt might have stayed in the Presidential Suite.
- It’s noted that the second floor has “even more twists and turns” than the third floor.
- Danny learns that Hallorann slept in Suite 3 during his work year, along with an apprentice named Mr. Nevers. Nevers is the name of a city in France near an F1 racing circuit, and with a historic connection to Julius Caesar.
- Also, Nevers reminds me of Never Never Land. Jack says, “Wendy? Darling? Light of my life.” as he chases her up the lounge stairs in the film, and Peter Pan’s Wendy was named Wendy Darling. It’s thought that Barrie was inspired by the nickname for the Australian outback: the Never Never. So perhaps that’s another nod to the homoerotic nature of two men sleeping in a room together, by way of the No End to the Way Australian novel reference.
- On page 117 (the closest thing to 7-11) Wendy is calling Jack the “Eugene O’Neill of his generation, the American Shakespeare” while Jack is reading a copy of E. L. Doctorow’s first novel, Welcome to Hard Times. The film version of that novel featured Lon Chaney Jr. who also appeared in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein where he played the Wolf Man. Danny references Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on page 97 (though he calls it “Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters“) when he expresses amazement at the Suite 3 dumbwaiter, and the “secret passage” it creates between floors. This is how Ullman informs them that the kitchen is directly below, which definitely doesn’t jive with the Tower of Fable layout, but I don’t think that matters much. Incidentally, Wendy was noticing at the beginning of this chapter (pg. 91) that the kitchen was just “beyond” Ullman’s office. So I guess that means they sleep close to there, too. Also, Jack tells Al Shockley that he looks like Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera on page 42.
- There’s a bit about Jack wanting to push the “twin beds” together. Movie Jack is often compared to the Grady twins.
- Danny falls in love with the “hideous” rug here that contains “western sage and cactus” imagery. I wonder if that was the inspiration for the Delano painting.
CHAPTER 13: THE FRONT PORCH
- Ullman’s car is a Lincoln Continental. Ullman described Truman Capote as having “Continental manners” (pg. 95). While Wendy feared sleeping in the same bed as Abraham Lincoln on the following page. Also, JFK was assassinated while riding inside a Lincoln Continental, and as we’ll see in the chapter where Jack finds a strange scrapbook in the hotel basement (pg. 152–166), several of the clippings in that scrapbook refer to days from real history that have to do with the JFK slaying. And President Truman also comes up in connection with one of the clippings (pg. 154), so Ullman linking a “Truman” to the concept of “continental” might be an early indicator that Ullman is aware of what the hotel will want from Jack: the assassination of his own family.
- The reference to May 12th occurs on page 91, 99, and here. So there’s two references 1 page apart and two references 9 pages apart. And on page 19 Watson releases steam on the boiler, bringing it from 102 to 91 pounds of pressure. He tells Jack it’s rated to 250, but would blow long before that now. I’ve considered the jumble value of 5/12, and sure enough the last of these is 251, the page where Jack enters room 217. So, as Jack’s story passes 250, the number of no return, he encounters the thing that really traps him in the lie that will doom him forever: Lorraine Massey.
- Also, it’s worth noting that the Torrances will only make it to December 2nd, which can be rendered as 2/12, which is like the REDRUM version of 5/12.
- Wendy remarks that Danny’s nose is “running like a fire hose”, before shuffling him inside, which perhaps shows her authentic low-level shine power. She’s unconsciously associating Danny’s physical signs of wear with Danny’s unspoken psychological fears.
PART THREE: THE WASP’S NEST
CHAPTER 14: UP ON THE ROOF
- The first thing we see happening after the Overlook is left to the Torrances is Jack doing the one big job that was invoked multiple times near the start of the novel (pg. 20, 31): re-shingling the roof. And in the first paragraph he’s noting how the trapdoor to the attic is locked from the inside, which is something Danny will encounter near the end (pg. 423), that he can’t escape the possessed Jack because the trapdoor is locked. In the film, there’s numerous phenomenon that seem to refer to other points in the story, like the postcards at the 1/3 mark that look like a mashup of the first and last images in the film. Or the painting of Maligne Lake that resembles the first shot in the film. Kubrick famously eliminated all trace of Jack doing real work for the face-value hotel, keeping everything focused on the desired work of killing Dick.
- When movie Wendy is seeing the blowjob bear in the conquest well, the door beside her point-of-view bears the number 105, same as this page number. And that sequence comes right between Jack killing Dick and beginning to chase Danny, and him reaching the door to the outside world, to begin the maze chase. So, if King is deliberately tying the beginning and end together on this page, it’s perhaps on point that Kubrick would’ve found a way to incorporate the number somewhere. Also, Jack is getting stung by the wasp’s nest, which he’ll bug bomb before it magically comes back to life, and in that moment of the film, Wendy is seeing her first evidence of ghosts in the hotel – something that happens multiple times before then in the novel’s story.
- Jack notes that it’s a 70-foot drop from the edge of the roof to the ground. If this is taking place in 1977, as I believe it is, we should note that it’s 70 years back that the Overlook was built in 1907. He notes that the wasp nest is between him and his escape ladder. The film is replete with Jacob’s Ladder references, which is believed by Hebrew scholars to reflect years (rungs on the ladder = years). So, this subliminal reference to the hotel’s origins might be a sly nod to how the wasp nest is symbolic of the many dead the hotel has absorbed. Also, I want to note that 70 pages back from here (pg. 35) features Jack imagining the roof of his beetle getting snowed in, and then imagines that three beetles stacked on top of each other might still get snowed under. And 70 pages forward (pg. 175) is Jack arriving in Sidewinder to research the hotel’s origins at the library. All three of these pages happen to be the first pages of chapters 5, 14, and 20, though I’m not sure what the significance of that is.
- It’s October 20th (10/20 = 30) and 30 pages ago is when Hallorann warned Wendy not to miss Christmas. Here, Jack is reflecting on how Wendy took the Overlook truck (a Dodge) to do Christmas shopping and buy “three gallons of milk”. You might recall that earlier, Wendy was putting out milk and cookies. Also, Jack reflects on how 30-degree mornings have been the norm the past 3 weeks.
- Jack yells “Bombs away!” as he throws down shingles. Lots of bomber pilot imagery in the film. But the novel has already created a connection between bomber pilots and Derwent, so perhaps this is the novel’s way of suggesting how deeply Jack has become a man of the Overlook. Also, shortly after this, Jack notes that he got the “bug bomb” for just such an occasion as this. So there’s a lot of yin-yang stuff going on here. The VW is called the “bug” so bugs have an association to the Torrances. And Jack was “bomb”ing when he got stung by this thing that he will “bomb”.
- Jack begins to ponder his success at starting up work on his quasi-autobiographical play, The Little School, again. He sees a cruel headmaster, Denker, as representing his troubles, and the young student Gary Benson, the play’s hero, as himself. Another subtly ironic inversion, given that he’s fully able on the next page to analyze his motivations for brutalizing George Hatfield, but unable to see how it puts him in the “cruel tutelage” position. Also, Denker could be a reference to Henry Denker, a lawyer-turned-playwright, who is thought to be the creator of the first-ever TV series, False Witness. This would seem to tie nicely to movie Jack’s own awkward relationship to screen media. Denker also wrote the script for the TV movie, The Choice, which featured 30 seconds of footage from a real heart transplant. That seems to speak to the One By One subtext. And this could be pure coincidence, but the guy who wrote the book and screenplay for Summer of ’42, Herman Raucher, had a line in his 1978 novel, There Should Have Been Castles, where a character tells another that they aren’t anywhere near the level of a Henry Denker. Raucher’s novel came out after King’s, but during the early stages of Kubrick’s production.
- I should also mention that “Denker” is German for “thinker” and “Ben” is Hebrew for “son”, and is used to mean “son of” in formal names (ie. Benjamin ben Benson). So on a purely etymological level, King’s names are interesting here: the “thinker” is going to abuse the “son of the son”.
- Jack imagines that he could have a finished version of his play ready for New Year’s. Movie Jack is readying a Playgirl with a giant reference to New Year’s on its cover when Ullman and Watson arrive for the start of the tour. So, not exactly the same moment in the plot, but these references are coming in the first scene of Jack being stuck at the hotel in both stories.
- Jack’s agent is a woman named Phyllis Sandler who smokes Herbert Tareytons. I found a Herbert Sandler who was the co-head (with his wife Marion) of a thrift bank called Golden West, one of the most admired in the world. I wonder if that was a subtle reminder of the golden view of the western hills that Jack would take in from the Overlook’s roof, but anyway, there’s no cross-reference to any of this in the film that I yet know of. There does seem to be a cigarette ad on the back of the Playgirl, incidentally, but it’s unclear.
- Sandler is said to idolize the socialist Irish playwright Sean O’Casey (who she recommends Jack read as a primer to his own work). There’s no overt reference to O’Casey that I’ve yet found in the film (in fact, curiously, movie Jack possesses only novels and non-fiction writing to my knowledge – even the Shakespeare volume is technically the part of that series that deals with Shakespeare’s life, and is not a reproduction of his drama), but it’s probably worth pointing out that O’Casey’s first major collaboration was with the Abbey Theatre, and then the Apollo Theatre for his play The Silver Tassie, which was directed by Raymond Massey, who appears as the villain in Carson City, which plays behind Wendy as she hears about Jack getting the job. (I also want to note that that play bears a reference to the “era of John Singer Sargeant” being over, and there’s some art in the lobby back hall that I strongly suspected was Sargeant’s work for a while, so in case that ever turns out to be so…) O’Casey’s work was fiercely critical of imperialism, and the suffering caused by war.
- Sort of a small point, but I like how King describes the wasp’s nest as a “grayish paper ball”. Since he’s mulling over his hopes to finally conquer his own writer’s block, it’s fitting that this thing, responsible for interrupting his thoughts regarding the conclusion of his play’s third act, should look like a symbol of writer’s block: the crumpled paper ball. In the corresponding sequence for movie Jack, he throws a ball repeatedly at the wall of the Colorado lounge. A ball that will symbolically arrive again from room 237, gliding over a hexagon (wasp’s nest?) styled carpet, after Jack throws his at a rug with a 2x3x7 diamond design.
- Jack compares a wall wasp to a “pencil stub”.
- Jack draws a connection between wasps and the unexplained “7 percent” of car crashes, called “foo crashes”, where it’s likely that the best explanation is that the driver was swatting at some painful bug and lost control. First of all, it’s an interesting inverse of the story from exactly 70 pages ago now (here Jack imagines a wasp causing some other roofer to forget that they’re “seventy feet up” in the air) where Jack and Al crashed into that riderless bicycle. But also, the term “foo” could be a subtle invocation of “foo fighter” a WWII-era military term for UFOs. Jack will make multiple references to the “martians” being friendly, as a way to soften the reality of his relationship with martinis. So we’ve got a little daisy-chain of references interlocking addiction, art and suffering. The wasps are like the invading aliens, causing these “foo crashes” – it’s an ironic way to blame the “other” (in this case, nature) for the various sufferings and conflicts we endure.
- Jack then goes on to regard the nest as a “symbol” for everything he went through at Stovington – that the Hatfield drama was something that happened to him, not something he took an active role in. But by this standard, everything bad that happens to you (that you don’t consciously sit around designing malignantly) is something out of your control. An attitude that almost renders the thinker something like half-dead – if you can’t be held accountable for your temper that causes you to get down on the ground and pummel a child bloody, what can you be held accountable for? The mirrorform has a similar effect on movie Jack’s story: if the only way to analyze The Shining is backwards/forwards, then Jack was dead from the start.
- Jack reflects that there were other alcoholics teaching at Stovington. He zeroes in on one “Zack Tunney”, and there’s an etching outside 237 of an indigenous man that might be a reference to another indigenous man from the same tribe, Tunnipareway, who was also known as “Jack of Cape Grim”. Zack Tunney. Jack Tunni. There’s also a painting up from 237 the other way which I suspect to be the work of Charles Tunnicliffe.
- Jack imagines himself as not being diseased with alcoholism, but defective with it. He pictures himself as a “greased slide” with “a shattered, ownerless bicycle” at the bottom. That struck me as another good way of connecting the 70-foot drop to the 70-page drop back to the bike story.
- He recalls that a “neighbour lady” spanked him when he was 7 for playing with matches. In the film, Delbert Grady “corrects” his daughters for trying to burn the hotel down with a pack of matches. And on page 7 is when Jack first hears the Grady story from Ullman. This leads to a scene of his father Mark spanking him further and giving him a “black eye”. We’ve already seen the mirrorform black eye that Wendy gets while describing Jack’s abuse of Danny. But also, Jack’s first thought of his father was 33 pages ago (pg. 76) while talking to Hallorann. I like how Hallorann is the first person Jack encounters who eases him up enough to allow his brain to process a memory of the nightmarish Mark Torrance, and now, being up in this beautiful place, he’s processing more, putting together more the story of his abuses and his abusery. As horrific as its consequences are, the Overlook is a kind of therapy for the Torrances.
- He goes on to reflect that he tried using football as an outlet for all his confused rage, a game that was referenced at the top of the page in the “Zack Tunney” passage (Tunney zones out on the weekends, draining a keg alone while watching football games). The film references football in a few subtle ways, with all the Snoopy imagery in Danny’s bedroom, and then by the foosball game tables in the games room, seen behind Danny when he’s throwing darts (the first shot of him inside the hotel alone), and to the side of the twins in the shot of Danny seeing them.
- Jack decides that describing his troubles as The Great Wasps’ Nest of Life is a lousy “image”. But as a “cameo of reality” he likes it. I have a theory about the two women who bid Ullman farewell during the tour, that they are in fact two women who appear in other media seen elsewhere in the film. Are they a “cameo of reality” in that moment? But I also like how this suggests that both King and Kubrick were intensely aware of their Jacks seeing their lives as indeed what they are: Jack Torrance is a character in a novel, and he sees his life as if it is something unreal. In his world, the wasp’s nest that did just sting him is but a “cameo” of reality. How can reality make a cameo unless you’re otherwise dwelling in a fantasy? But Jack Torrance takes his name from a real person, who both King and Kubrick seem to reference through the “Olympia” connection. I mean, that Jack Torrance was a footballer, and here Jack was just meditating on his own footballing. And Kubrick seems to have dropped in a few references to the real Jack Nicholson, which I’ve largely interpreted to be subtle ways of reminding the A-list actor of his heyday, and poking fun at his aging. But perhaps this is why there’s so much of that. Reality keeps making its “cameos”.
- Again, Jack contemplates the role of pain in forcing someone to act uncivilized and beyond reasonable control. He pictures the “seventy feet” image twice, and sure enough, 70 pages ago (40) there’s still descriptions of the bicycle accident and highway 31. Oh man, highway 31 is referenced for the first time on page 38, and for the last time on page 40; 31 pages back from those marks is page 7 and page 9, the first and last pages that Ullman references Delbert Grady.
- Jack also derides the idea that putting your hand in the “wasp nest” of life isn’t the same as signing a covenant with the devil. Movie Jack encounters a certain Red Book.
- And this all ends with the line “from college-educated man to wailing ape in five easy seconds.” If this somehow isn’t a reference to Five Easy Pieces, it’s a nice coincidence, that that film helped establish Jack Nicholson as the great actor of the New Hollywood era. And that it happens to be about the alienation of a genius artist, of a sort that Jack Torrance would doubtless identify with. And that reference to “wailing ape” might not stand out these days, but the further you go back, the more substantial a reference connecting humanity to our evolutionary roots becomes. I imagine this wasn’t a deliberate reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but as we’ll see later, Strauss’s Blue Danube, which Kubrick famously used in that film will be referenced in King’s novel, with a connection to mankind’s propensity for violence. Also, Five Easy Pieces contained the Tammy Wynette song D-I-V-O-R-C-E, which reminds me of Danny’s recurring vision of that fearful word, also seen in all caps.
- Jack visualizes George Hatfield as a young Robert Redford (epic pretty boy of the 1970s). He goes on to connect George to the hero of his play, while in the same breath of thought denying a connection between himself and Denker. But it makes little difference. He’s either abusing his ward of a student (something he’s done much worse in his abuse of Danny), or he’s abusing himself (if he truly sees himself in Hatfield). And the play becomes his way to abstract this confusion of blame. Denker is the wasp’s nest of life that Benson is merely being tortured by: but Jack Torrance is the true author of both. The play is his attempt to force his view of causality on reality. As for Redford, glancing over the films he made before King wrote the novel in 1974-1976, it’s hard to say which he might’ve been most trying to invoke. The Sting would be perhaps the one that would’ve sprung most directly into readers’ minds at the time.
- George is also a “baseball star”, a sport connected to movie Danny in his first shot (there’s a large baseball right behind his head in every shot), and of course to the Louisville slugger-wielding Wendy.
- Jack reflects that competition is to George Hatfield what electricity was to Frankenstein’s monster. Sports are a major theme of the film, I probably don’t need to go too hard into that. But Frankenstein is of course the creation of Shelley, and Wendy is played by Shelley Duvall.
- Jack cuts George from the debate team in March (despite his father Brian’s ability to “pull some strings”). So there’s a slight Caesar reference there, potentially. But I also wonder if Brian is Brian and George is George because of George Harrison and Brian Epstein (the Beatles’ manager, until his accidental overdose death in 1967). George will slash Jack’s beetle. So perhaps, if the beetle represents Jack’s desire to acquire artistic success at the level of the Beatles, George’s assault on it reflects the easy-breezy quality Jack sees in George, with his connected father, and his ability to “float” through his classes at Stovington. And his outrage about the penalty he pays for abusing the young man (who he sees himself in) is the outrage of one who should have ascended to the throne of success against all odds on his raw talent, while others seem to receive it like gifts from above. Of course, George’s father wanted him to be a lawyer, not a writer (just as Jack probably didn’t dream of being a debate coach), so the comparison is hardly apt. But the drink that Grady spills on Jack in the ghost ball is advocaat, named so for the way lawyers (advocates) drink it to sooth their throats before a trial.
- Jack imagines oil-depletion allowance as a topic Hatfield debated on. Five Easy Pieces is about a young piano virtuoso living an unexpectedly shabby life on an oil farm.
- George debates someone named Dorsky, who gets no other description. There’s a famous filmmaker by this name, who only allows his work to be witnessed on celluloid (hence the fact that most people wouldn’t have heard of him), but he hadn’t done much by 1976. That doesn’t mean King wouldn’t have heard of him, but still. If that’s the connection, it could connect to Kubrick’s usage of Catcher in the Rye: the idea of artists who achieved wild success (Nathaniel Dorsky got a Guggenheim fellowship), despite keeping a lid on their actual work, keeping the public from having easy access to their creations (JD Salinger never published any of his post-Catcher writings, which are only currently, posthumously being edited for release by his descendants). This notion of being a talented artist who pulled away from public adulation was probably hard to grasp in the ’70s (for Jack it was likely a fixation) and would be practically mind-boggling in today’s world of constant collective, institutionalized grasping for notoriety.
- The issue between George and Jack is George’s belief that Jack set the timer ahead to ruin his debate speech, when Jack is certain that George’s failing was in his stuttering. So Jack seeing himself in George is not without good reason. George wants desperately to satisfy his father’s demands, and a character flaw is getting in the way. There also happens to be a funny thing in the film of the time between two scenes wildly disagreeing with each other in terms of what time it is. During the tour of the hotel, the hotel clocks jumps back over an hour between Hallorann’s tour of the pantry, and Ullman walking the gang behind the lobby, and on the exact opposite side of the film, the placard tells us that we’re going to be seeing the “8am” portion of the final Thursday, but Wendy’s watch and the same kitchen clock let us know that it doesn’t even reach 7am before Wendy finds the murdered snowcat, a scene interrupted by the “4pm” placard. And the lounge fight is preceded by Dick’s plane flying through the air, where a stewardess tells him it’s due to arrive in Denver at 8:20, but that’s some indeterminate time in the future, and when Durkin gets the call, the clock behind him shows it’s just after 9am. So it’s possible that the 8 o’clock hour almost never appears in the whole section. The only moment that would likely be of that time is the shot of the plane landing.
- Also, the amount of time George fights about is 5 minutes, and that’s how long Wendy says she’ll be back in after talking to Jack in the lounge. In fact, exactly 5 minutes after she says this is the shot of REDRUM interrupting the shot of Tony/Danny shining in on that sequence.
- Jack is described as “dropping the ax” on George.
- George wears Adidas shoes, which Jack hears echo up the hall of George retreats. Adidas has a connection to Hitler and the 1936 Olympics. Did King know that? Seems unlikely.
- Jack denies to himself that he fiddled with the timer, but agrees with himself that if he had, it would only have been to put George out of his misery. That’s a nice murder/suicide kind of concept.
- What’s neat here is that King reuses an older line “He was quite sure of it” in reference to Jack knowing he didn’t fudge the timer. He wrote “He was quite sure of that” on page 111, at the end of the section where Jack agrees with himself that he is not Denker. And on this page he finds himself comparing himself to Denker, when he realizes that he rubbed George’s failings in his face to feel the “sick happiness” that would result. So…did Jack not fudge the timer? Only a fictional character will ever know for sure. In two pages he’s confessing that he would swear “before the Throne of Almighty God” that if he set the timer ahead it was only by a minute, and not from hate but pity. So there’s a nice balance of deals with God and Satan in this fourteenth chapter of ours.
- A French teacher named “Miss Strong” is the one who brings Jack to his senses. I figure that’s another Hercules kind of invocation. That if Jack been a weaker man, perhaps this could’ve been avoided.
- When he comes to his senses he thinks he sees a red splash on the beetle’s fender, as if perhaps he had in fact killed some child. So, violence is Jack’s entry point to the reality of his life. But perhaps he really was imagining the blood as a way to abstract his actual violation of George’s health and safety. Perhaps Jack uses his own imaginary failings to obscure the truth, and avoid the pain of his real ones.
- George said to Jack “You hate me because you know…” on page 113, a line Jack replays on 114 and here. But then he turns up empty on guessing what George meant. We’re left to guess. But I’m reminded of Kubrick including The Door by Mary Roberts Reinhart, one of the early Had-I-But-Known mysteries. I tend to think Kubrick was using it as a comment on Dick and Wendy, but King seems to be using it about Jack. Had Jack only known the kind of man he really is, the kind of man his own doppelgänger knew him to be, then maybe he would’ve understood why the Overlook was a bad idea.
- Jack devises his plan to bomb the bugs so he can give the nest to Danny. He recalls that he had one of his own near his bed all throughout his own childhood, one that smelled “faintly of woodsmoke and gasoline”. This is a reference to his daydream on page 328-329 as he’s watching the boiler tick up to 217 pounds of pressure. Mark teaches him how to use woodsmoke (started by a gascan) to confuse the wasps out of a wasp nest. So Jack is unwittingly deciding to pass on a symbol of Mark’s abuses to his own child. Darkly hilarious is Jack’s next line of dialogue, a statement to himself: “I’m getting better.” When you read the novel straight, this line reads as pathetically, even hopefully, optimistic. But in light of King’s secret passageways of meaning, it’s almost like something out of the Addam’s Family.
- It’s also kind of amazing that it takes 14 chapters to get to one where Jack is alone, with himself. We’ve had a relatively alone Wendy and Danny chapter at this point, but it takes Jack being isolated with the hotel, to finally achieve this level of mental soliloquy. In my study of the F21 photos, 14 means room 237, and Jack’s Last Sane Moment, as I call it, ends at 2370 seconds into the film. So that feels unified. Also, I just think it’s brilliant that only at this moment, when Jack only has himself to dramatize with, that he begins to feel like a proper dramatist.
- Also, I think it’s worth observing generally that we got both a Faust and a Frankenstein reference in this chapter. So King seems to be warring these concepts of fate and freedom, guilt and innocence, instinct and intelligence. Which is a nice reminder of the Tower of Fable elements in Kubrick’s version: story is what Jack uses to try to better understand himself, but in trying to surrender to it completely, he falsely associates his own unique reality with all the details one could recall from either of those stories.
CHAPTER 15: DOWN IN THE FRONT YARD
- Speaking of: here’s where the EL Doctorow book is mentioned (I was discussing it in the pg. 97 notes). I haven’t read it, and probably won’t, but if anyone does, and finds a reference to the tower of Babel or Noah’s ark (Genesis 7:11), and can provide proof, I’d appreciate that.
- That said, Welcome to Hard Times is a western about a flagging township struggling against a local badman. Carson City tells a similar tale, and Kubrick used it to explain Jack’s character, and to help with the hole sewing card phenomenon. So perhaps Kubrick saw something huge in this reference that I won’t see without reading the book or watching the film version. Oh, the Jacob’s ladder song Dream of Jacob is playing while Carson City is behind Wendy, and the Tower of Babel art would be behind Jack while he’s on the phone with her. So there’s at least an axis mundi connection there. Oh, also, Carson City appears at almost exactly 11:00 into the film, which means that it’s 11:07 while we see Jack muttering “I’m at the hotel and I still have an awful lot to go through.”
- Wendy compares her playwright husband lovingly to Eugene O’Neill and William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare bit is well-covered at this point, but we could note how, in the mirrorform, Jack just left the room where the copy of Shakespeare’s life works were sitting. As for O’Neill, there’s a connection to Charles Chaplin through the fact that O’Neill disowned his daughter Oona for marrying Chaplin (much as Wendy feels a break from her mother over her love for Jack), and there’s the awesome coincidence that Jack Nicholson played O’Neill in his next film, Reds (1981), which got him an Oscar nomination. There’s also the Neil the Frog objects that appear all over the Boulder apartment, which, therefore, appear right before Carson City appears. Also, there’s a painting in room 237 of a bird named for a Greek myth about a husband and wife (Ceyx and Alcyone) who are turned into kingfisher birds as a result of having the gall to refer to one another lovingly as “Zeus” and “Hera”. I’ve often wondered if Wendy comparing her unaccomplished husband to the most worshipped playwrights of all time is what inspired Kubrick to include the reference. Are Jack and Wendy being punished by the gods for having unrealistic concepts of one another, being too praising?
- Danny has obtained a “violent violet Volkswagen” toy car. King describes it as having “’59 Cadillac Coupe de Ville” taillights. Hallorann’s prized car, his “Bessie”, was a Caddy (pg. 80). And Hallorann turns 60 next January (pg. 80). So perhaps Danny’s happiness here is being compared to the quiet war inside him to be more like the lovable Dick, and to honour the (VW-driving) father he worships. Danny goes on to say that Wendy said Jack would help him build this VW as soon as Dan can read his first Dick and Jane book. If the “violent violet” reference is meant to echo REDRUM, this would jive with the idea that Jack “teaching” Danny to read is tied into his “teaching” him about the meaning of violence, and conquest, and all that jazz. It’s interesting that this all begins once Danny gains this appreciation (and fear?) of white supremacy (if that’s what identifying with Dick Hallorann equals).
- Also, Danny got himself a “bug”, while Jack is about to give him a present that he recently “bug bombed”.
- Jack moans that he’s a “dray horse” and then Wendy compares him to an “ox”. This would make him the male to Hallorann’s female – Dick calls his Cadillac his “Bessie”, a common term for cow. And he compared himself to a horse (“shank’s mare”) on page 87.
- Jack mentions that his bedtime tuck-in-time with Danny involves discussions of Santa being real, and that Danny’s Jack & Jill Nursery School friend Scott might be the one who “let some pennies drop on that one”. Scott was first mentioned on pages 14 and 26. Christmas was last referenced on pages 75 and 105. The strongest reference to Christmas in the film is a giant book by Wendy’s head in Boulder of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Books. I don’t have a strong “Scott” reference in the film yet, unless the “Scottish” Skip to My Lou song (which does come in tandem with Danny’s thoughts about the Jack & Jill school) is meant to tie to that.
- Wendy laments that Danny’s eating has waned, and that he used to eat like a steam shovel. These were devices famous for their use in the construction of railroads throughout the 19th and 20th century, and the plot of Carson City is about the construction of just such a railroad. Jack replies that he read in a book by famed pediatrician (and Olympian!) Dr. Ben Spock that boys “taper off” for a spell in their youths. He then says that Danny will be “using two forks by the time he’s seven”. That reminded me of the painting in the lobby of the St. Maurice, a river that forks twice as it joins with the St. Lawrence. Also, there seems to be an oblique reference to the concept of child-rearing by way of a particular book in the Boulder apartment. Also, King doesn’t use Spock’s first name, so we don’t get that ring to remind us that Jack’s play hero is named Gary Benson. Son of Ben. Perhaps this is what King was implying: Benson represents a child raised by real psychiatric theory (also, Ben Spock advocated for giving children all the love and things they desired, a view that was criticized by Norman Vincent Peale, who felt that this was a good way to lose the Vietnam war, and so forth).
- Wendy mistakes the wasp’s nest for a “brain” as Danny brings it up to her. That struck me as another nice Frankenstein reference. But what else that does is connect the idea of Jack’s wasp metaphor to the notion of what goes on in a brain: thoughts. Jack wrestles with whether we can be held accountable for what sharp, stinging pains make us do, ignoring the fact that our own minds do this to us constantly. Should we not be held accountable for our own thoughts? So, when Jack “bombs” the nest, and even when the wasps come magically back to life, this makes a beautiful metaphor for the way that memories of Jack’s abuse of Danny and his alcoholism will be the recurring Achilles’ heel that drives those little wedges between husband and wife, father and son. There’s also a cool thing about how alcohol “kills” your thoughts, just as Jack killed the wasps – he tells Wendy that he had such a nest as a child, and we’ll learn later that it was his father who taught him how to “smoke out” such a brain/nest. Just as Danny will grapple with what Jack taught him in Doctor Sleep.
- Jack jokes that the wasp sting on his finger merits a “purple heart”. That seems like another Ceyx/Alcyone thing, him pretending to be a war hero. And that purple reminds of Danny’s Violent Violet bug.
CHAPTER 16: DANNY
- Wendy compares the sound of Jack’s typing to “machine gun fire from an isolated pillbox”. Another war hero reference, it seems.
- She reflects that perhaps Danny’s “scary speed” at learning to read is the result of 4 years of Sesame Street and 3 of Electric Company. It might be a coincidence that Electric Company did a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the show also featured Road Runner shorts, made with the special intention of helping kids to read. I don’t think I have a reference in the film to Sesame Street yet, though there is the work of a cartoonist named Oskar, whose works appear during three scenes which might have something to say about Jack’s status as a “Grouch”.
- Wendy reflects that “each key typed” closed the door on Jack’s “roomful of monsters” (his dark past). Right after that, Danny reads out a line from his reader book: “Look, Dick, look!” Of course, Danny will be urgently asking Dick Hallorann to look and see when Jack’s roomful of monsters explodes outward again (on the opposite side of the novel), engulfing the family. Wendy and Danny will try to lock monster Jack inside the storeroom’s door. A door that will itself magically open.
- Wendy notices the way Danny’s reading workbooks contain the world apple and a picture of an apple. There’s a tonne of apple juice in the storeroom, and the word apple appears all over the many boxes. As discussed in the “story room” analysis, Kubrick embedded the codes for numerous fables in the SKU numbers, so there’s a similar vibe connecting children’s stories and apples. Snow White is a children’s story that involves the evils of such apples, and Wendy’s fear here might subtly connect to the hotel’s wicked witch, and her designs on her son. In fact, while Danny’s getting so abused, Wendy is dreaming sweet, dozy dreams on page 221, a number that is the inverse of this page.
- She also reflects that “Dick, Jane, and Jip” are the “holy trinity” of such primary readers. I thought that made a nice connection between Hallorann and Christ imagery.
- Danny is reading “Run, Jip, run” and “run, run, run” and finally “see the ball”. The word ball is a bit of a struggle, and one that he triumphs over with enormous glee. In the film, the concept of balls is fairly wide-ranging. There’s the tennis ball that Jack’s throwing around during this same sequence of him being alone and sane at the hotel – a sequence where Wendy also chases Danny into the maze, while chiding, “I’m gonna getcha! Better run fast! Dun dun dun dun dun dun!” Then, there’s the ball that lures Danny into room 237 (a thing that ties to Dick’s doom, the Dick who was being asked to “look” on the last page). There’s the ghost ball that impresses a burgeoningly homicidal Jack so much, and there’s the skeleton ball that frightens Wendy so much. In the novel, Wendy and Jack and Danny all “see” evidence of the ghost “ball” together, and the idea of them being able to see it is what drives another wedge between Wendy (whose sight frightens her) and Jack (whose sight amazes him). So it’s neat that King’s first instance of Danny learning to read involves this mildly prophetic phrases.
- Speaking of Aarne-Thompson, the first (counting from the start of the list) of the major AT codes for one of the major fables seemingly referenced in the film is 123, for the fable The Goat and the Seven Young Kids. My research has connected this to the usage of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which seems to operate as a stand-in to suggest the way that that fable is thought to act as a kind of bridge between The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. So perhaps it’s fitting that it would accompany the first open reference to Winnie-the-Pooh here. There’s also a reference to “Spiderman comic books”, and he was another figure who appeared on The Electric Company.
- Wendy does reference Hansel & Gretel 51 pages earlier (pg. 72), and 51 pages from here (pg. 174) is the end of Danny escaping the evil firehose outside room 217. The firehose that reminded him of one of his favourite TV shows, the 1972 series Emergency!, which appears near Danny’s bed in Boulder. In fact, Danny’s Emergency! lunchbox is seen with an accompanying thermos, where we see the two main paramedics with their Station 51 caps on. So this leaping 51/51 business might be something Kubrick noticed.
- As Wendy frets about Danny growing into his own, individual person, she scans his room, seeing these various kiddy objects, including a pile of untidy “Lincoln Logs”. These were the invention of John Lloyd Wright, and it’s been frequently cited (with no visual proof I’ve ever seen) that the Gold Room bathroom is modelled after a Frank Lloyd Wright (John’s father) hotel bathroom design. That would mean that the hallway Wendy runs up to find the bloodfall would also be visually influenced by the Wright design. The set for that hallway in the same set as was used for the lobby’s back hall (see below), where Danny hides in the steel cupboard, seeming to echo Hansel & Gretel. So if the Wright connection is accurate in the film, this might explain why Kubrick felt the need to connect it so covertly to the other fable reference.
- It might also explain why the gold room bathroom is an impossible structure, Jack and Grady making two right turns to walk back into the same room they just came from (passing through the mirror that Lloyd the bartender is standing in front of when Jack saunters up). Because this is the hotel’s version of such a fairy tale fantasy for Jack. That said, these are “Lincoln Logs” and we’ve heard that name twice already: Ullman drives a Lincoln (pg. 100), and Wendy was frightened by the notion of sleeping in the same bed as Abraham Lincoln (pg. 96) in the presidential suite. That was the place where Danny saw the great gouts of blood, and movie Wendy will see her great gouts of blood after walking up this Wright-inspired hallway. Also, Lincoln Logs are so named as a reference to both Lincoln and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel that, in its day, represented an anti-slavery attitude, but has since come to be critiqued for its establishment of racial stereotypes. This reminds me of how Kubrick had labyrinth Jack screaming out the lyrics to the 1921 play Bombo, in which Al Jolson would perform, in blackface, the part of a slave taken by Columbus to discover America. Nowadays this looks like a hideously barbaric practice, designed to suppress African-American culture. But at the time, Jolson was doing something that was considered radically anti-racist. Also, there’s a toy that seems to be a golliwog, laying around when Jack throws his tennis ball, which has a similar history of starting out a misguided, hurtful gesture of affection for black people, and has since become the target of denouncements. And on page 198, chapter 22 will begin with a passage from Bad Moon Risin’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose original band name was The Golliwogs. And Wendy is just about to imagine that Danny will soon have posters with “dope-smoking rock singers” on them someday soon. Kubrick included an album by Steeleye Span, seen in Hallorann’s Florida apartment, right near the centre of the film (we’ve just passed the 1/4 mark of the novel), whose prior album was called Now We Are Six, which is taken from a Winnie-the-Pooh book of the same name. So Kubrick is hinting at how the rock-n-rollers were children once too, and haven’t forgotten that (also that Hallorann is one such music appreciator).
- 124 is the AT code for Three Little Pigs. Wendy mulls over the wasp’s nest, before getting distracted by the sound of Danny’s running water, and notes that Jack is lost “in the world he was making” with a cigarette in his mouth. That struck me as another nice connection to Jack’s father “smoking out” the wasps. But also, one of movie Jack’s only references to a fictional world is when he does his Three Little Pigs bit. And book Jack’s play is called The Little School. I imagine this connects to Daniel Torrance’s work as a train conductor at “Tiny Town” in Doctor Sleep. We never see Danny’s vision in the book, but movie Danny sees a torrent of water in his bathroom vision (a vision that, again, takes him near the “Wright” hall). Here, we just get multiple references to the “running water” in place of what should be her son’s response to her calls.
- Oh, we don’t see Danny’s vision, but the boy does seem to be narrating a dream about a game of roque. He says, “Roque. Stroke. Redrum.” Drawing our attention to how things can be buried in other things, like the sound of “roke” within “stroke”. This was done before (on pages 6, and 68) when Ullman and Jack describe the difference between croquet and roque. Movie Danny is wearing a sports shirt during his vision, and the vision is of a bloody elevator. As we’ll see later, Jack links his alcoholism to what he calls “the elevator game”, something he did with his father (pg. 223).
- Jack screams at the bleary Danny not to stutter, though neither Danny nor Wendy, and possibly not even Jack, will understand that this comes from his desire for Danny not to be Benson, and for himself not to be Denker. Danny’s episode interrupted Jack writing The Little School.
- Wendy witnessing Jack’s wrath feels like she’s entered a nightmare where “time ran backward” back to the moment of Jack’s worst abuses to date. She’ll invoke this phrase again (“time-running-backwards”) on the next page, 127, which is our first 217 jumble. So saying it first here throws us off a bit for noticing the jumble phenomenon. And in case you’re wondering what backward-time/mirrorform has to do with room 217, that is the room where Danny experiences the worst physical abuse the hotel has to throw at him. An event Wendy mistakes for a real going back to that moment, thinking Jack has returned to his old ways.
- Wendy tries to soothe Danny with “nonsensical words repeated over and over”. This could be meant to echo REDRUM or All work and no play.
- Also, Danny does shine some of the truth about Benson out of Jack’s mind here. The bloodfall hall features a painting by AY Jackson.
- I covered the significance of the jumble here at the beginning of this page.
- The other thing to note is that Danny rejects Wendy’s offer to read him a soothing story, asking instead for just the nightlight and Jack’s solitary attentions. If Jack represents the harsh reality of reality to Danny, perhaps he asks for Jack because he knows that his vision has something to do with his father’s darkness, and thinks that studying Jack will help him be prepared for their eventual conflict. What’s more, he then reveals to us that the nightlight bears the design for Snoopy, from Peanuts. Kubrick put Snoopy all over the Boulder apartment, but that’s where those references ended. My feeling about this is that Snoopy was meant to echo the Apollo 10 lunar capsule, which bore the same name. If you read the intro about the jumbles, you know that there’s a fair bit of moon imagery surrounding the 217s and 237s in the book and film.
- Danny tells them he went “through the mirror” to get after Tony. When he’s in room 217 he’s having moments from Alice in Wonderland rip through his mind, a book whose sequel was called Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Also, again, Jack and Grady walk through Lloyd’s mirror to get to the gold room bathroom.
- On that note, at the top of 128, Wendy reflects on how Danny had never wanted a “nightlight” before, and then calls his face a “small white circle”. She attributes his desire for one to their arriving at the Overlook. The Snoopy capsule was known by the code LM-4, while the Apollo command and service module (nicknamed Charlie Brown) was known by the code CSM-106. The first page number of the Torrances alone at the hotel is 105, which was the CSM right before the Apollo 10 mission. The Apollo 11 mission was accomplished via the CSM-107, and the numbers 105 and 107 appear as the room numbers closest to the blowjob bear mask room. In the mirrorform, these numbers float over (105) and in (107) Danny’s head as he’s asking for the vision from Tony about the Overlook. Also, the painting next to the 105 room is (likely) by a relative (or an admirer) of a painter nicknamed “Moonlight Pether”.
- Wendy remembers Danny saying he went through the mirror as a King-style thought-blurb that interrupts this moon imagery. So, going to the moon for mankind was like what Alice went through entering a mirror world. It was the moment when we as a species were finally able to grasp our place in the cosmos, but it rendered us unable to ever see ourselves quite the same way again. Up became down, black became white.
- Danny asks what redrum is and Jack says that “red drum” sounds like “something an Indian would take on the warpath.” The REDRUM of the movie comes right before Jack’s axe slams into suite 3, and the last thing we saw him doing before that was talking to Grady with a giant Calumet can behind him. Calumet being a peace pipe.
- Jack feels his love for his now-sleeping son push “through him like tidal water”. Recall that on page 11 we learned that their neighbours in Boulder were Tom and Elaine, and that this might likely be a reference to Tombelaine, a tidal island, near the better-known Mont St. Michel. There’s a painting in the Conquest well that I believe to depict Tombelaine or Mont St. Michel, which would, again, mirror over Danny’s vision of the bloodfall. It’s strange that Jack’s love would make him more Tom & Elaine-esque. He does, right on the heels of his love, wonder why he would yell like he did. Tom & Elaine were known for their screaming matches.
- Before the break Jack imagines that Ullman or Hallorann must’ve explained the rules of roque to Danny and that’s how the boy understood so much. This reminds me of how many people have had to concoct absurd explanations to wrap their heads around Kubrick’s arch complexity (I know some see me the same way). And while I do tend to think that my research has turned up the most compelling interconnections and patterns and codes, there will always be a touch of faith in whether or not believes in my theories, or in the theories that say “there are no ghosts!” or “the moon landing was faked!” or whatever. Jack’s situation is as absurd as a Gothic horror story can be, but he’s reacting like a real adult person, unable to see his situation for the work of fiction that it is.
- After the break, Wendy perceives Jack and Danny (I think) as silhouettes when she and Jack come back to tuck Danny in again. At the bottom of the page Jack is saying “there’s no place else I can send you” meaning her mother’s, to whom he plans on sending her and Danny if things get bad. I have a theory about a running series of visual oddities that I believe are making reference to The Wizard of Oz. I won’t go through the whole thing here, but it has to do with certain visuals in the film that backlight, and make silhouette-ish imagery out of the characters involved. In Oz, there’s the famous line “There’s no place like home”, which Jack seems to be echoing here (“There’s no place else…”). And there’s also a running series of references in Kubrick’s film to the concept of what home really is, and how the Overlook seems to want to co-opt that. So it’s telling that book Jack doesn’t see the Overlook as “home” just yet.
- Jack regrets that he ignored Ullman’s warning and brought his family “40 miles from nowhere.” Forty pages back was the start of Ullman’s tour of the hotel, forty pages forward is Danny meeting room 217 for the first time since passing it on Ullman’s tour.
- After a break, Danny is in a dream, where he calls the hotel’s corridors “mazelike” while noticing the blue and black jungle rug again.
- Hearing the scary voice of his future, hollowed-out father, Danny compares it to a “tiger” in an “alien blue-black jungle. A man-eater.” The tiger imagery in the film seems mainly connected to Tony and Hallorann. Though Jack does stand with his back to a box with Tony the Tiger on it, before Dick takes Danny off for eye scream. Also, since it is Jack, this is our first cannibal reference since 38 pages ago when Wendy had her final (of three) Donner Party memory. And isn’t 38 connected to Jack killing Dick?
- Danny has his first impulse to “remember what had been forgotten” something that Tony will urge him to do when this sequence is playing out for real at the end. Kubrick has It’s All Forgotten Now play over Jack’s head in the Gold Room bathroom, perhaps to finalize the hotel’s grip on him, and its transformation of him into one who does forget. Danny’s lessons and escapes show how he remembers, and how that memory is what saves him. Our ability to remember not only all the details in King’s or Kubrick’s artworks, but also the histories that those details allude to, is what will save us (one hopes) from repeating the worst atrocities of the past.
- Danny has this funny bit of narration where he feels his heart leap into his mouth like a “hot lump of ice”. How can a lump of ice be hot? Seems like an absurdity to me.
- He calls his pursuer a “human tiger”.
- He gets more of these roque-stroke thoughts, and I wondered if that’s why movie Jack wields an axe. Jack’s…axe…Jack’s…axe…
- He hears the Jack-thing’s voice as “hoarse”, which is a word that will be used several times to describe hollow Jack’s evil calls later on. I suspect that’s a Four Horsemen trick.
- He encounters a cul-de-sac in the west wing, just as he and Wendy encounter the “dead end” in the maze, during this same phase of story.
- He feels his heart pounding like a “rabbit”, which is something the novel is constantly invoking with the “Doc” references. But it’s during his third lesson, 57 seconds after the end of the maze lesson, that Danny passes the painting of the rabbit outside room 237. That painting does appear on the west side of the lounge, even if my Tower of Fable theory was somehow wrong.
- The wave of resurrected wasps are said to fall on Danny in a “dark flood”. Also, if the wasps are indeed symbolic of thoughts, how cool that they would resurrect while Danny is having the book version of film Danny’s lessons and escapes? In Danny’s dream, he’s foreseeing his father devolving into a beast version of his former self. And here we have beasts symbolic of intelligent thought. Danny’s intelligent thought, perhaps. Also, recall that it’s while film Danny is passing that rabbit painting that he’s triking across the wasp’s-nest-style hexagon carpet for the first time (41:14-41:23).
- Jack tells Wendy to grab a “magazine” to kill the wasps. I thought that was interesting, since there are numerous magazines in the film, but none appear in conjunction with the wasp carpet. There is what appears to be a colouring book under the TV in the kitchen scene which comes right before the first shot of the wasp carpet, though. If that’s what it is, it appears next to a couple toy trucks that Danny will have around him in a half-moon curve before he’s summoned into the deadly room. One of these is a SWAT van, and that’s what Jack and Wendy are doing here, swatting zombie wasps. Also, Wendy is hearing about “that missing Aspen woman” and “Aspen” sort of looks like “wasp”. Also, the last time Wendy saw one of Danny’s colouring books was on page 123, and here we are on 132. The AT code for the fable Bluebeard is 312, and that’s what will be on Danny’s mind as he enters 217. I also have a theory that the Overlook absorbs Jack into room 231 in the movie, a room that Danny passes on his third lesson (starting at 41:32).
- Jack is described as racing down the stairs “two by two”. Danny was described as doing this on page 118, and I overlooked it, thinking it might be an anomaly. But one of the big subtexts to the film is the album One By One, which Jack will seem to invoke to Lloyd on page 239. I guess I’ll keep an eye out for these going forward.
- Jack traps the wasps under a “Pyrex bowl”. In room 237, Danny and Jack pass a painting of the pyrrhula pyrrhula (bullfinch) (72:12-72:23), whose name, like “Pyrex”, is invoking the old Greek word “pyr”, meaning “fire”. Fire is indeed what will help solve the Overlook’s ghost problem by the end of the novel. Also, Pyrrha is an ancient Greek myth character who is thought to be the inspiration for Little Red Riding Hood. And here’s a cool thing: Pyrrha and her partner Deucalion are Greek myth’s version of Noah and his wife from the bible, they survive a great flood that kills everybody else. Her name comes from fire/orange, and his name comes from wine/sweetness. How close is orange wine to red rum?
- Jack notes that the wasps have left little “holes” in his wife and child. His one short story that was ever published was Concerning the Black Holes (pg. 48). I believe Kubrick put this into his sewing card imagery. Also, Jack likens the look of them to “red pepper” sprinkled over their bodies. In the film’s storeroom, Jack is multiple times seen next to boxes advertising “PIMIENTO PIECES” which are red peppers. One is beside his head during the entire final Grady chat, and as you can see here, they float over Wendy and Danny during their togetherness here. As the scene goes to Hallorann’s tour of the kitchen, now he’s the one overlapping the pimientos.
- The doctor will later count 11 stings in Danny, we’re told. I wonder if that’s an invocation of the Tom and Elaine bit from page 11 again. Of course, movie Danny will be wearing a giant 11 on his sweater when he’s next seen on the wasp-rug.
- Jack compares Danny’s swollen hand to a Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck character. George Hatfield put “holes in our bug’s tires” Danny once remarked (pg. 13). Also, this might be the only time Danny is actually compared to Bugs Bunny. Every other time, someone else is calling him “Doc”, meaning the speaker is Bugs.
- Jack says he wants to take pictures so he can take the bomb people to court. There’s some mild lawyer imagery in the film, like how Grady spills a drink named after lawyers on Jack (Advocaat). In the book, we know George Hatfield’s dad wanted him to be a lawyer (pg. 111), and we know that Lorraine Massey’s husband was a lawyer (pg. 21). Whoa, those two page numbers almost add up to this one. Also, there’s a fair bit of camera imagery in the film, like the CAMERA WALK sign, and how Wendy and Danny take cameras into the hedge maze. There’s a camera on a table beneath Jack when he first enters the hotel, and Danny seems to have a weird camera beside him at breakfast in Boulder.
- Wendy’s spray bottle for Danny’s hand is described as resembling a “chemical fire extinguisher”. Book Danny will be attacked by a fire hose outside 217 on pg. 172.
- Wendy’s painkillers (aspirin = like “Aspen”?) are “orange-flavoured”. Dick smells oranges before a shine (pg. 86). Perhaps the invocation of “Pyrex” and its connection to “orange” is meant to suggest the way the hotel is “shining” at all the Torrances now. I mean, there was Danny’s vision of the blood splashes in the Presidential Suite (pg. 93–94), but those pages also contain a reference to Arthur Miller, whose arguably most famous play, Death of a Salesman, has “orange” in its most famous line: “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit!” Also, Danny pops the five aspirin into his mouth “one by one”.
- Jack imagines he’ll win $55,000 for the 11 stings. Later, on page 327, he’ll imagine that his life insurance would get Wendy and Danny $80,000. So Jack has a mentality about jackpots and get-rich-quick schemes, it seems.
- Jack goes to photograph the Pyrex bowl and sees it coated with live wasps. He guesses fifty, maybe a hundred of them. Fifty pages back (pg. 85) is the start Dick telling Danny about his orange-smelling vision.
- Jack gets a repeating thought about losing his temper echoing in his mind. A delayed version of Wendy’s nonsense babble from earlier.
- Jack slides the wasps onto a jigsaw puzzle to carry them outside to freeze them. On page 9 he told Ullman that Danny would have lots of puzzles to get him through the winter. So it’s neat to think of a puzzle being what partly delivers Danny from his attackers, and again, if they represent thoughts, it’s funny to think that a puzzle is both something that requires a fair bit of thought, and something that could hold off other thoughts. By the way, if there’s any puzzles in the movie, I haven’t found them yet, but there’s a good few unidentified boxes on Danny’s Boulder shelving. Oh, also, it was 9 pages ago that Jack screamed at Danny not to stutter, and here he’s reliving himself doing that, with confusion. It was also 9 pages ago that Wendy made her soothing babble.
- Jack reflects on having seen the white smoke come out of the bomb, and shaken out the dead bodies. He’s shaken that the things his own father taught him about the world (smoke will deal with wasps = addiction will numb life’s pains) may be wrong. There’s a tonne of imagery in the film about fathers and sons, and mothers and sons.
- In trying to understand how the wasps spontaneously regenerated, Jack dismisses thoughts of “seventeenth century bullshit”. The Masque of the Red Death, however, has roots in 17th century bullshit, and that’s a thought that will toll in Jack’s mind many times from here on out.
- Jack finds a thermometer outside (behind the kitchen) where he puts the wasps down to freeze advertising 7-up. Right before the cut to the wasp rug, Wendy is making her fruit salad with cases of 7-up behind her. He also notes that the “mercury” stands at just below freezing. Danny plays with a Matchbox Merc on the wasp rug.
- Jack compares the possibility of more wasps nest hiding under the eaves to “deadly fruit”.
CHAPTER 17: THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE
- The doctor’s name is “Just call me Bill” Edmonds. Of all the names to have significance, I would bet this would be a major one, but I don’t have a reference for any “Edmonds” yet in the film. There was a painter named Francis William Edmonds, and a sculptor named William Edmondson. The painter painted Mt. Vesuvius, which would likely be the connection, except, again, after a light journey through his life’s works I’m not seeing anything but his sketches of faces that’s reminding me of anything from the film. Food for thought!
- The doctor tells Danny he’ll hook a bunch of wires to his head, to do an EEG. So, for starters, that links nicely with all the puppet imagery we’ve seen earlier on, and will continue to see. But also, the main composer, whose works appear more than any other’s in the film, Krzysztof Penderecki, used something called “graphic notation” to instruct musicians on how to perform his works. In particular, the composition of the song Polymorphia was inspired by seeing the lines on an electroencephalogram (EEG). This song first appears in the film when Wendy goes to face Jack in the lounge, ending when she goes to find the murdered snowcat (a 732-second period of time) and coming back as she walks in on the slaughtered machine, and then coming back nearer the end to follow up the murder of Dick, and accompany Wendy’s arrival at the top of the Conquest Well, seeing her bear reflection. If you saw my documentaries, you’ll recall that the two gaps between the two Polymorphia blasts perfectly encapsulate the two instances of Danny receiving a shine on the opposite side of the film. So Kubrick used a song inspired by brainwave activity to suggest how the hotel tries to control their minds, or to suggest that the hotel has its own kind of mind.
- Danny compares the procedure to The Six Million Dollar Man. This was another thing that The Electric Company parodied, in The Six Dollar and Thirty-Nine Cent Man.
- When asked if he’d like to be Steve Austin, Dan replies that if he short circuited he’d be up, as Jack liked to say, shit creek. The painting outside room 231, where I think Jack ends up in called Battle of Sisters Creek.
- Also, general thought: the number 157 seems to have special significance in the film, since, when you think of this amount as seconds, you get 2:37-worth of time. If this same logic applied to the book, 137 is 2:17 seconds. Later on, we’ll see that Danny enters room 217 at the very bottom of 216, so that 217 and 218 feature him moving through the evilest room. So if 137 were like an alternate 217, it begins with meeting a doctor named Bill who will do what he can to help the Torrances not take Danny’s shine powers seriously. Danny’s nickname is “Doc”, and Watson’s first name is Bill. I don’t think we’re supposed to think Bill Edmonds is an agent of the Overlook, but his rational mind disables the Torrances from not only recognizing Danny’s true nature, he sets them up to get fully taken advantage of by the hotel’s worst aspects. Perhaps, besides being a skeptical man of science, he represents the way the parts of the world that aren’t actively trying to destroy us still play a part in our abuse or downfall.
- Danny tells the doctor he knows what epilepsy is thanks to another child at the Jack & Jill Nursery School having had it. The boy’s name is Brent. This seemed like an echo of Mrs. Brant (pg. 67–70), the fussy lady who wants to get in a much younger man’s pants.
- The doctor asks if Danny has ever smelled oranges, or sawdust, or a rotten smell.
- The doctor’s nurse is named Sally. That seems like a “Susie” echo, but I don’t have a thought beyond that. I’ve seen that people believe the interview in the film with the doctor is like a clone of the interview with Jack, but I think they’re more like opposites. It’s more Jack who’s interviewing Ullman and the Doctor who’s interviewing Danny and Wendy.
- Danny offers up his arm “for sacrifice”, to a tuberculosis shot. That reminded me of the Aztec temple imagery.
- Danny tells Edmonds that Tony is “eleven, maybe older” and “maybe old enough to drive a car”. Page 11 is the first time we see Danny in the novel, though Tony doesn’t come up until page 28. And maybe this is incidental, but the first time Danny sends a shine to anyone is to Dick on page 82.
- Danny says Tony showed him the “wild animal park in Great Barrington”. This is likely a reference to the Mass Audubon Lime Kiln Farm, in Massachusetts. The film is laced with paintings by artists similar to Audubon, like John Gould, Basil Ede and JF Lansdowne. To date I haven’t found an actual Audubon, but there remain several such unidentified works. Most of these are in or near room 237. The implication being, I suppose, that psychic phenomenon might be something that can one day be understood thanks to such scientific interest. In his interview with Michel Ciment about the film, Kubrick said he thought science would one day show the veracity of mental abilities like Danny’s. Oh, also, room 237 is loaded with pieces by Ralph Thompson, who painted the visionary zoo of Gerald Durrell. So, that could be a sign that Kubrick understood the link between this alternate room 217, and the real deal.
- Divorce comes up again in Danny’s mind for the first time in over a hundred pages, though Wendy’s thought of it a few times since then.
- He connects out loud the sting of Tony’s visions to the sting of the wasps. And the narration tells us that Danny is “unconsciously burlesquing suicide” when he points his finger at his “temple” like a gun. Is that another coded Aztec temple sort of thing? Wendy clubs Jack atop the 23-stair-by-7-stair Grand Stair in the Colorado lounge. One whose design and numbers are echoed in the aerial shot of the real labyrinth, where Jack does die. I’ve often wondered if Kubrick saw Jack’s disintegration not only as a de facto suicide connecting to his suicidal alcoholism, but as a similarly intentional suicide.
- The doctor clarifies about redrum, whether it’s “red drum” or “red rum”. This seems to differentiate between Jack’s racing past the meaning in Tony/Danny’s words, and a more clinical-minded approach.
- In activating his shine, Danny notices Jack and Wendy reading magazines silently in the other room. Only Jack is seen reading a magazine in the film (other than background characters), and it’s a Playgirl.
- Wendy’s thoughts, Danny notices, are about her sister Aileen who died in a car accident when they were young. Aileen looks a lot like “alien”, which is a motif Jack and Al Shockley invoke. They call martinis “Martians” (pg. 38, 40). On page 40, Al says that he’s “slain” his “last martian”, after their road accident with the mystery bike. So, when Wendy thinks that she couldn’t go through the death of another child like that (if Danny’s condition were to prove severe) it has this weird connection to Jack’s secret quasi-crime. It’s like, isn’t it amazing that Wendy didn’t leave Jack over Danny’s broken arm, but she “could never stand” something like her Aileen getting hit by a car again. And Jack has maybe done exactly this, and she doesn’t know about it. And here Danny is psychically stealing this thought, something he could do with Jack’s thoughts about the mystery bike, and something we the audience have done.
- She wonders if Danny might have cancer like “John Gunther’s son”. This is a reference to the book Death Be Not Proud, in which non-fiction author John Gunther recounts the experience of losing his son to cancer. In the twinhall, the twins start out looking like the symbol for Gemini, but as they appear in their bloody form, they look like the symbol for Cancer, with a tipped over chair seeming to create the look of the constellation for Cancer.
- She wonders if Danny would need “radium” treatments, and I’ve often wondered if Kubrick saw the backwards “DR” in REDRUM as intended to be read as the Cyrillic letters they could very well be, in which case, the word would sound like “red-yum” or “radium”.
- Danny’s mind goes down a “magic hole” as he pursues Tony, a fairly evident reference to Alice in Wonderland. As he tumbles he passes a floating bathtub (room 217, pg. 218), a clock under domed glass (REDRUM, pg. 306), and sweetly chiming church bells. The bells appear second, and I’m not sure what they represent, but if it’s something toward the end, that could suggest an inversion of the order of these visions from 1-2-3 to 1-3-2. If so, that might make a nice allusion to pages 132 and 123, where a few things are repeated, as we’ve seen.
- Tony becomes a “silhouette” in the Overlook basement, by the boiler’s light, as Tony shows Jack “climbing” toward an evil book, a “white” book bound in “gold string”. This is the scrapbook, that will be the title and subject of the next chapter. When Danny sees that it is that, he thinks that there’s some books you should just never open. Considering that Jack’s issue is that he’s a character in a novel, it’s interesting to think that the trigger most responsible for his unravelling is a book about the “real” (if completely fragmented) history of the place he’s been put in charge of. Is it the history of the real world that Jack can’t handle, the history of his own life, or both?
- Danny gets his own “nonsense” phrase chiming in his head: This inhuman place makes human monsters. This reminded me of the Goya quotation from the Quotation Page at the start of the novel: “The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” If that’s the reference, then is it the inhumanity of history (the scrapbook), that depletes Jack of his humanity?
- Goya’s phrase was also the name of a particular etching he made for a series called Los Caprichos (The Caprices), in which this piece was the 43rd of 80. And here we are on page 143, a number with multiple significances in the film, like how the movie itself is 143 minutes (2:23:37), or how there’s 143 people in the final photo with Jack, or how there’s 143 heartbeats that play over the sequence of Wendy plotting escape, Jack killing the radio, and Hallorann coming to the rescue. My general analysis of Kubrick’s use of that number (and how he splits it into 67 and 76 a lot of the time), is that he’s considering the role of gender in the story (there’s 67 men and 76 women in the Jack photo). In my Golden Shining analysis, I consider that the film’s length may be owing to Kubrick wanting to construct a film’s length according to the Fibonacci sequence. A sequence that produces a spiral called a golden spiral, which artists sometimes use to make an artwork appear more natural to the eye. Kubrick uses such a spiral in his shot compositions (using something called a phi grid). And Goya used such spirals in his works.
- Actually, on a whim I decided to see what happens when we apply spirals to The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (did King get the quotation wrong on purpose, or is it a translation issue?), and, as you can see, there’s good reason to think this piece was composed as such. I might have to do a special analysis of this work elsewhere on the site. If there’s no link here yet, let’s say I’ll plan to have one here someday.
- Also, Goya’s first name is Francisco, and movie Jack sings a line from the 1921 play Bombo after Danny’s escaped at the end, a line that mirrors over the shot of Jack first walking through the Overlook’s front doors. And the line he should sing is “California, here I come/Right back where I started from”, but what the subtitles tell us he’s singing is “San Francisco, here I come”. I’ve written extensively about my larger suspicions about that change, but it’s kind of amazing to find a Francisco right at the start of King’s novel.
- Danny calls his ability “The shining” to Edmonds, and since the film is technically closer to 144 minutes than 143 minutes, that seemed funny to me.
- Edmonds says Danny’s got quite a “blue-nose” in his head, helping him navigate the “nightmares” and “dreams” Tony assails him with. That’s a ship, but it also happens to be the name of a book about true ghost story accounts. Maybe a coincidence, but I thought it was neat. Also, there’s a fish called the bluenose shiner, which is found in the St. John River, and Danny passes a painting heading into room 237 called Dog, Boy, and St. John River, which I believe has a lot to do with shining.
- What’s more interesting is that the doctor espouses a certain faith in the writings of Freud here, who Kubrick invoked to qualify his making of a horror story. And who King has distanced himself from as a legitimate translator of the human experience. Freud’s work on The Uncanny is what Kubrick was interested in, and I do believe that’s part of a series of visual phenomena in the film correlating to eyes and eye shapes.
- Jack relives the story of his abuse of Danny out loud, and for the first time since pages 16–17.
- Edmonds creates a link between the “broken” arm and the “broken–or breaking–link” between Jack and Wendy. This carries on to page 147 – by which I’m wondering if this bears a connection to Jack’s thoughts on 16-17. This repeating 6/7 might relate to Kubrick’s whole 67/76 code, within the 143 code.
- Edmonds confesses to having an imaginary rooster friend named Chug-Chug. Hallorann has a rooster statuette in his Florida apartment, appearing behind him during the three Florida phone call scenes. If the “Chug-Chug” bit is another railroad reference, Wendy’s phone call is also connection to railroads through Carson City. So all these motifs of global interconnection are being invoked (and connected to the shining) to emphasize the Torrances’ isolation, but also how, when cut off from the good “shining” of society, they become most vulnerable to the bad shining of the “inhuman” Overlook. Communication is part of what makes reason. Art is a form of communication.
- When discussing the obviousness of what Tony is named Tony, Edmonds throws out “Mike”, “Hal” and “Dutch” as names that would make less sense for Tony. When Jack enters the Overlook he passes The Tower of Babel and The Theatre of the World by two Dutch painters, who were real-life friends. As for Hal, Kubrick put the real-world radio DJs Hal and Charlie on during Hallorann’s drive past the smashed Beetle. Charlie being the name Kubrick invented for the “real” Charles Grady (King’s was only ever “Delbert”). And Mike is the name of Jack’s middle brother, as we’ll hear about on page 222. I don’t think we learn much about that Mike, but Jack’s other brother, Brett (another link in the Brant-Brent chain?), died in Dong Ho province during the Vietnam war. A sort of inverse of Hallorann’s learning of his brother’s death while over in West Germany. Since Tony is Danny’s middle name, it’s neat that Edmonds would say to Jack a name that would ring his own familial bells.
- Wendy mentions Danny being born with a caul over his face for the first time since page 52. Movie Wendy is reading Catcher in the Rye the first time we meet her, a book whose main character is Holden Caulfield.
- The doctor says that the explanation for Danny knowing that Jack’s box of papers was under the stairs in the basement is such simple logic it would make “Ellery Queen” laugh. Queen was a pseudonym for two crime writers, named Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee. I thought it was neat that Dannay sounds like Danny and Bennington sounds like Barrington (as if the doctor somehow made the connection to the fake Ellery Queen thanks to these homophonic details). In fact, Dannay and Lee were pseudonyms for men with different names, who were also cousins. Dannay’s real name was Danny. So it’s funny that they would make up fake names that both had “Fred” in the first name. Ellery Queen also made magazines and jigsaw puzzles. Actually, Ellery Queen died when the “Lee” half of the duo died in 1971, and Jack says he was able to afford to take Danny to Great Barrington thanks to selling a story to a “men’s magazine” in 1971.
- Edmonds had told Danny to be “quiet as a mouse” on page 138, and here, 11 pages later, after hearing Edmonds say that the “ominous quiet” between Jack and Wendy was how he knew about their thoughts of divorce, she imagines Danny as a mouse between the “two angry cats” of her and Jack. There hasn’t been a Mickey Mouse or Tom & Jerry reference in the book, but both these show up in Boulder, and of course Danny wears his Mickey Mouse sweater all through the MONDAY sequence.
- Edmonds notes how children attach “talismanic importance” to a “Teddy bear” or “stuffed tiger”. Kubrick linked Wendy to bears and Hallorann/Tony to tigers. But King attaches Jack to tigers. So it’s like Edmonds is telling these parents that their child holds them in special symbolic reverence.
- Edmonds is impressed by Jack finishing his sentence by stating a common phrase that Edmonds was obviously setting up. I can’t help finding it funny that he would be impressed by a fellow adult for completing the most obvious setup, while trying to find a way to dismiss Danny’s supernatural superpower. I didn’t get the sense from Kubrick’s doctor (Anne Jackson), that she was similarly condescending or hypocritical, but perhaps that’s simply for lack of time.
- For the record, this is the one-third mark of the novel. 149/447 pages. In Redrum Road, the one-third/two-third mark is of relatively major significance, signalling the switch between replays, and containing a visual reference to the first and last shots of the film. In the novel, the thing that’s consistent between pages 3 (the first page number), 149, 298, and 447 is they all contain a seeming reference to Danny and Wendy being of unusual sensitivity. In the beginning Jack sings their praises to Ullman, here Wendy sifts quickly though a heap of thoughts about how her son has handled his various hurdles and traumas, on 298, it’s midway through the sequence of the family fearfully discovering evidence of the ghost ball, and in the end it’s Danny gleefully catching a rainbow trout of some kind. Also, you could argue that there’s that “interview” quality to each (except the end, unless Danny’s having an interview with Hallorann about the remainder of his life), with the ghost ball being a kind of invitation to an interview between the Torrances and supernatural ghost phenomena.
- Edmonds says Danny is “flushing” Tony “out of his system”. A funny choice of words, given what he knows about the bathroom situation – Danny’s mind became constipated thanks to Tony, while locked in a bathroom.
- Wendy says that her sister was killed in Somersworth, New Hampshire. That town’s name means “Summer Town”, and Edmonds just invoked spring to Jack, saying that if Danny’s visions are still bad by then, to take further action. Winter isn’t mentioned, but it’s implied by the circumstances. Kubrick paid special attention to the concept of summer, attaching it especially to Jack. Wendy goes on to say that Aileen was killed by chasing a ball into the street, and being struck dead by a delivery van. Danny is gripping such a van tightly when the ball rolls up to invite him into 237. So if Jack’s late night pseudo-murder is meant to connect to Wendy’s childhood trauma, it’s interesting that Kubrick would fuse these images in the prelude to Danny’s trauma.
- And this might be a spectacular coincidence, but the original name of Somersworth was Sligo, after a city in Ireland of the same name, a word that meant “Shelly place“. That could be another quiet reference to Mary Shelley. But isn’t it wild that Wendy should be played by Shelley Duvall? She’s from the Shelly Place.
- Edmonds asks about REDRUM, and corrects Jack’s “red drum”.
- He asks about “the shining” and when he gets blank stares decides none of it’s worth a second thought. I realize this is meant to drive us a little crazy – HOW ARE YOU OVERLOOKING THE FACT HE CLEARLY READ HIS MOTHER’S MIND?!?!?!?! – but the funny/sad fact is that it would be way less interesting if Edmonds was even half as good as Ellery Queen at solving mysteries. But he’s also, perhaps inadvertently, planting this idea in Wendy’s mind that Danny really is psychic, since he was able to produce these facts about Aileen to Wendy who would know just how inaccessible that information otherwise was to Danny. (It’s sort of like the hypocrisy of Ullman saying the Overlook might seem a lot more frightening to Jack if Danny were to crack his skull, and then brushing off Wendy’s fears about riding the elevators.)
- Danny is reading Where the Wild Things Are when his parents emerge. The “wild things” part comes from a Yiddish phrase connecting children to wild animals. And Maurice Sendak, the author, says the animals were inspired by his own Holocaust-surviving relatives, and how they seemed to him as a youth. Perhaps Kubrick didn’t know this, and perhaps the reference is more to underline how interested Danny is in having well-regulated emotions (as analysts of the book have regarded to be its merit), despite all his trauma. In any event, there’s no reference to Sendak in the film that I know of, but there was a time when I found some sketches of his that resembled some of the yet-unidentified sketches in the lobby. Also, the “wild rumpus” of that story is akin to the ghost ball, or any masquerade, especially considering the part about them being abstractions of Sendak’s own family.
CHAPTER 18: THE SCRAPBOOK
- Jack finds the scrapbook “on the first of November”, which would be written 1/11, and on page 111 he’s processing the life story of George Hatfield. That ties nicely with this idea of Jack facing the worst things about real history, and his own. Also, that means it’s the day after Halloween, the day of masquerade.
- Danny and Wendy are hiking a trail that connects the roque court to a deserted sawmill. The doctor asked him on page 138 (14 pages ago) if his shines were connected to the smell of sawdust. If their hike is meant to echo Jack’s discovery, it’s neat that it would be about a trail that connects a thing to do with shining (lumber = society) and a thing that connects with Jack’s inner disintegration (games, patterns).
- Jack compares the sloughs of paper and debris in the basement to the Andes mountains, a range extending all along the western side of South America. In fact, the Andes are an extension of the Rocky mountains, in what’s called the American Cordillera. So I wonder if this is why Danny had a friend named Andy (pg. 14), who he misses, but never brings up again. He misses the old days (like, several million billion years ago), when the Rockies and the Andes were one long chain. A chain that has divorced now, and been conquered by genocidal Europeans.
- In fact, “ROCKY MOUNTAIN” appears on this page as the name at the top of some billet about a shipment coming from Canada. It’s coming from “SIDEY’S WAREHOUSE” in Denver, and since this chapter is all about the work of reporters in capturing history, I wonder if Sidey is a reference to Hugh Sidey, who chronicled the lives of American presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton. The address is given as 1210 16th Street. I noticed that pages 16, 121, and 210 are all the first pages of chapters 3 (Watson), 16 (Danny) and 24 (Snow), but I’m not sure the significance, if any, but Watson does introduce Jack to the boiler room, and in the last chapter Danny realizes that the boiler is “what will be forgotten” (a concept introduced on page 130 of chapter 16) and chapter 24 is only two pages and serves to describe the moment when the Torrances realized there would be no leaving the Overlook until spring…when in fact they will leave long before even the official start of winter, on the evening of December 2nd (2/12), as we’ll see.
- Actually, this chapter is packed with numbers and dates and names, and I get the feeling this is one of those orgy of evidence kinds of things. I could sit and try to sift through the possibilities of meaning, but, you know, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m less interested in King’s labyrinth than I was in Kubrick’s. So if you wanna give it a whirl, let me know if you find anything interesting. That said, I did a search on the day of this Sidey shipment arrival (August 24, 1954) and found it was the day the Brazilian president at the time killed himself after being accused of conspiring to kill his political rival. Considering Danny saw those splashes of blood in the Presidential Suite, and that this chapter will contain many presidential references, that seems apt. Also, that president, Getúlio Vargas, was born and died in Rio, and Rio is mentioned at the bottom of the page as a place that Jack imagines the jet set hopping around. Movie Ullman mentions the jet set during the tour of the lounge, right before mentioning that four presidents stayed at the hotel.
- Then, the first clipping Jack reads is about Johnson promising an orderly transition after the assassination of JFK. The date given was the same day (Dec. 19, 1963) that the first conspiracy theories about the former president’s assassination were published.
- A list of visiting celebrities, and the years of their stays, is given. Darryl F. Zanuck stayed for a week in 1956, presumably after making one of his biggest hits, The King & I. Jean Harlow stayed in 1930, presumably sometime after Hell’s Angels came out. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are named, with no other details. The two made a movie together in 1932 (No Man of Her Own), but only fell in love and married in 1936-1939. Lombard died in 1942 in a freak plane accident. Nelson Rockefeller is mentioned as having been there in 1950, during a time when Rockefeller was having relations with Brazil, and being tapped by president Truman. He would be vice president under Gerald Ford for a little under two years (Dec. 1974-Jan. 1977) following the Watergate scandal. Funnily enough, this is practically the same period that The Shining was being written. The book came out within days of Rockefeller leaving office. Henry Ford is said to have stayed in 1927, which was the year he ceased running an anti-semitic article, after many years, including a rebuff from president Wilson in 1921. Others have noted that the man holding Jack’s arm down in the final photo looks a lot like Woodrow Wilson, and I suppose they bear a resemblance. And if Jack in those final moments is meant to resemble Hitler, this would connect to that nicely. So what’s the point of all this? Do people find the Overlook when they’ve had big breakthroughs? Other than the Wilson reference, I haven’t found or heard of anything in Kubrick’s movie that would explain a connection to King’s name drops.
- Warren G. Harding is said to have stayed there in 1922, a period in which he had dealings with Latin America. I wonder if that’s what this is all about. References to where the Andes are.
- I just had a good laugh: the line after all these name drops is about Jack being shocked that he lost 45 minutes to sifting through this information. I just spent about 40 minutes trawling through what I could find about the names on this page. Well done, King. Well done.
- Jack finally finds the scrapbook atop what he imagines as a Tower of Pisa, made of five boxes stuffed with invoices. I’m not sure if the Pisa bit has significance, but Kubrick felt the need to reference a burning tower and a mythic tower.
- A card slips out of the scrapbook that Jack catches in midair. It’s an invitation to Derwent’s re-opening of the Overlook, on a day (August 29, 1945) 20 and 23 days after the dropping of the two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that symbolically ended WWII. The war officially ended four days later on September 2nd. Jack notes the “Japanese lanterns” festooning the Overlook’s grounds. And that it feels real enough to step into (ironically, he is exactly inside the Overlook). He notes that it was 30 years ago (31 years, in fact), and 30 pages ago was when Danny was channeling some ancient Overlook while locked inside his bathroom.
- While contemplating the “shining” future these “richest men in America” had before them, and the many cries of “Unmask!” that would’ve been heard that night, Jack’s thoughts are interrupted by one about the Masque of the Red Death. Jack’s already had two subtextual references to that story come to him on page 23 and 42. And of course the novel opens with a lengthy passage from it. But here it’s finally punched through into his mind, and he reflects that Poe was “the Great American Hack” and bears no comparison to the opulent, magisterial Overlook. So, just as Danny had that warped Goya thought 6 pages before the one-third mark of the novel (143–149), Jack is having a very clear thought connecting to the beginning 6 pages after the one-third mark (149-155). I’m starting to think this is why Kubrick put in those real world references to Jack Nicholson, as if movie Jack could be similarly affected by becoming aware of his status as a movie character.
- The first article he reads in the scrapbook (about the hotel’s re-opening) is by David Felton. Felton was a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, who won an award for interviewing Charles Manson. He mentions in the first sentence of the article that the hotel is 38 years old. And 38 pages ago is the first page of Wendy, Jack, and Danny being alone together in the hotel.
- We learn that Derwent is a “California millionaire”, something that, again, reminds of Bombo. Although, to be fair, all the movie stars bear a certain evocation of that state as well.
- Derwent is said to promise that one would remember “overnighting” in the Overlook “thirty years later”, which is just what Jack would be able to do.
- We get a full recounting of Derwent’s legendary existence for the first time since Ullman explained the man on page 6.
- A “chic” fashion designer named Corbat Stani is listed as one of Derwent’s guests before the article peters out. This is a fictional person, but the letters in their name can be rearranged to spell “abstraction”. Coincidence? I suspect not.
- Derwent is described as failing to achieve the look of an Errol Flynn, famous for playing Robin Hood in 1938. And this might be a bit of a stretch, but Flynn did play the main figure in the film version of Rudyard Kipling’s novel Kim. Movie Jack references Kipling when he quotes from White Man’s Burden. That lead me wonder if Kubrick was thinking of Kim, which is where “Kim’s game” comes from, a game in which a person tries to spot the difference between two pictures with slight differences. Kubrick’s film is riddled with such aberrations. There’s also a “Kim Woodman” advertised on the sign outside the Gold Room, but there’s no artist I can find by that name.
- Jack finds an ad (for the Overlook?) from the New York Sunday Times travel section. There’s Travel magazines all over the hotel, and a couple New York Review of Books in Boulder.
- Jack reflects that he knew all about Derwent from having already read a Newsweek article from the year before (the year before when? I have no idea). I haven’t found a Newsweek in the film, but there is a Businessweek.
- Derwent is said to be from St. Paul, originally, but there’s no St. Paul in California (except a San Pablo, which means the same thing, but was never called that). So, he could be from practically anywhere. Is that the point? There are numerous saints invoked by the film, and there’s a painting that hangs outside Danny’s bedroom, seen only once, that happens to resemble many paintings of a town by that name in Canada. AY Jackson, whose work appears in the film, painted a piece of St. Paul that most resembles the film version. It appears when Wendy’s hearing Tony scream REDRUM 9 times, which is while Jack’s at the ghost ball (which is where he doesn’t meet anyone named Derwent, but would have if the film was a perfect, literal translation).
- Just to note: here we are at 157, the number Kubrick associated to “play”. On page 237, Jack will enter the lounge to talk to Lloyd for the first time. As he crosses the empty room he gets another flash of this notion about the war being over and the invitation card he found two pages ago. On this page, we’ll hear about Derwent’s contributions to the war effort and his attainment of a minorly successful movie studio. So, while Jack wants to think of himself as a great writer, or as a kind of war vet (by way of lines like the “purple heart” reference on page 120), Derwent actually did help win the war and did make a lot of movies.
- Here’s where we learn about Derwent’s connection to a bomb carriage patent on the “Flying Fortresses” that “rained fire on Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin”. The first thing that reminded me of is how Mrs. Brant is described as a “dreadnought” of a woman on page 67. Then, Hallorann talks about there being 120 pounds of hamburger (pg. 74), and we learn Jack is from Berlin, new Hampshire a page later (pg. 75). Yes, hamburger comes from Hamburg. As for Dresden, though, I don’t have a reference for that yet, though Dick was stationed in West Germany in the ’50s (pg. 86). If Hamburg is Dick, Berlin is Jack, and the Fortress is the Overlook as an extension of Brant, would Dresden link to Wendy and/or Danny somehow? I’ll try to keep an eye out. The name Dresden means “settlement of people in a forest” or “marsh-dwellers”. The one for-sure reference in the film to western Germany would be a painting of a German Shepherd (AKA Alsatian), seen behind Jack on his way to the ghost ball, and in the second entrance before Wendy finds the murdered snowcat and after Jack kills Dick.
- Oh, also, I feel I should remind that Al Bowlly, who sings half of the film’s singable soundtrack, was killed by a Hitler-inspired parachute mine in London, just 2 weeks after recording an Irving Berlin song satirizing Hitler.
- He patented a machine gun that can be cooled by alcohol. Jack would likely be cooled by real alcohol. Ghost booze not so much.
- Derwent purchased “Top Mark Studios”, whose main star “Little Margery Morris” died of a heroin overdose in 1934 at age 14. There’s a run of references in the film to Morris homonyms: most significantly (so far) the painting Log Hut on the St. Maurice, which connects intimately to Hallorann’s murder. As for “Top Mark”, remember that Mark is also the name of Jack Torrance’s abusive, drunken father. So, the only “Mark” reference I have so far is to the Ted Mark novel Dr. Nyet, which appears in Boulder during the doctor interview. That novel is a parody of the James Bond story Dr. No, of course, which was a film, so this Ted Mark/Top Mark bit might be even cleverer than it seems. Kubrick used a recurring Bond motif to emphasize where Jack’s father figures lay (like how the kindly, ego-stroking Mr. Ullman is played by the OG James Bond, Barry Nelson). When reading about “Top Mark”, is Jack getting triggered about his dad? Is he connecting the Overlook to the father he wishes he could’ve reformed? I’ve talked before about the “elevator game” Mark played with Jack (pg. 223), and this chapter began (pg. 152) with a reference to how Jack has been following Wendy’s desire that the elevators not be used during their stay. I don’t have a reference to “Margery” yet for the film, but “Little” occurs in the name of Jack’s play, and in the title of the fable that movie Jack recites to a terrified Wendy, The Three Little Pigs. And in the name of a book that floats over the doctor’s head in Boulder, Angell, Pearl, and Little God. Margery, by the way, is said to specialize in stories about little 7-year-olds who defend dogs unjustly accused of killing chickens. In the Four Directions analysis, the hotel (and later Jack) equal dogs, and Danny equals birds (not to mention Dick with his rooster statue). So, Derwent’s heroine will be Jack’s defender.
- Derwent hires Henry Finkel to help save Top Mark, and to crank out 60 films between 1939-1941. King actually writes “Pearl Harbor” to mark the time, and that happened on December 7th, which can be written as 7/12. Is that why room 217 is room 217? But getting back to Finkel, there’s four different “Henry” people invoked by the hidden artworks, including another of the ghost ball songs, which is by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles, a band that broadcast the performances they actually performed live at the Gleneagle Hotel. The one that really fascinates me though, is the etching Montreal from the Mountain, by William Henry Bartlett, which was created at some unknown moment between 1839 and 1842, during a trip Bartlett was making through the Americas. That etching appears beside the Grady twins when they’re going bloody outside Suite 3. So that Henry is really underscoring the way the Overlook wants father figures to behave…and also what it likes to do to little girls. As for “Finkel” there was a George Finkel who was a TV producer and the son a famed architect/actor named Maurice. Otherwise, I’m not sure. The name means “spark” in Yiddish, and Finkelstein was a name for pyrite (AKA Fool’s Gold).
- It’s said that 55 of the 60 films Derwent and Finkel made went straight to the Hayes office. Carson City and the cartoons in the film would’ve shared the same fate. Also, 60 pages ago was when Danny was invoking the Abbott and Costello monster movies, all of which were produced during the Hayes period.
- Also, King writes that these films “spit on [the Hayes office’s] large blue nose”. Twelve pages ago, doctor Edmonds was calling Danny’s shine ability a “bluenose”. In this new context, the term describes someone who is “excessively prudish“, so it’s neat to consider the link between being prudish and being shine-powered.
- Derwent is said to have invented a strapless bra so that a star in one of his films could appear to be naked during a “Grand Ball scene”. The film has two very memorable nude performances, and the older of those reappears during the ghost ball (fully clothed). If the younger nude ghost appears at the ball, I haven’t ID’d her, but I’ve wondered if she might be the faceless ghost who knocks Grady into Jack.
- Jack ponders over Derwent’s status as the “richest man in the world”. In fact, the actual richest people in the world from decade to decade going back two hundred years are all name dropped in the novel, except for J. Paul Getty, who held that title since the ’50s. In the film, there wasn’t much attempt, it seems, to subtly reference these folks, although there is a painting in room 237 (appearing at 71:20) possibly showing “aster” flowers.
- It’s said that the Colorado Lounge used to be called the “Red-Eye Lounge” in Derwent’s time. Hallorann catches a red-eye plane to save the Torrances. I wonder if this might connect to the eye-shaped painting in Suite 3 as well, which does bear a connection to the Gold Room (in the book, the Lloyd bar is in the Colorado Lounge, not the Gold Room). Also, Derwent’s home base is in Chicago once he obtains his “richest man” status, and movie Ullman says that a “decorator” “from Chicago” refurbished the Gold Room the year before.
- In a 1952 clipping (Feb. 1st) we learn about how Derwent is selling off his Colorado holdings in a sweeping move, to be completed 32 months later on Oct. 1, 1954. Carson City came out in 1952.
- But yes, Derwent sells the Overlook in January of ’52, so he only owns the hotel for 78 months (6.5 years), before selling it to another group of California investors, lead by one Charles Grondin. Grondin sells it to some others in 1957 (pg. 159), and then (after some deliberately confusing timeline) another newspaper clipping wonders if the new owners (in 1963, pg. 160) might be Grondin and Derwent again (bringing along a mafia element, responsible for some of the worst murders to take place there). If so, this would mean that Ullman lies to Jack in the beginning about Derwent getting out of the game in ’52. There’s no other hint given that Grondin and Derwent aren’t (secretly) the owners that Jack’s friend Al Shockley (along with friends of his own) buys the Overlook off of in 1970. In any case, I don’t have a reference yet in the film for a “Grondin”, but that’s the French name for the Red Gurnard fish. And very similar-looking fish are worked into the design of Hallorann’s lamps in Miami.
- The 1957 sale was by a company “president” who shot himself 2 days after being subpoenaed, thanks to investigations into his practices, which sounds like an echo of the Brazilian president from the intro. That company was called Mountainview, which could tie into the Andes bit.
- Jack imagines himself casting the Overlook as a “phoenix” figure, in his book about the place. When movie Danny is escaping the maze, he gets a powdery dust on his chest that has always resembled a kind of phoenix symbol to me. Also, more decidedly so is the appearance of a Pontiac Firebird, passing by Durkin’s garage, during the first shot in the film of the snowcat that Wendy and Danny will ride to safety.
- In 1961 “four writers, two of them Pulitzer Prize winners” make the Overlook into a writers’ school for a year, until a student crashes out a third floor window, drunk, in what was suspected to be suicide. Recall that Jack’s first thoughts alone at the hotel are about what would drive him to run off at such a height (pg. 106). As for the Pulitzer bit, the winning novelist that year for Harper Lee for Mockingbird, and I have wondered if one of the Suite 3 books was her classic work (the size is right, and it seems to possess on image of a bird on a branch on the spine), but I haven’t been able to verify. That said, Robert Mulligan, who directed Summer of ’42, directed the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird a short year later in 1962. Perhaps debuting around the same moment this anonymous student met his drunken end.
- Jack relives something Watson told him on page 22, that every big hotel has a scandal or a ghost. A difference of 137 (2:17) pages.
- The last thing from the last page was the words “one hundred”, in a line that continues on this page “and ten guest rooms, storage rooms, kitchen, pantry, freezer, lounge, ballroom, dining room…” Could it be that the Overlook has around 137 rooms total?
- That list of rooms is interrupted by a line from TS Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is itself interrupted by another Red Death thought. The Eliot line would have continued to make reference to Michelangelo (“In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo”), but Jack’s mind isolates it to line 19 of the poem, which is repeated in line 41. There’s a sketch of three faces, seen only once clearly in the moment before Wendy lays eyes on Hallorann’s corpse, which I’ve wondered could it be by da Vinci, or one of the later masters of that style, like Michelangelo. In that moment, Wendy is a woman coming and going from the lobby, which she’ll do again when she encounters the skeleton ball. As for that 19-41 bit, this chapter did make mention of Pearl Harbor. But I suspect what made Jack think of this was the earlier line in the poem saying “Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels/And sawdust restaurants” – King has linked sawdust to shining, and, again, Danny is off hiking toward a sawmill. So Jack is not someone who lacks the ability to make connections, he simply isn’t supernatural.
- There’s much to say about that poem, but not much about how it connects to the film, although its title is a reference to Kipling, who movie Jack has on his mind. Also, Eliot grew up in St. Louis, who is referenced heavily in the lobby, around Jack’s head.
- The next article was published on a day (April 10, 1963) when Lee Harvey Oswald would make a failed assassination attempt on another politician, Edwin A. Walker, with the same rifle that would kill JFK.
- We learn that the Overlook has been bought again by a Robert Leffing. This might be a reference to the occult detective character Lucius Leffing, written by Joseph Payne Brennan, who King called a “master of the unashamed horror story”. Leffing wants to turn the Overlook into a “key club”. If you know about Danny’s lessons and escapes, you know that part of understanding how that works has to do with what I’ve dubbed the two “four-bird keys”. But we could also think of the Final 21 Photos as an “F21 key“. Or many of the other patterns within the film, honestly. Also, I couldn’t help noticing that “Leffing” is spelled almost identically to “Effinger” the school board trustee guy Jack recalls on page 43, and who is likely a reference to a science-fiction writer by the same name.
- A following article about the key club is from July 27, 1964, the last day of Sir Winston Churchill appearing in any House of Commons meetings.
- We hear that Grondin is being called into suspicion by State Representative “Dick Bows of Golden” another fictional person. I wondered if this might be a reference to the last page (pg. 447), in which “Dick” is watching Danny pull a “rainbow-coloured” fish out of the water. Dick Bows. As for Golden, it’s a real place, with a connection to the Pike’s Peak gold rush. That gold rush has historic ties to some of the worst acts carried out against the indigenous peoples. But I’m also struck that participants in that gold rush were called “fifty-niners” and that Grondin is said to have started working for Derwent in 1959.
- The article after that is from “a Sunday paper that September”. I looked through the major events from the Sundays of September 1964, and I think you’ll agree that the 27th is likely the one in question, since it involved the Warren Commission Report certifying that Oswald acted alone, and Edwin A. Walker calling this verdict into question. This article is written by “Josh Brannigar” who Jack describes as a “Jack Anderson” type. There’s a tonne to unpack about Anderson, but if you check out his life in brief, you’ll note the connections to the JFK assassination and to John Lennon. As for “Josh Brannigar”, I tried decoding this as a possible jumble, and couldn’t get it, if that’s what it is. One I came up with that I liked was “arraigns John B.” I think it’s probably a case of a name burying its own sound: try saying Brannigar out loud and not sounding like you’re saying the n-word. You kind of have to try, don’t you? But on the page, you don’t notice it. A similar thing happens with the name Alois Arnegger, who I suspect to be behind one of the most significant paintings. If that’s the intended technique, it’s worth remembering that the n-word is how movie Jack and Grady establish their white supremacy. In the novel, Jack is confused and maybe even bashful about Grady’s usage on page 350.
- There was a film that came out while King would’ve been writing the novel called Brannigan (1975), whose plot is worth checking out. Barry Dennen, who plays Watson in The Shining, played Julian in that film.
- Brannigar (who Jack seems to recall having died either 4 or 5 years after this article was written) writes that it’s probably a lie that the Overlook key club is exclusively for “unwinding business”. Kubrick put a sign outside the Gold Room with THE UNWINDING HOURS written atop it. The sign does promote a few performers with names that didn’t seem to describe real artists (Danny Haynes and Kim Woodman). Perhaps these are names with similarly secretive meanings.
- He suggests that we need only consider who was renting rooms at the hotel from August 16-23, 1964. This was the majority of a 9-day coup, when South Vietnam’s Prime Minister/Major General took control of the presidency. This was also a key moment in early Beatlemania.
- Other names Brannigar considers here (carrying over onto page 163) are Charles “Baby Charlie” Battaglia, Richard Scarne, Peter Zeiss, Vittorio Gienelli, and Carl “Jimmy-Ricks” Prashkin. Battaglia was acquitted of killing Jack “Dutchy” Morgan. Gienelli is called “Vito the Chopper” for the axe-murder of Frank Scoffy. Interesting that another of Edmonds substitute names for Tony, “Dutch”, would turn up here, with a “Jack” attached to it. I also wanted to mention that on page 8 Jack tells Ullman that an area as grand as this “must have a chopper or two”, meaning the Torrances could be flown out in an emergency. Ullman replies “I wouldn’t know about that” before trying to move on into other matters. So, if the “chopper” line triggered Ullman’s memories of the dark days, that would be a neat nod. One of the most belovedly-observed “gaffs” in the film is the shadow of a helicopter appearing over Jack’s drive up to the Overlook. And I’ve often wondered if the high shot of the labyrinth was achieved by hanging a camera off a helicopter (which would put a “chopper” in both the film’s intro and during the “sane” period of Jack alone at the hotel). Also, Zeiss’s nickname is “Poppa”, meaning we have a “Baby” and a “Poppa”.
- You’ll notice I’m not getting into the names of these unfortunates, or the many years of activity listed for them in the article. I don’t care that much. Sorry. But if you take an interest and figure it out, let me know.
- Jack repeats Watson’s “Every hotel has its ghosts” line again to himself (pg. 159). He then compares the past owners of the hotel to a “coven”. Kubrick makes use of connecting the witch from Snow White to the 237 ghost, and of course there’s the Hansel & Gretel imagery. Also, all the Group of Seven stuff.
- Jack has to “gasp harshly” when he sees the clipping of the June 1966 murder that Danny saw on page 93. That would be 71 pages back, and Ullman does say that Grady killed his family in the “winter of 70-71”.
- As for June ’66, a lot happened that month, I’m sure you can imagine/read. What jumps out for me is that the first American craft touched down on the moon, Surveyor 1, but since this is about a death in the Presidential Suite, it was on the 15th that President Johnson’s pet beagle, “Him”, got struck by a limo on the white house grounds, while chasing a squirrel. There’s a few other “president” moments from this month (many of great significance), but I really noticed this because it’s while movie Ullman is bragging about the “four presidents” who stayed there, that there’s a painting of a beagle behind him. That said, there’s also an Irish Setter back there, and you might notice that an Irish president returned to power that month as well. That president, Éamon de Valera, was made an honourary Ojibwe chief in 1919, and there’s a painting of Chief Walking Buffalo in that shot too.
- The “Chopper” is mentioned again. The police who found the killings were Robert Norman and Benjamin Moorer (another “Ben” (pg. 119)), and those killed were Victor T. Boorman and Roger Macassi, along with the Chopper himself. There happens to be a Benjamin Moore Norman who wrote about the Yucatan in the 1800s. I wonder if that fits into the Tower of Fable analysis. I also wonder if all the gangland stuff is a nod to the notion that JFK was taken out partly by mobsters. If so, could the Boorman reference be a nod to John Boorman, who directed Deliverance? In that film, a group of friends paddling down a river scatter after one of them is shot by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be part of a mafia-like gang of rapist hill people. Perhaps King saw in the horror of that story a parable for the average American’s reaction to the chaos and trauma of JFK’s murder.
- Jack notes that an anonymous “ballpoint” pen has written “They took his balls along with them” on this article. Again with the balls.
- The last article is another Brannigar piece from 1967: “NOTORIOUS HOTEL SOLD FOLLOWING MURDER OF UNDERWORLD FIGURE” That’s a nicely creepy note to end on. We heard on page 161 that Brannigar died (maybe) in ’68/’69, and here, both the muckraker and the hotel’s history have wisped into mystery. Did poking around in this underworld get Brannigar? Will it get Jack?
- Jack says he’s been trying to find “where the bodies are buried” when Wendy arrives and informs him of the late(?) hour, 3 o’clock. It occurs to me only now apparently that the whole “Indian burial ground” bit is Kubrick’s invention. But King at least went this far.
- Wendy realizes Jack’s been jonesing, and says, “It’s been hell for you, hasn’t it?” Strong words, considering where they are. In the film, we only see the boiler room once, and in it are a bunch of photos of naked women, some ancient photos that would likely depict people now dead, and an artwork that resembles William Blake’s painting of Jacob’s Ladder, only it looks like a hellscape version of that painting.
- When she asks if he’s hungry, he affects a French accent and compares himself to a bear. Wendy says “watch out slugger”.
- He offers her “Dirty peec-tures? Unnatural positions?” Again, the boiler room is covered in these.
- Jack hears Watson’s words (pg. 22, 159, 163) in his head again (he’s starting to warp them slightly), and they now seem to echo the writing of Eliot.
CHAPTER 19: OUTSIDE 217
- For starters, I just want to draw attention to the fact that it’s never clear that this is the same day as Jack’s scrapbook day, but it’s heavily implied that it is. Which would mean it’s still Nov. 1, which could mean that this post-Halloween, 1/11 energy is stretching from page 152 to 174.
- Danny notes that the numbers of the door look no different than the numbers on the Boulder house. In the movie, both room 237 and the Boulder apartment have paintings in them by the same artist who would probably be obscure to most people: Alex Colville. In Boulder there’s two, on opposite sides of the room, Horse and Train and Woman and Terrier. In 237 there’s Dog, Boy, and St. John River. I haven’t confirmed links between any of the other art in 237 and Boulder, but there are numerous potential links, provided I ever ID the leftover mystery pieces. There’s also the bit about how Woman and Terrier was Colville’s “Madonna and Child” and how the Nadia Benois painting is by someone from the family that owned a lost da Vinci Madonna and Child. Check out the link for details.
- Danny ponders that the fish-eye peephole in the door lets someone see in but not out, and either he or Stephen King feel that this is “A dirty gyp.” Sort of an extreme reaction, if the subtle racial slur were intentional. But this is also a homophone for Jip, in the “holy trinity” of Dick, Jane and Jip (pg. 122). Again, movie Danny will find such a Jip is hanging just opposite room 237’s peephole. Also, this line is practically interrupted by one of King’s trademark weird italicized parenthetical lines, in this case a question: “(Why are you here?)” This same question, presented in the same way, will appear two pages later, such that these two lines almost perfectly overlap each other (one is 17 lines from the bottom, the other is 18 lines from the bottom, but they actually do almost overlap). The first one almost interrupts this “gyp” business, which made me wonder if it might tie into the colonialism subtext. Like, why are you here? You’re here because some Europeans got real conquesty. Kubrick linked this to Hallorann’s offer of “eye scream” by way of a box of popcorn kernels behind Danny in the storeroom. And that was followed in both film and book by a swift warning to stay out of room 217/237. So, the in-book context of Danny’s question is “what makes someone violate a warning like Dick’s?”
- Dan remembers how, after the walk to the sawmill, Wendy had fixed him his “favourite lunch”, a cheese and bologna sandwich (she offered Jack a cheese and ham sandwich on the last page, by the way), and they ate Campbell’s Bean Soup together. It might be a stretch, but here’s a crazy thing: Campbell’s soup cans were consecrated into art world history by Andy Warhol in 1962, right? Well, King writes that Wendy and Danny eat the soup in “Dick’s kitchen”, and in my Four Horsemen analysis, I frequently refer to the hall behind the lobby as the “War hall”. It wasn’t lost on me then that that sounded like Warhol, but I wasn’t sure if there was a connection. Well, in the Tower of Fable analysis, the kitchen table where Danny has the eye scream chat with Dick and the part of the War hall where Wendy sees Dick’s corpse from are the same spot. So, that’s pretty on point. There’s even a painting in that hall called Makah Returning in Their War Canoes. But otherwise, my calling it the “War hall” is my own arbitrary name for it. I think this also connects well to the conquest themes in the “(Why are you here?)” bit since that thought is followed by Danny characterizing the kitchen as “Dick’s”, and here he is contemplating violating Dick’s warning.
- Danny recalls Wendy quipping that eating in the hotel’s grim, and vastly empty dining room was like eating “in the middle of a Horace Walpole novel”. A reference to Walpole hasn’t been made since page 23, when we learned that the county coroner’s name is the same as Walpole’s estate: Houghton. And Ullman suggested they take the pleasure of eating in the dining room on page 98. But yeah, I like how Wendy innocently does what Jack seems tempted to do: see herself as a character in the very novel that inspired the short story that inspired the novel she is a character in.
- Danny remembers words of Dick’s (warnings about the hedge animals) from pages 88 and 87, but he reverses their chronology in his mind. And in the book that conversation happened in Dick’s car, but in the film it happened where he’s sitting in the book when he has these memories.
- He remembers that Tony had come once recently but that he’d shut his eyes and waited for his “far away” voice to go away. There’s a song in the film called Lontano, which means “far away”. That’s the song that plays when Dick offers the eye scream (with Tony the Tiger boxes around him).
- Danny is mentioned as having a “milk moustache”, and movie Danny gets an ice cream moustache while talking to Dick.
- Jack is mentioned as having taken the Pyrex bowl full of frozen wasps out to an incinerator behind the equipment shed. This is the first time the shed’s been mentioned since an offhand thought by Jack on page 6. And the first time the bowl’s been mentioned since page 136. The next time Jack’s out there will be to murder the snowcat, and after that when Dick has the impulse to kill Wendy and Danny during their escape. So there’s something not good about that shed, it seems. Oh, wow, the scene in the shed includes the page that is 169 pages from the end of the book, page 278. Oh jeez, the last mention is 6 pages from the end (pg. 441). So I guess there’s a bit of a mirrorform thing going on with this puppy.
- Jack contacts the lawyer he dreamed about contacting on page 133, to no avail. The lawyer is said to have called Jack “two days ago”, which would be Oct. 30th, Devil’s Night. He compares the uselessness of such a lawsuit to a similar suit concerning an “extension ladder company”. An extension ladder is what took Jack to the wasp’s nest.
- After the second “(Why are you here?)” Danny starts to remember a time when he was 3 years old and Jack read him Bluebeard while drunk, angering Wendy. He thought it was about a “bluebird” because he was having trouble understanding Jack, and this confused him. In the movie, the room 237 bedroom has two paintings of blue birds. Also, since book Danny was 3 when Jack broke his arm, this would’ve been sometime shortly before that. Jack breaks his “19 months” of sobriety (on ghostbooze) in November of ’76, so the break would’ve been around April or May of 1975. Also, this is the first time Danny’s thought of Bluebeard since discussing 217 with Dick on page 88.
- Actually, this might be a total coincidence but the first reference is on 88 and the next is 81 pages later. In 1888 Rose Terry Cooke wrote Bluebeard’s Closet, and was a friend of the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. That story is invoked via the Lincoln Logs on page 123, and the AT code for Bluebeard is 312.
- Danny connects the ominous castle of Bluebeard to the grandiose nature of the Overlook, and just last page Wendy was making a joke about Walpole’s Castle of Otranto.
- There’s repeated references to “severed heads” referring to Bluebeard’s seven dead wives. My analysis of Jack’s role as the minotaur/Medusa/Geryon gets into this notion of decapitation fears.
- Danny gets another flash of Dick’s warning from 88/87/168. Except here he gets a detail wrong. Dick said he might’ve “seen things” “half a dozen times”, but Danny remembers it as “three times”. Also, the phrase “half a dozen” appears on this page, in reference to the severed heads in the fable being reiterated “more than half a dozen times” in the story Jack read him. So maybe changing Dick’s phrase to “three” is a way to divert our attention from the connection between what Dick’s “seen” and what Bluebeard’s wife had “seen”.
- Danny recalls Dick’s 87/88 words again, and this time he hears himself promising not to go into room 217, “I promise.” But on page 87, he only says “All right” when Dick asks for a promise. Maybe a little pedantic, but it could reveal a meaning.
- He recalls another line from pages 87, 88, and 89 about how there’s nothing here that can hurt the boy.
- Danny likens the contents of 217 to the kind of thing that makes one peek between their fingers at a scary movie. Movie Danny does exactly this (50:37) to see if the bloody Grady twins have left him alone, which they have. And this might be coincidence, but the director of Summer of ’42, Robert Mulligan, also made a horror film about evil twins.
- Danny sees the fire hose for the first time since page 95, and compares it again to a sleeping (in this case “dozing”) snake. Although the “sleeping snake” line occurs on page 96. Also, recall that Wendy’s pain-soothing spray (pg. 133) was described as being like a fire extinguisher. That means both gaps between the key words are 38 pages.
- Danny recalls Jack comparing the difference between these hoses and a modern “sprinkler” system. The mural above the fire place in the film contains a figure known as the “water sprinkler”. And it appears above Jack in a sequence that follows Danny’s first encounter with room 237, but it also happens to be right through the wall from 237 in the larger lounge area.
- Danny ruminates on Jack calling Ullman a “CHEAP PRICK”, which he thinks of as one of the worst phrases in his father’s lexicon, applied only to his worst enemies. I got a niggling feeling this phrase appears earlier, but a quick search turned up nothing. Jack does call Ullman an “officious prick”.
- Just wanted to mention that this would be one of two pages that would divide the novel into a golden ratio, the other being page 276. On that page, Jack is contemplating murdering Danny for the first time in only 3 pages, since having the nightmare about wanting to kill George Hatfield before he transforms into Danny. So, I wonder if that’s why the “middle movie” in the film serves to divide the pre-killer pre-ghost Jack from the let’s-get-our-redrum-on Jack that follows. The 105 pages that come between these book-wide “spiral cuts” make two 171-page wings where, on the earlier wing, Jack is completely normal, and in the middle he hears his ghost-daddy on the radio, and meets Lloyd for the first time and the 237 ghost, and in the later wing, you know, all the rest with the Grady and the ghost ball and the redruming. And the reason that destroying the snowmobile would be “tantamount to pounding his own son to death” is partly because Danny needs to be gotten off the mountain, which was partly triggered by his 217 curiosity, currently in progress. Perhaps this is another reason why Kubrick saw such significance in the 11×7 game board concept – the novel is 171 + 105 + 171, by its spiral cuts. The 105 might connect to the notion of 51, which is a number whose significance comes up on the next page, in fact.
- I’ve discussed the jumble business at the beginning, including all the stuff about the show Emergency! about station 51 of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
- “Cheap prick” happens again here.
- Danny is described as being twenty steps away from the hose, then fifteen, then a dozen. If we go back this many pages from here (pg. 160, 157, 152), these are all from Jack’s scrapbook chapter, and seem to mark the major phases: Page 152 is the beginning, 157 gives us the bulk of Derwent’s rise to power, and 160 is the start of the “key club” passage that leads to the mafia. Danny is holding such a key, with intent to turn it. When he’s ten steps away is when the hose magically slips off its hook, and begins to seem more menacing. Ten pages back (pg. 162) is the start of the list of mafiosos who’ve wined and dined at the Overlook.
- Danny denies that the hose could be anything like what he’s seen on Wide World of Animals. I found an old ABC program by that name, but no info on dates. Anyway, there’s no reference for this in the film that I know of, but there are, of course, a dozen high-realism paintings of animals. Many of which can be found in the Colorado lounge.
- I haven’t written about this much, because it happens constantly, but Jack is always wiping his lips when he’s jonesing for a drink. Here, Danny is described as doing it “in unconscious imitation of his father”. I like how that connects to Jack’s addiction this concept of fear. The mortal fear Danny feels about this creepy hose, with it’s “muzzle” of “gold teeth”. Is my not-decapitated mouth better than this predator with its scary mouth? I better rub my lips to make sure. And isn’t that what’s driving Jack’s quest for immortality through his writing, in both book and film: a fear of death? In the scrapbook chapter, when Wendy finds him, he’s wiped his mouth bloody, and who wouldn’t be afraid reading about gangland murders in the lightless basement of an empty behemoth, alone in the middle of nowhere? Actually, Danny calms himself by thinking that the hose had probably been ready to hall off its hook, to “loop” on the floor, for the past 5 years. So it’s been waiting to happen since the day Danny was born? Is that a comment on how we all start dying the moment we’re born, and the lengths we go to to forget that fact? Danny’s mind quickly connects the hose to both Bluebeard and wasps.
- When he’s “eight” steps away, he imagines the hose talking to him about wasp stings, and mouths. Eight pages back (pg. 165) is Jack reaching the end of the scrapbook, finding the dead mafiosos and being interrupted by Wendy, who points out his bloody mouth.
- When he’s five steps away he realizes he’s within striking distance. Page 168 is the part where Wendy recommends he go check out the hedge animals, and where we hear about Jack taking the frozen wasps to the incinerator. He thinks that he wishes the hose would move so at least he’d know what he was dealing with. And isn’t that a funny echo of the reanimated wasps and the hedges that will soon be on the prowl?
- Poison is mentioned in a variety of contexts, on page 26 (connected with DIVORCE), page 32 (connected with the hotel in a Tony vision), and page 77 (when Dick tells the story about Ullman asking him to use poison against any potential rats, until Hallorann reminds him this could murder the guests). Here, Danny wonders if the hose might shoot wasps with poison stingers.
- Danny breaks into a run, and imagines that the hose is chasing him, just out of view. He jumps and imagines that some force caused him to fly so high through the hall that his “cowlick” touched the ceiling. At this part in the film, Danny trikes past a painting of a cow. But also, on page 147, after bringing up Danny’s birth caul, Edmonds laughs and says, “Next you’ll be telling me he can levitate.”
- Also, let me point out that Danny runs through the 4, 3, 2, and 1 steps that would’ve brought him closest to the hose. If these were meant to reflect the last four pages, they’ve all featured him outside 217, and then having to deal with this hose.
- Danny imagines the hose drooling poison as he imagines it chasing him to the stairs. Since the ultimate act of poisoning is the ghostbooze the hotel plies Jack with, it’s interesting that it took this long to suggest poison might just be the lifeblood of this place.
- I also just want to mention that this chapter was packed with references to blues and reds. The film is similarly concerned with red vs. blue.
CHAPTER 20: TALKING TO MR. ULLMAN
- Jack made a note on page 158 to come to the Sidewinder Public library to look up Horace Derwent, and here we are. By the end of this chapter (pg. 185), Jack will be done jeopardizing his career, throwing all this Overlook lore in Ullman’s face, and wonder if what he was really trying to do was do something that would force him to not be able to continue on as an employ of the hotel for the winter. Movie Jack never does anything like this, except in the way you never see him taking care of the Overlook.
- The library is described as “vine-covered”, which reminds of the hotel’s jungle rug. Kubrick did things to connect the hotel and the outside world.
- Jack realizes that he’s never heard of the Civil War general whose statue is outside the library, despite considering his teenage self a “buff”. There’s a lot of war painters in the film, but I don’t think any painted the civil war specifically. Cornelius Krieghoff painted the Second Seminole War, Louise-Amelie Panet-Berczy made a painting about the American War of Independence, and many of the Group of Seven painters painted WWI, while Alex Colville painted WWII. At least one painting is from that period, and it’s one of the first to appear in the film: Krieghoff’s Log Hut on the St. Maurice (1862).
- Jack finds that there aren’t any Denver newspapers in the library’s collection (remember, Sidewinder if a fictional town), so he settles on the “Boulder Camera“. This is a real paper, but I like how it ties Jack back to his origins. The best he can do is something that brings him right back where he started from. Also, “Camera” reminds of the Camera Walk poster in the film, and if we imagine “Boulder” to echo the grey ball that grew those zombie wasps, this could be yet another way of suggesting the “waspish”, painful nature of history. The last we heard of cameras was when Jack photographed the zombie wasp nest on page 133.
- We find Jack getting a “thumper” of a headache after 45 minutes of searching through microfilm, and 45 pages ago (pg. 130) was Danny in a dream scrambling over the jungle rug (away from evil cannibal Jack). It also references both Ullman and Sidewinder – Wendy says she’d rather get a job there than go back to her mother.
- When Wendy asks how much longer he’ll be, he says 10 minutes, and 10 pages from now is the end of the chapter.
- Jack remembers an old joke about how the painkillers he used against his hangovers could be called “Excedrin Headache Number Vat 69”. Page 69 contains a moment of Danny noticing the snake-like road that connects the Overlook to Sidewinder, and Boulder beyond. A moment that is interrupted when Jack drops a hand on his shoulder, startling him. Here, Wendy’s hand dropping on Jack’s has a similar effect (as he’s in Sidewinder, reading Boulder papers).
- Jack has Ullman’s number on a pack of matches. We learn on page 349 that one of Grady’s daughters stole such a pack and tried to burn the hotel down. Here, Jack is going to make one last feeble attempt to burn his own life down.
- The Civil War general is mentioned again as Jack goes to the drugstore to use their phone. This echoes chapter 5 (pg. 35–43), where Jack goes to a drugstore to use the phone to call Al Shockley. This passage (177-185), is 48-55 pages from the book’s middle, and will be followed by Jack calling Al about the disastrous call (186-192), which will be 41-47 pages from the middle. That could be a Twice-Fold kind of thing, and/or an interlock.
- We learn here that the date is Nov. 7 (7/11), and this is page 177. So that’s fun. This date will define everything from page 175-197. Jack makes two references to seven-eleven. One to Lloyd on page 239, and one to Grady on 327. In the 239 one, he’s saying “I thought they had seven-elevens on the fucking moon!” and on the last page, there was that reference to 69. On page 69 is the last time before page 239 that Jack recalls Watson’s words about how the boiler exploding would land the Torrances on the moon. The reference he makes on 327 is “Seven-come-eleven, die the secret death and win a hundred dollars.” If his call to Ullman is like a (career) suicide, you could say this was a sort of “secret death”, but then the call from Al brings it to Wendy’s attention.
- Holy crow! Ullman’s winter job is in Ford Lauderdale, Florida (40 km north of Hallorann), which got its name from the Second Seminole War. And the Civil War-era Krieghoff piece is intimately connected to the hotel’s desire to kill Hallorann. And if you’ve read my Tower of Fable theory, you know that movie Hallorann walks through the spot where a staircase should be punching down through the lobby ceiling moments before he dies (and the Tower of Babel is talked about in Genesis 11:7), and that Krieghoff piece is right beside that phantom staircase. The plot thickens.
- There’s a cool thing here about the cost of Jack’s call that I’ve already written about in the section for page 37, in case you missed it.
- When he gets through to the Surf-Sand Resort (is that a Sand Creek reference by chance?) the desk worker asks if the manager Jack’s looking for is “Mr. Trent, or…” Trent sounds like another link in the Brant/Brent/Brett chain of homophonous names. Brent is the closest to Trent, and was a boy from Danny’s nursery school (pg. 138). But Ullman did sweet talk the “dreadnought” Mrs. Brant (111 pages ago: pg. 67–70). This could be another way of suggesting that there’s a weird juju going on in the real world, beyond the limits of the Overlook’s evil psychic reach. Maybe Ullman is unconscious of his evil, and maybe he isn’t. Maybe he overlooks his evil, just as he would overlook these homophonous names in his life.
- Jack describes Ullman as a “cheap, self-important little prick” again, possibly for the first time from his own thoughts. Danny first ruminated on the phrase on page 171, back when it wasn’t Nov. 7 (7/11), but Nov. 1 (1/11). And just by the by, Danny feels a “prick of fear” on page 31.
- Jack jokes about killing Wendy and Danny, referencing such things (between these two, anyway) for the first time since pages 7–9 (171 pages ago).
- I’ve been neglecting to mark all the stuff in this chapter about painkillers, because it is fairly omnipresent. I forget if chewing aspirin becomes a recurring motif, but perhaps it’s at least worth pointing out the “asp” in “aspirin”. Wendy gave Danny five of them on page 134, which got Jack’s goat slightly. Also, Jack is making the connection a lot between these pills and hangovers. It occurred to me that Dick gets a “headache” after Danny blasts him with the super shine, and he tells the boy he’s had “hangovers” that were much worse (pg. 84). The aspirin that Wendy gives Danny were orange flavoured, and Dick smells oranges before an incoming shine. Jack’s aspirins here seem to have no flavour, but for their “dry, bitter” “compelling” taste.
- Jack calls the Overlook a “playground for mafia bigwigs”. It’ll be just beyond the hotel’s actual playground that he gets hounded by the hedge animals. A scene with a similar flavour to the fear of his isolation in the basement. Maybe the hedge animals are possessed by the dead mafiosos? We never see them at the ghost ball.
- Jack informs Ullman about how the owner following the death of “the Chopper” (referenced here for the first time since pg. 164) was Sylvia Hunter, who happened to be Derwent’s wife from 1942-1948 (WWII years). There’s a Sylvia Hunte who was an Olympian, who competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. If that’s the reference, is this to tell us that Jack, by sharing his own full name with an Olympian, is more Overlook material than he realizes?
- Jack guesses that the Overlook was a “whorehouse” from ’67-’68 while Hunter was running the joint. Pages 67-68 feature Mrs. Brant getting swept away by Ullman into his private room, and Jack telling Danny about the lady whose hedges he used to trim, in a way that turns subtly sexual. And remember, there’s a link between the tales of older women lusting after younger men in the story (something reflected in movie Wendy’s Conquest trial): Lorraine Massey was shacking up with a younger man while drinking Olympia, Brant lusts after a young car-man, and Hunter may’ve been a madam. All have an Olympics connection within the film.
- Jack says “Now you see it, now you don’t” to Ullman, which is something he thought on page 5 about the way Ullman slipped a pad of paper into his pocket, after writing down that traps should be laid in the basement (traps like a certain scrapbook?). Here, Jack’s referring to the way ownership changed hands after the gangland slayings, but both references refer to something about the basement.
- Ullman mocks the notion of the hotel possessing ghosts. It’s funny how few actual references there are to ghosts in the novel. It’s basically this and the refrains of Watson’s “every hotel has a ghost” line. When the wasps come back to life, everyone assumes the bomb didn’t work.
- Jack describes himself as a whipped student before Ullman’s stern teacher, once again casting himself in the Benson position. Wendy describes Jack as having made a “one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn” on page 53, and here he’s doing something like that with his inner Denker/Benson. And he’s trying to flip the tables on Ullman, which works in some ways, but ultimately fails him.
- Jack says Ullman had him “on the carpet”, meaning he humiliated him. In the book so far, carpets have largely expressed these jungle patterns, and in Danny’s visions, where a man-eating tiger on two legs is coming for him. So Jack’s man/beast dynamic has one-eighty’d. In the film, the carpet expresses a wasp’s nest design (outside 237) or a kind of impregnation design (inside 237).
- We learn that Al Shockley owns 35% of the Overlook, the most of anyone. Page 35 is the first page of Jack going to phone Al in gratitude.
- Ullman describes the Overlooks dark history as “rotten apples” that Jack has dug up. That made me think of Snow White. Jack thinks that Grady is the owner of the scrapbook, and movie Grady will mainly speak to Jack in a red-and-white bathroom (the witch’s apple with half-white, half-red), and through the pantry door, while Jack has heaps of apple juice around him.
- Jack makes an odd turn in conversation to insist at length about the kind of book Ullman would want him to write, a “guidebook” that could handed to “guests when they arrive” with “glossy photos of the mountains” and “a section on the colourful people who’ve stayed there”. The film opens and closes on shots just like these, and comprise the Four Directions key and the F21 key, which are guides to understanding the film’s subtext. It’s funny that Kubrick would seem to oblige this little daydream of Jack’s. Does the novel begin and end with such “keys”?
- Ullman makes reference to being 95% and 100% certain of his job. On page 100 he says, “You’ve got your keys then,” just before leaving the Torrances to their new existence. In page 95% he only says his bit about Truman Capote, which includes the bit about him saying the man had “continental manners”. On page 100 is where we learn that Ullman drives a Lincoln Continental. Since Jack’s scrapbook findings link to the JFK assassination, as we’ve seen, perhaps the Lincoln references are meant as a sub-basement to those references, since there are a lot of kooky coincidences between those two assassinations. Oh, actually, he also says 5%, and page 5 is a part of the interview worth looking at. He tells Jack about the boiler room, and talks about setting traps there before saying that the Overlook’s season is May 15 to Sept. 30. The only page numbers you can make from these digits that fit within the story are 155 and 309. And 155 is Jack finding the 1945 invitation in the scrapbook, while 309 is the start of Hallorann’s rescue mission, basically. So maybe this is a bit like the “middle movie” from the Fibonacci analysis: 155 and 309 are both a few pages after the one-third (149) and two-thirds (298) marks of the novel. So it roughly describes the exact middle third of the story, and runs from Jack getting caught in the basement’s trap (the scrapbook), to Danny figuring out what REDRUM means. So perhaps this is our clue that Ullman knew what he was doing: the scrapbook is the trap for Jack, the thing that will push him to both drink and homicide. The movie is really riddled with such rubicons for Jack. Oh shit, I can’t believe I didn’t put this together before! Truman Capote has the same name as president Truman, who is subtly invoked on page 154, one page before the trap is sprung.
- Jack says, in mock reassurance, that nothing in the book will be untrue. The AT code for 237 is The Parrot Who Told the Talked Too Much, and is about how telling only the truth can get you into trouble.
- Ullman says he doesn’t care if “Chapter 5 is about the Pope of Rome screwing the shade of the Virgin Mary”. Chapter 5 of this book is Jack calling Al. And the one big detail about the Overlook’s history we get from this call is what Jack apparently learned from the Sidewinder library about Sylvia Hunter Derwent, whose possible namesake competed in the Rome Olympics. Also, there’s a myth surrounding St. Maurice of the Log Hut painting, concerning just such a shade of the Virgin Mary.
- Jack calls Ullman a cheap prick again (171, 172, 178).
- The word “hell” appears multiple times after the call, and Jack contemplates getting a beer, on his way to tell Wendy he’d fucked their lives yet again.
- The matchbook, and the Surf-Sand, are mentioned again before Jack contemplates the possibility he may have an honest-to-goodness “deathwish”.
- He gets a mental image of the first moment from page 105 of himself getting stung by the wasp’s nest, and letting out a stream of cuss words. He’s right back where he started from.
- There’s a bit about his mind running in a “single closed circle”. Movie Jack does this before he throws away his ball for good.
- Jack reflects that, to Ullman, the “cellar was another country”. In my study of the many artworks in the film, I’ve noticed that the background for the various artists in certain locations tend to be limited to very specific nationalities: the lobby is mainly Canadian and Dutch, room 237 is mainly British and Russian, the games room is mainly American. Stuff like that. There’s precious little artwork in the film’s boiler room – a dozen nudes and a William Blake parody (if that’s what it is) – so perhaps it’s all from somewhere that isn’t represented by the other rooms, or somewhere that film Ullman is never seen.
- Imagining a much smarter course of action than the one he’d taken, Jack thinks, “The Masked Author Strikes Again!” That reminded me of his reference to “The Shadow Knows” on page 45. So I guess Jack was primed for masquerades and such.
- Jack bemoans the fact he brought out Ullman’s “Little Caesar” tendencies. Jack pretended he himself to be Caesar after the publication of his first short story on page 48.
- Jack reflects that, while he finds the Overlook fascinating, he doesn’t like it very much, and doesn’t think it’s good for Wendy or Danny. There’s a set of postcards in the film that, I believe, move around the way they do because they help us see that the Overlook is like a microcosmic version of the nature of life. I skipped over the fact that, near the beginning of this chapter was the first time that he was starting to get really toxic thoughts toward Wendy. So if King also sees the hotel as a miniature life metaphor, perhaps these final lines of chapter 20 are to show that Jack was priming himself to take Wendy and Danny out of life, along with himself.
CHAPTER 21: NIGHT THOUGHTS
- The taste of dissolved Aspirin is still on Jack’s tongue at 10pm that night. Movie Jack does this thing I call “Tongue Acting“, where he’s constantly finding ways to flick his tongue around, creating this subtle effect of him being snake-like. So, this “Asp” being on his tongue could be a signal that the hotel is taking him over.
- Al calls Jack “Jacky-boy” for the first time since page 39 and 43. That’s a 143-page gap, and as we saw on page 143, that number has a special relationship to things seeming natural and real. Al is Jack’s most “real” friend in the world, but King cleverly conceals the fact that he may not have known Al before Al would’ve been running the Overlook. I suppose it makes little difference either way. If Al Shockley is meant to be some kind of Smiling Satan character, and if Ullman and Watson are in on it too, could he not have owned the hotel much longer than we think? He calls Jack the same name his own father used, “Jacky-boy”. So, either way, he’s probably a nogoodnik, who knew Jack was a minotaur waiting to happen, and maybe that’s how the bicycle truly had no rider that night. Jack shits the bed with Ullman, because Ullman was to belittle him to the point where the scrapbook would trigger this reaction, and now Al comes in to lay down the law.
- Al says that Jack’s book idea is more like a National Enquirer article. I don’t have a reference for that (yet) in the film, but there are quite a few magazines and papers lying around.
- Jack says it looks like a “black mass” had been going on in Ullman’s “cathedral” of a hotel, thanks to the scrapbook, and Al coldly says he hopes that’s metaphorical, and Jack says yes. On page 163 Jack compared the upper echelons to a “coven”, so, at least to himself, his friend Al was in with some nogoodniks and Jack was seemingly oblivious to this. Probably because of how Al reminds him of a version of his dad who doesn’t completely suck.
- Jack says the Overlook is an “index of the whole post-World War II American character”. Perhaps it seems that way because Jack’s experience of the world is limited to that time period. But it is funny to see it, as he says, stated so baldly.
- Al asks how far in the future is “far in the future” for Jack, suggesting it’s probably 2 or 5 years, but that for him it’s 30 or 40, because he intends to be associated with the place for life. Two pages from now (189) is Jack agreeing not to write the book, five pages from now (192) is the last reference to the Al call in Wendy’s mind, thirty pages from now (217) is Danny entering room 217, and forty pages (227) is Jack hearing his father’s voice browbeating him mystically through the Overlook radio, causing him to destroy it. I’m actually surprised by how creepy that is about Al associating himself to Danny’s abuse. Okay. So Al’s evil then, I guess.
- Al says the Overlook become a “piece of Great American writing” makes him “sick”. Suite 3 and the Boulder apartment in the film are packed with some of the greatest writing ever.
- Al says they went through the war together, and that’s why he’s trying to help Jack. More false comparisons to real war glory, like the “purple heart” bit on page 120.
- Al has become a “cheap prick” in Jack’s head (171, 172, 178, 182, 187). I did forget to note that Ullman was an “officious prick” several times during the interview, including on the first page, in the first line (page 3 and 5), so there is that.
- Al mentions “Hatfield”, which is who Lorraine Massey (of 30 “pages” from now) will become on page 271.
- Effinger is mentioned for the first time since page 43, and now we learn that his first name is “Harry”. Same as Horace “Harry” Derwent.
- Al asks if Jack wants “to chew” his “arm off” on his way to “a bigger killing”. The film seems conscious of the Norse gods whom the days of the week are named after. Tuesday is named after Tyr, the god whose arm is chewed off by the great wolf Fenrir, before it goes on to kill Tyr’s father Odin at Ragnarok. And, fun fact, it’s believed that Tyr was the ultimate god of an older religion who survived into the new canon of gods, but who got demoted so that the followers of the new faith would know who the real mythmakers were now. In the Tower of Fable subtext, there’s the idea of how pyramids are often the result of new pyramids being built over old pyramids, and the Overlook of the film is much like this, with new refurbishments blotting out the old building’s design. Perhaps this is why Al isn’t an actual devil, or whatever, but a more Cthulian being, perhaps, who, like the Overlook, is looking for a place to carry on being evil somewhere, anywhere, so long as it works. Maybe that’s what it means to be a father figure to a cat like Jack Torrance. Actually, Jack’s whole urge to know if Derwent is still involved in the Overlook is a bit like that. Like, he wants to know if the old gods still kick around the skirts of the new gods. Or is it the other way around? Are the new gods a mere front, a mask, for the old gods we thought we got rid of?
- Jack imagines the job falling through, and then forcing Wendy and Danny to relive The Grapes of Wrath, riding off for California in a disintegrating VW. Again with the Bombo. But also, the Steinbeck novel won the Pulitzer in 1940 and the Nobel Prize in 1962, when that kid from page 159 was plummeting to his doom.
- Jack tells Al he doesn’t need a friend in court because he is the court. A roque court?
- Jack tells Al that he’ll take the deal without hearing it. “If you want my balls, I’ll send them airmail.” So, there’s the reference to “The Chopper’s” balls being taken away on page 165, but there’s also the detail on page 157 (I didn’t make a note of it before) that Derwent both a cropdusting company and turned it into an airmail service, as one of the first ventures that got him going as a businessman. So Jack’s reference here is like a mashup of the Derwent story’s origins, and its conclusion – at least, as far chapter 18 is concerned. But these three references are also 8 and 23 pages apart, and movie Hallorann’s kill number is 238.
- Jack gives his “word of honour” to Al, just as he’ll give it to Grady to win his freedom from the pantry (pg. 382).
- Jack reflects that caving to Al’s demands was like caving to a “20th century Medici prince” forcing an artist to forsake artistic integrity for a portrait. There’s a painting behind Wendy at the top of the Conquest Well that looks to be exactly such a portrait.
- Jack goes on to imagine that he wears a dog collar for Al, and in the Story Room analysis, there’s a code (449) for a story called The Queen’s Dog, which is on a licence plate during the Abbey Road Tour, while Ullman talks about the hotel’s origins. “All I ask in return is your soul.” Movie Ullman, who might just be a mashup with Shockley, owns a RED BOOK, which might just bear a connection to Satan’s Red Book.
- The last line in Jack’s little daydream is “Remember, my talented friend, there are Michelangelos begging everywhere in the streets of Rome…” It’s neat that King finally name-dropped the famous painter, after omitting him from the line from the Eliot poem on page 160 – Kubrick has a similar way of delaying the things you expect, like the fear of Jack scaring Wendy in the lounge not triggering a jump scare. The Rome reference follows two others from page 179 and 182, a 3-page gap and a 7-page gap.
- Al calls Jack “Jacky-boy” one last time before he’s gone from the drama.
- He rubs Jack’s sobriety in his face, and Jack thinks “(YOU’VE GOT YOUR POUND OF FLESH BLOOD AND ALL NOW CAN’T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE?)” That’s a reference to Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Jack is casting himself as the hero Antonio(!), and Al as the sinister Jew, Shylock. The play might be Shakespeare’s most controversial for its seeming antisemitism. In the film, there’s an album by Steeleye Span in Hallorann’s bedroom, Commoners Crown, which opens with a cover of an antisemitic song from medieval times about a boy thought to have been stoned to death by Jews (this was false). The band subtracted the antisemitic elements, which might cause some to wonder why bother with the cover at all, but maybe they just like the melody.
- After hanging up, Jack feels struck by “lightning bolts”. There’s a wall rug movie Jack passes toward the end, which I’ve dubbed the lightningrug, for how it seems to speak to the Thor imagery in the film. So maybe Shockley somehow represents Norse myth altogether.
- There’s an odd moment when a paragraph of text is devoted to what might be Jack imagining a line from some animal documentary program. It goes, “The moving wasp, having stung, moves on…” Could this be a link to Danny’s reference to Wide World of Animals on page 172?
- He feels “strung up like piano wire” and as such, unable to sleep. Two pages ago he felt “hot wires” of rage in him, slippery as grease. And Al made a comment about not trying to control Jack’s artistic life, but Jack is feeling like a total puppet. If the wasp stung him now, it might not even be him that runs off the roof, but the puppet master who runs him off.
- After a break, Wendy wonders if her sleeping husband goes off to some “Great Barrington of dreams”, the animal park being last referenced on pages 140 and 148. Seems like an odd reference, an odd thing to link to a simple dream state, unless she was trying to imbue Jack with a kind of shine power. Although, recall that room 237 is loaded with animal paintings depicting the zoo of Gerald Durrell. Maybe this is an instance of Wendy knowing what’s about to happen to Danny and Jack, and being unable to stop it. When Danny’s entering 217, he’ll get snatches of Alice in Wonderland flowing through his mind (pg. 216), a story about a person lost in dream world.
- Wendy thinks of Jack’s alcoholic habits as having come back “one by one“. The first use of this phrase since it described Danny’s ingestion of aspirins on page 134. Wendy goes on to fret about Jack’s own popping of Excedrins here.
- She thinks of the “balls of paper” in the wastebasket. Another subtle wasp’s nest image?
- Jack has “constructed a roadway” for Danny’s toy cars. In the film, such an image is most clearly depicted as Danny sits outside 237, on a rug that some have likened to the rocket launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
- Danny is observed to be obsessing over the Violent Violet Volkswagen (last seen on pg. 118 – 73 pages ago).
- She comes upon Danny reading a “second-grade primer” about “Joe and Rachel at the circus with their daddy”. In Boulder, there’s an obscure reference to a “TRAPEZE” act on one of the newspapers, and Danny has a kid’s book called Teeny Weeny Adventures that stars Tobi and Terri, which isn’t the same names, obviously, but I don’t know if I have any reference for a “Joe and Rachel” anywhere else in the Boulder books.
- Wendy reflects finally on how Edmonds (last seen on page 151) was silly to dismiss Danny knowing about her Aileen thoughts, and then gets a flash of Danny knowing about an accident Jack had. One of the songs from the One By One soundtrack is called Accident, because it goes with a scene of a horrible F1 race car crash. And of course, Aileen died in just such an accident, and as we’ll see on page 239, Jack refers to his 20 martini drinks as martians, and Aileen looks like alien.
- She thinks about his caul again for the first time since 147. I’d been wondering on the last page if the “call from Al” phrase wasn’t supposed to remind us of how “roque” fits inside “croquet”, or how “Violent” looks like “Violet”, since “AL” fits in the middle of “CALL”. But maybe yeah, maybe Al’s “call” is meant to sound like Danny’s “caul”. Maybe calls from Al are meant to place such an anonymizing membrane over Jack’s face, and soul.
- Wendy reflects that they’ll drive down to the library again tomorrow. The first mention of the place since Jack left to make his Ullman call on 177. And we won’t hear about that trip until 198, since Danny’s about to do some ruminating of his own.
- After a break, Danny is hugging his Pooh bear doll for the first time since 123.
- He reflects that, thought Wendy has a philosophy of having a place to put everything, and trying to keep everything in its right place, things nevertheless seemed to be slipping out of place, and going missing – and doesn’t that sound like all the disappearing objects from the absurdities section of my analysis? In fact, disappearing objects will be what draws our attention to the Wizard of Oz subtext. And Danny will go on to compare this strange phenomenon to “one of those pictures that said CAN YOU SEE THE INDIANS?” where what once looked like just an ordinary cactus was actually a brave, hiding in plain sight. Putting aside the fact that this makes a perfect description of so many of Kubrick’s techniques, there’s the fact that L. Frank Baum famously wanted to genocide all the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And this now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t motif reminds of Kim’s game again (last considered on page 156), the invention of Mr. White Man’s Burden himself, Rudyard Kipling.
- Also, Wendy’s yellow jacket at the one-third mark, when she’s trying to get through to the forest rangers, features cacti and tipis and a man sleeping in a sombrero. Actually, I’ve often wondered if the collage of black and white faces beside the first radio might be a collage of indigenous people’s faces. But also, when she moves into Ullman’s office, she sits in front of a giant map of Colorado, along with two photos of the hotel being constructed, which evokes a memory of Ullman talking about how construction involved the repelling of “a few Indian attacks”. Danny’s mind (if that’s what it is) characterizes the “Indians” as having “evil, merciless faces”. If that’s what we’re meant to think Danny thinks, then the boy isn’t quite as pure of heart as one might hope. But on the next page…
- …he’s imagining one sneaking up behind him with “a tomahawk in one hand and a scalping knife in the other…” So it’s not hard to imagine how Danny got this idea of these people being evil and merciless. He’s gleaned the notion of indigenous people being vicious killing machines through the culture.
- He’s also thinking “Because you could never see all of them, and that was what made you so uneasy.” That seems like another fun comment on how both he and Kubrick were peppering this story with so much detail, you can’t hold it all in your head at the same time. There’s too much, the orgy of evidence is too vast and arranged for maximal confusion, for you to ever be able to witness every one of its dimensions simultaneously.
- He seeks out the “comforting glow of the night light” for the first time since page 127, a difference of 67 pages. The Apollo missions began in 1967, though the Apollo 1 did catch fire and kill everyone aboard. Also, it’s funny that Danny would’ve just been reflecting on the strangeness of what he’s been noticing about the hotel’s morphic abilities and then turning to the comfort of an (unnamed on this page) image of “Snoopy”. Danny finds comfort in noticing things, in “snooping”.
- Danny thinks Jack’s eyes are “far away”. Another Lontano (pg. 168).
- He remembers the fire hose day again (171–174).
- He frets about Wendy thinking he’s “LOSING HIS MARBLES” a term he connects to a series of other terms on the next page. But let me just say that this has been the most recurring of the ad hominem attacks levelled against me for my findings: people can’t believe their own eyes and ears, so I must be a crazy person. There can’t possibly be any another explanation. But those barbed attacks were nothing compared to the earnest skepticism of the love of my life, so I can appreciate what Danny’s going through here.
- He remembers a time when his friend Scott (who he hasn’t mentioned since page 26, and who Jack connected to Santa Claus on 119), told him about their classmate, Robin Stenger, whose father was a colleague of both their fathers at Stovington Prep, and what happened the day he lost his marbles. The story happens on the next page, but here we learn that Scott and Danny were sitting in a “play rocketship” while having this conversation. There was a David Scott, by the way, who was the seventh person to walk on the moon (and who flew in the Apollo 9 and 15 rockets), and who retrieved the most significant moon rock of any, called the Genesis Rock. I’m also seeing in the last link how another significant moon rock was called the KREEP, and that’s another of the recurring words that Jack hears from Watson’s introduction to the boiler. Watson cautions Jack that the boiler “creeps”, and that’s why he needs to keep an eye on it. I haven’t been tracking these references, but the first one is on page 19, which is where he hopes Ullman’s here to “ride the rocket” when the boiler finally does explode. Creep also appears in Danny’s characterization of the jungle imagery in the Overlook carpet (pg. 56), in the word “creepers”. The KREEP is made up of purely extraterrestrial materials, so perhaps there was a terror that moon matter and earth matter wasn’t meant to mix, and that this…creeping terror…would make life on earth impossible, or some such. King even describes the rumours that start among the parents of the children at this nursery as filtering down to the kids in “some wildly mutated form”, so that’s neat.
- As for “Robin Stenger”, Danny’s clutching his Winnie doll while thinking about this, and Pooh bear’s human friend was Christopher Robin. Stenger is the name of a few people who I don’t think this could be a reference to, but there is something called the Stenger Test, which is used to detect hearing problems, or people falsely claiming to have hearing problems. In the film, there’s a set of two songs called On the Nature of Sound #1 and On the Nature of Sound #2. The first one plays over final Grady twin vision and the scene of Wendy finding the murdered snowcat, fading out right before Delbert Grady knocks on the “story room” door. The second one is first heard as Wendy notices Danny emerging from room 237, and plays all the way to Jack offering his goddamn soul at Lloyd’s bar. It comes back at the very end of the Grady pantry talk to play atop Dick’s snowcat rescue drive up Mt. Hood, carrying on atop Tony/Danny’s final REDRUM sequence, ending when the Jack attack begins, only to return once Jack reaches the middle of the maze, and finds himself stumped. Turning right instead of left in that moment is arguably why Jack gets REDRUMed, and the song plays in fits and starts during Jack’s imprisonment, confusion, and downfall, petering out halfway through the look of frozen Jack’s dead face (a face he makes at Lloyd’s bar). So for starters, these two tracks combine with moments dealing with Danny’s encounters with ghosts (the twins and the 237 ghost), and Jack’s encounters with ghosts (Lloyd and Grady), so they underscore how these two men should be doing an awful lot of sanity-doubting at the hotel. But also consider how lefts and rights, and reds and blues, factor in why Danny (and even Wendy) survives and Jack doesn’t. The Stenger test is designed to trip up someone pretending to have an auditory ability level that they do not have. So Danny is hearing from Scott in an imaginary rocketship about what it means to “lose your marbles”, and the crazy person in question is someone who Danny will hear unbelievable stories about, until Jack clarifies for him later. Danny’s sense of what’s real is tested even by the story about the crazy Stenger man. Father of Robin.
- We learn that only half the kids are the children of teachers. The other half are the children of IBM plant workers, and I wonder if that was meant to allude to the Third Reich’s use of early IBM technology to track and monitor Jews leading up to the holocaust. There will be a few references in the novel to people having “concentration-camp” looks in their eyes. Also, WWII is referenced again on the next page, when part of the myth about what Mr. Stenger did was to try to waste everyone in the family with an antique pistol from the era.
- Scott says that Stenger went to THE BUGHOUSE, which is real old timey slang for what Jack will later call a SANNY-TARIUM. So, on the one hand, it’s neat to think what Danny would make of the connection between “bughouse” and the “bug” his father drives around in. But it’s also neat that he would make a rhyme out of Sanny and Danny. As if he might be afraid of the place being meant for him.
- Part of the myth of what happened to Stenger is that he was found eating “dead bugs and grass” as if they were “cereal and milk” while crying. Eat dead bugs? Go to the bughouse. That reminded me of the Mt. Vesuvius subtext from the film, and how both the name of the volcano and the town it obliterated are named after Hercules.
- Another part of the myth is that he tries to strangle his wife with a stocking after “the Red Sox lost a big ball game”. In the film, Wendy approaches Jack in the lounge wearing bright red galoshes or house boots, in the scene following him throwing the ball and being unable to write.
- Jack “confirms” only one of Scott’s phrases: “THE MEN IN THE WHITE COATS”. And while I haven’t found that many direct references to slavery in the film, I wondered if the intention here was to get the audience thinking about the KKK. I realize the phrase is a common one that means exactly what the book is saying on its face. I just wondered, because there is, in the final shots of the film, white sheets over everything, and at the beginning of the film, a bunch of cotton balls over Wendy’s head, beside a bull figurine and some twin-style salt and pepper shakers. And, if you like, we could point out how the Overlook is associated in the film to the Wizard of Oz and how “wizard” is the highest title of power within the Klan.
- He pictures the WHITE COAT MEN having a truck the grey colour of gravestones. So what he’s really afraid of is probably less being locked up in a kind of jail than being locked up in the cold infinity of death.
- Jack tells Dan that NO ONE KNOWS when Stenger will get better, and the boy feels this to be the worst thing. Again, I think this is what’s so magical about mystery stories, and about the incredible complexity of the Kubrick/King creations: if you do the research, you can know. You can figure it out. I hate to think that certain of the mysteries will remain mysteries forever (like the under 30 art pieces left to identify). But it’s possible that we may know everything there is to know, one day. That would seem to be the promise of science. And it would also seem to be the soothing nature of certain kinds of art, that they don’t really hold concretely definable meaning (how could every landscape painting have something totally fresh and original to say about life? and yet we do keep going back to them, and deriving personal meaning from them), and how that can relieve our desire to find (provable, concrete) meaning in everything.
- Danny interprets NO ONE KNOWS as another way of saying “never-never-never”. Hallorann’s cooking partner was named Mr. Nevers (pg. 97).
- By the way, while checking up on a theory I had thanks to that last point, I noticed that Stenger and some of the connected phrases to all this, come back up on page 292, so I think I’m on to something, but I don’t think I’ll write about it ’til I get there.
- Danny imagines Jack calling up the men in the white coats to come get him from their house at 149 Mapleline Way. I already considered the implications of this in the page 96 section.
- He thinks about the fire hose again (pg. 194).
- One thing I want to point out about the “Presidential Sweet” here is how the “sweet” part reminds of Hansel & Gretel. In that story, the witch’s house is made of candy, and in this hotel, every room is called a “sweet” in Danny’s mind. And according to my analysis of that fable’s appearance in the movie and book, the “trail of breadcrumbs” (pg. 72) is meant to reflect the nature of science, and how we need to leave “marks” in order to understand in the future something that happened in the past. But the events that Danny (pg. 93-94) and Jack (pg. 152–166) observe in this Presidential Sweet form a more sinister trail of breadcrumbs, one that leads the analyst such as myself to discover a different sort of presidential story. And isn’t that what’s so frustrating about conspiracy theory-type things, that they frequently have the ring of truth, and are more narratively satisfying than a scientific explanation? I mean, even most religious texts (imagine I’m talking about every religion except for yours, if this applies to you) are like a conspiracy theory – it’s an attempt to combine an imperfect sequence of clues into an explanation about something, which, in the case of most religions, is life itself. If you were the author of a religion, imagine the gall it would take to tell everybody else to live according to your private morality. You almost have to pretend that a god, or the gods, wrote the text, if only to spare yourself the ridicule.
- Actually, just in case I forgot to mention this earlier, the presidential suite’s number is 300, and that’s the page that makes the last page of Chapter 36: The Elevator. In it, Wendy is finding physical evidence of the ghost ball, and throwing it in the face of a skeptical Jack. There she says, “Fuck your job!” As in, being terrorized by ghosts is more important than making sure the Overlook remains standing, more important than trying to get to the bottom of the scrapbook, which for us now seems to mean getting to the bottom of JFK’s murder. The jobs we take on (as Jack accepts the caretaker job) and the jobs we assign ourselves (like Jack wanting to write a book about the Overlook’s dark history) are necessary for our sanity in many ways, but pale in comparison to the need to escape a cage with a hungry tiger in it.
- Danny hears the Goya-esque phrase in his head again, for the first time since page 143. That was 54 pages ago. Holy crow! A 54 is what you add to 88 to get 143. But that’s only true in terms of how Fibonacci numbers add together. So, like, starting from the number 1, the Fibonacci sequence goes 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89-144 and so on. But if you add the numbers as they go, you get different totals: 1 – (1 + “1” = 2) – (2 + “2” = 4) – (4 + “3” = 7) – (7 + “5” = 12) – (12 + “8” = 20) – (20 + “13” = 33) – (33 + “21” = 54) – (54 + “34” = 88) – (88 + “55” = 143). So King wasn’t just considering Fibonacci, he may’ve been considering how Fibonacci plays out in values, which means he might’ve been considering its implications for time, as Kubrick seems to have done. It’s weird though that it would appear again in a kind of backwards formation. Like, 10 moves gets you to 143, while 8 moves gets you to 54. Will this prove to be a sequence of numbers? Like, will future appearances of this phrase make a chain that starts with “10”, then “8”, then whatever else? We’ve only got 250 pages left. I just did a quick look through applicable pages and only found two things worth pointing out: one is that the Bartók reference is on page 221, which is 2 pages before the exact middle of the novel; and one is that 232 pages (pg. 429) from here (232 being 11 moves up Fibonacci) is where Danny “remembers” “what his father had forgotten”, which is how Danny escapes in the novel, basically: that the boiler will explode and destroy the building is what draws Jack away from the boy, so Danny remembering that fact is tantamount to everything movie Danny does to lose Jack in the maze. So that would make a 10-move, an 8-move, and an 11-move Fibonacci (with 18 pages left over for Danny and Wendy and Dick to escape and happily ever after – I’m not sure what to make of that, if it matters). What would 10-8-11 mean, if anything? Could it be a date? What I’m not too sure about, though, is the fact that movie Danny’s lesson-escape code is relatively easy to spot, once you know what you’re looking for. If book Danny remembered about the boiler because of these Fibonacci codes, how did he spot them? I’ve considered a lot that book Jack’s problem is that he doesn’t know he’s a character in a book, so maybe book Danny realizes that he had his Goya-esque thought on page 143, then page 197, and that’s your 10 and your 8, which are the numbers in 180, which is the level that Watson told Jack it would be bad for the boiler to exceed. Once the book exceeds page 180 (the page where Jack fucks his relationship with Ullman for no good reason, other than a self-destructive urge), we’re heading more and more into the danger zone for Jack. And Danny, possessing the “curious cat” variety of self-destructive urges (as we’ll see on page 215), enters room 217 on page 216/217/218, and if he could do what Jack couldn’t, and realize that he’s a character in a novel, then perhaps this is the mechanism of his memory: on page 429, he had reached the 11-move Fibonacci page, and it for some reason reminded him that the boiler needs to be dumped. Danny actually sees that the boiler is “the thing that would be forgotten […] with dreamy surprise” on page 142, thanks to the nudge from Dr. Edmonds. So if he could only remember (as we can, by being readers who are not in a dream state) that he’d seen the boiler is that very thing, he might not have felt such panic on page 421, bursting from the last of his dream states (and landing just outside the Presidential Sweet), but still unsure of what to do about it. He had to find a way to stall (I guess) to get to 429 and achieve that final reach of golden spiral reality, in order for the boiler to click. And maybe all the president stuff is sort of secondary to the Fibonacci stuff, just as the meaning that can be extrapolated from the four bird paintings in room 237 is secondary to knowing the lefts and rights in the maze. And why would that be? Well, maybe because the golden ratio is the pattern set that distinguishes fantasy and reality. Danny can tell the difference now between what’s real and what’s fake, and even though he’s but a figment of King’s imagination, perhaps even because he’s that figment, and aware of it, he’s perhaps able to remember everything that’s happened in the “book” of his life, just as a dream being might only be able to remember the memories of the dream world. But because he’s a shiner, he’s able to use Wendy’s invocation of Bartók, to see the subtext in his quasi-Goya thoughts. Honestly, this theory sounds borderline insane to me too, if you’ve read this far. But I think I’m on to something. I’m going to move on, but I’ll keep an eye out for other things that might connect to this. Oh, I’ll just say that, I looked at jumbles of 124 (the AT code for The Three Little Pigs, remember), and that’s why I was pointing out page 421. The intro to Danny entering 217 is page 214, and 241 is Jack’s first Lloyd chat being interrupted by reality, and 412 is Hallorann burning the hedge animals.
- Oh man, the next line after him hearing the faux-Goya quote is him praying “to God, but God hadn’t told him [what the line means]”. So I guess you can’t simply be told by god what reality is: you have to see it for yourself. And maybe that’s because there is no/are no god(s).
- Oh, there’s one connection to the film here that I almost overlooked: 232 is the 11th Fibonacci number, right? Well, it’s hard to know this without scrutinizing the moving film images, but when Danny’s doing his third lesson, we notice that there is no room 232 (see below). There’s a little broom closet kind of door beside the elevators (seen from 41:23-41:25; 59:40-59:43 (Wendy racing to nightmare Jack); 101:15-101:29 (Wendy coming to find the All Work papers)), but it’s clearly lacking the brassy numbers on all the other doors. And the song that’s playing over that sequence is Bartók’s golden-ratio-inspired composition, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, being heard for the second of three times. And since I’ve got this image here, let me point out how the suite doors run from 223-243 (the door past 243 is a fire exit). These page numbers almost start with the very middle page of the story (224), and contain a passage starting with Jack reminiscing about how his father’s nature left psychic scars on Jack, and end with Danny coming out of his 237-induced catatonia, and seeming to blame Wendy for his trauma. But first Wendy will blame Jack, allowing for Lloyd’s interference, and when Wendy returns for Jack’s help, he’ll pseudo-drunkenly try to explain that “It matters” that he never hurt Danny this time, despite the fact that Wendy now only wants to get Danny to a doctor. So, as the story passes its “hinge point”, as the Torrances go through the looking glass, is when so many of their prior conceptions get yanked around.
- Danny recalls how “Mr. Crommert” fired Jack from Stovington. This is the first mention of Crommert since page 36, when Jack was psyching himself up for his call to thank Al for the job. Here, Danny’s reflecting on how Jack’s fear about talking to Al proves his lasting desire to work a job. Also, since Crommert might be a reference to the Cram’s Superior map in Ullman’s office, this could be a reference to the notion of “maps”, which could play into this being a “Fibonacci page” and the golden ratio being a kind of map for Danny.
- He reflects that he wishes “there weren’t any Indians at all”, which sounds like giving in to L. Frank Baum-style thinking, but then admits that if there have to be indigenous people, then at least could then let the Torrances pass in peace? That’s probably pretty evolved for a 5-year-old in the ’70s.
- He decides to call Tony soon to see if there’s any way to avoid REDRUM. He’ll “risk the nightmares” he’s decided. “He had to know.” So does this all mean that Stephen King is Tony, since he’s the one refusing to tell Danny what’s what until the time is right?
- Danny is said to fall asleep only sometime after midnight, which means that Nov. 7 became Nov. 8 before this day was done. And 8 and 11 would be two-thirds of this Fibo-code of 10-8-11. Oh shit. Oh my god. I’m such an idiot. King sneaks in this reference to November 8th right in the last tiny paragraph of this chapter. And it was on Nov. 8, 1910 that Victor L. Burger rose to power, and this page 197 basically resembles a 191. Oh, also, Watson says that his father opened the Overlook for business in 1910 (pg. 24), something Ullman neglects to mention when he says that construction went from 1907-1909 (pg. 6). Oh man, and November 8 is the 312th day of the year, and 312 is the AT code for Bluebeard (pg. 88, 169–173, 215). I’m starting to think I may’ve cracked the code here…
- Oh, and this is chapter 21, and movie Jack goes back to a significant date in 1921.
- Okay, what about other November 8ths? The one that really jumps out is the one from 1960, when JFK was elected to the presidency, or 1932 when Roosevelt became the 32nd president (a painting in Suite 3 seems to reference him). But the one from 1923, where Hitler lead a failed coup d’état against the German government, nicknamed the Beer Hall Putsch, is interesting, as is the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in 1939 by Johann Georg Elser (while they were celebrating the anniversary of the failed coup, no less). In 1965, England passed The Murder Act, abolishing the death penalty. The 1889 version was the year Montana became the 41st state (the opening drives from the film are in Montana, and the Overlook is on an Oregon mountain, despite the whole thing supposedly taking place in Colorado). There was a failed attempt on King James I’s life in 1605 (The Gunpowder Plot). Could these all be being referenced? It does seem interesting that there were so many failed assassinations. But maybe almost any day would be like that. If not, then perhaps the urge to overthrow a dictator is more powerful in the pre-winter months, when people realize they’re few up with things as they are, and don’t want to suffer through a whole winter with an asshole in charge.
CHAPTER 22: IN THE TRUCK
- Opens with a passage from Bad Moon Rising by CCR, and a footnote lets us know that this is a song from 1969, copyright secure. But yeah, CCR is another band with an acrimonious breakup story, a la the Beatles, only they’re an actual family. The one reference to them in the film that I know of is the appearance of a golliwog right before Jack goes nuts. CCR’s original name was The Golliwogs. Also, it’s neat to have a reference to the moon being bad from 1969; that would play well with the Ne Plus Ultra aspect of the Pillars of Hercules. And aren’t all the Torrances “going beyond” at this point? Since page 180, really, as I discussed.
- The song is playing over the truck’s “Buick radio”. Movie Hallorann drives a Buick to get the snowcat, which involves listening to the radio, and driving past a smashed beetle.
- Danny is “turning Jack’s orange library card over and over”. If orange connects to shining power, it’s neat that Jack’s card would bear a connection: isn’t this the thing he maybe used to learn about the Overlook’s secret history and jeopardize his future? A subtle suggestion that, though libraries are amazing, and connect us to a world of culture and information, they can also contain the bad with the good, and can put ideas in our heads that lead us the wrong way.
- Also, Wendy was reflecting on Nov. 7 (pg. 193) that they would drive to the library, and here they are doing it. So this is Nov. 8, which it looks like it’s going to stay until page 211.
- The DJ says there’s been “springlike” weather the past “couple-three days”. This would describe pages 175–197 – the passing of 180, and the arrival at the next Goya Page. So, perhaps this is to suggest that there was a sort of magic portal of time where the Torrances truly could’ve eluded their sealed-in fate, and it’s closing now. Wendy had had the idea earlier (pg. 130) that she could just get a job in Boulder, to avoid ever having to set so much as a toe in her mother’s house ever again. And here she is driving there under the pretence that it will be good to get Danny some readers for the winter.
- The DJ says something about their trademark “Fearless Forecaster”. The Channel 10 news report that Hallorann watches in the film features Glenn Rinker, who mentions their weather man right as the sound of Danny’s shine makes Rinker almost impossible to hear. I forget the guy’s name, but he was known for his “Fearless” weather reports. Maybe that was a common term back then, but the connection exists anyway, and we’re not far from the middle of the novel.
- Some of the phrases here are directly used in news anchor speeches that Hallorann hears at the middle of the film, and during his rescue mission. Here, Wendy and Danny hear about how the “chain law will be in effect”. A direct quote.
- The DJ references the “Donners”, seeming to rip a page from Wendy’s thoughts driving to the hotel (pg. 62, 73, 92). He goes on to joke that the Donners didn’t realize how far the next “Seven-Eleven” would be. This is the first reference to “711” (unless you count pages 117 and 171 – a common thread between them being Danny reflecting that the hotel’s spooks were just “like pictures in a book” (171) and Jack reading a book that would likely scare a child (117) with its characterization of a raping, murdering arsonist), and it comes attached to this “bad moon” business (the villain in Welcome to Hard Times is “The Bad Man from Bodie”). The next reference, on page 239, is Jack saying “There isn’t a seven-eleven around here, would you believe it? And I thought they had seven-elevens on the fucking moon.” He’ll invoke the numbers again on page 327, thinking, “Seven-come-eleven, die the secret death and win a hundred dollars” a reference to the game of craps. But yeah, the “next” 711 is 40 pages away, and accompanies Jack’s first step into fantasy land, into becoming real Donner potential.
- “A Clairol commercial” comes on, at which point, Wendy shuts off the radio, obviously spooked by this seeming reference to her life 137 pages ago (2:17). There’s an actual Clairol ad in the film, on the back of a Glamour magazine that appears while Jack is throwing the ball in the lounge. And that magazine shows up again, behind Jack when he’s axing the front door of Suite 3.
- Danny says Jack picked “just the right day to trim those hedge animals”, as a comment on how blue and bright the day is. Again, this is Nov. 8, a day that likely connects to the Presidential Suite murders, which might indicate that the hedge animals are powered by the spirits of dead mafiosos. Actually, I neglected to mention that the day after Nov. 8, 1910 was the day that 26 conspirators in a plot to assassinate the emperor of Japan were convicted to be executed. That whole saga started in May of that year, and ran well into the following year, so I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t just a nearby event that didn’t bear on all this. But this “just the right day” bit reminds me of the fact that Jack saw “Japanese lanterns” festooning the Overlook’s front lawn on page 155, and he’ll picture them again on page 237. I took that as a simple, ironic reference to the gall of culturally appropriating a Japanese custom that soon after blowing their country to smithereens. Perhaps their combination with the front lawn, and these mafia-ghost-possessed hedge animals is a reflection of that real world conspiracy. The conspirators were anarchists and feminists who were accused of trying to overthrow the patriarchy…if the allegations were true. Most of the evidence was circumstantial, so perhaps the death sentence was simply applied so that people wouldn’t get the idea that Japanese law and order would suffer even suspected treason. Even Wikipedia cites that it became a pretext for rounding up dissidents and that only 5 or 6 of the accused could be connected to the plot. Might this all be coincidence? Maybe.
- They pass a sign saying Sidewinder is “18 MI.” In 18 pages Danny will be crossing 217 and meeting Lorraine Massey. So, perhaps this is the best indication that all this serpent imagery was meant to connect to the hotel’s evilest room, and Danny’s abuse there. And since “Sidewinder” might represent the Old Testament (by way of its symbolic evocation of the Garden of Eden) and “Boulder” might represent the New Testament (by way of its symbolic evocation of the boulder that sealed Jesus’ tomb), perhaps that’s how we’re to know to consider the book of genesis and the origins of human psychology. Genesis 2:17 is about how we shouldn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and it’s a serpent who seduces Adam and Eve to try. Dick jokes that Danny will “know everything there is to know about the human condition before [he makes] ten [years old].” He says this (pg. 82) because of what Danny gleaned from reading Mrs. Brant’s mind (pg. 70). Brant who lusts after young men just as Massey will sort of lust after Danny (and was described as cavorting with a younger man before her Olympia-induced demise (pg.22–23)).
- Danny remembers the moment from page 84 when he told Dick about knowing the boy wanted to steal a radio, only here he remembers it as a TV set. That seems interesting since just last page we were told about the Buick radio that was installed in this truck (is the truck not a Buick?), which just reminded Wendy of the Donner Party. Why did this switch to “TV” need to happen? To draw our attention away from the radio? Toward a TV? Also, this is the first scene of Danny in a car since that scene with Dick.
- As she drives, Wendy becomes careful, noting that the “downgrade” scares her. The word “grade” will be used again twice on page 200, and I wondered if this was to put a little “Grady” in the air. They are, after all, discussing the effect of the hotel on Jack.
- Edmonds comes up again for the first time since 192, and the notion of whether Tony’s real or not. Wendy says she believes in Tony.
- Oh, I do want to point out that Wendy had said before she wanted to get “second-grade” primers for Danny, and here “She shifted back to second as the grade steepened again.” This follows a moment where Danny almost gives an opinion about Jack’s mental state, and then stops himself. This would seem to worry them both. So, since Jack is going to “teach” Danny “to read” this winter, and since the big thing that learning to read does for Danny is allow him to read REDRUM backwards. Teaching him to read would seem to be a metaphor for teaching him to know what his oncoming death feels like. Perhaps the Fibo-code is another thing Danny is “taught” to read. So it’s strange that mother would desire that for her son. Wendy is taking part in this “second-grade” tutelage.
- Danny characterizes Wendy’s mother as a kind of Hansel & Gretel witch (pg. 72), saying he knows her mom’s thoughts are as though the older woman wants to eat Wendy, and steal Danny for herself. Danny says he’d rather risk the Overlook. That’s interesting since it’s the difference between the thing that destroys the father and the thing that destroys the mother. Danny is electing to destroy the father.
- Wendy then says she feels “more naked than naked” and it’s as if Danny caught her in an “obscene act”. Since movie Danny is lured into 237, thinking Wendy rolled the ball, this ties nicely to all the Younger Dryas Cataclysm stuff I talk about in the Pillars of Hercules section. But, even failing that, the Hercules stuff alone has a lot to say about the relationship between mother and son.
- Oh, I forgot to point out how, on page 190, Jack describes the hotel’s ownership as “incestuous” to himself, when he’s plotting his far more vicious book that he’ll eventually compose. That seemed like the first strong reference to the Playgirl movie Jack’s reading when Ullman and Watson saunter up for the tour. That magazine has an article about “Why some parents sleep with their children” or something close to that. Here, Wendy is horrified by the idea of Danny’s insights into her, but still “put a hand on Danny’s jeans-clad leg” as she does her follow up talk about Jack.
- They pass a “Sidewinder 15 MI.” sign, and going by the prior logic, this would forecast page 216. Wendy reflects that the road gets easier from here, and page 216 is replete with Alice in Wonderland references, so maybe that’s a comment not only on going backwards in time, but also the way we use story to soften the harshness of life.
- Wendy describes Jack’s attempt at sobriety as a kind of hell, out loud to Danny, while, just halfway back up this page, she imagined Danny’s ability to read the thoughts between her and her mother as a kind of hell. In both instances, she’s referring, essentially, to reality. Jack’s sobriety is his return to reality, and Danny’s psychic powers makes him almost super-real. Reality is hell, or at least it is in the mind of Wendy.
- There’s almost nothing to say about this page, but I hate to skip one. Wendy hands Danny a Kleenex, and there’s a box of Kleenex behind movie Grady in the impossible bathroom, during that long scene. That box, which is decorated with butterflies, sits in a spot of the room where Lloyd would be at his bar, since the Gold Room bathroom folds impossibly back into the Gold Room.
CHAPTER 23: IN THE PLAYGROUND
- It just hit me that Jack tells Danny he did the job of hedge-trimming before (pg. 66-67), for a lady who required him to recreate a kind of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts sort of topiary. Was that part of how Al Shockley knew he’d be the man for the job? Part of how Jack’s “always” been the caretaker?
- Jack notes that only the rabbit and the dog need work. In the Four Directions analysis, rabbits equal Hallorann and dogs equal the Overlook and later Jack himself, once he goes to the dark side. He thinks the “rabbit’s ears” need work, and that’s an old term referring to a TV antennae. On page 148, Dr. Edmonds said of Danny, “If life doesn’t cause him to retract his antennae, I think he’ll be quite a man.” So King’s linking the concept of the mass media’s ability to shine…to the very concept of the wily rabbit. In fact, I wonder if Jack’s usage of “Doc”, and the Bugs Bunny reference that makes, connects to his rate of mental disintegration.
- Jack notices that the lions and the buffalo look fine. But if they’re all the same plant, shouldn’t they all be growing at roughly the same speed? Perhaps this lack of growth signifies the connection between apex predators and the hotel. Also, lions are usually associated to royalty, and the horned buffalo would perhaps connect to the minotaur. Movie Jack is whipping his ball at a buffalo head when the shot fades to Wendy and Danny running into the maze.
- Jack talks to the rabbit hedge, calling it “Br’er Rabbit“. This is a more ancient figure than Bugs Bunny, descending from African-American folk tradition. Many cartoons have been made about it, but perhaps the one that impinged the most on the film was Ralph Bakshi’s controversial 1975 film Coonskin, which featured Scatman Crothers. That film has a cartoon character get into blackface in order to get close enough to assassinate Br’er Rabbit, mobster-style. Also, John Young (the 9th person to step on the moon) referenced Br’er Rabbit when he set foot there. There’s also a painting of a rabbit in the film that strongly resembles one Joseph Smit did of the exact rabbit Br’er Rabbit is based on, the African Savanna Hare. Smit worked for John Gould at times, so that connection would be apt. Also, that painting is right next to where room 232 would be, and we’re not far from page 197, here.
- Jack reflects that it’s “perverted” to want to trim hedges into shapes, and links it to billboards in Vermont selling ice cream. This is the novel’s first, and maybe only, reference to ice cream. It’s followed by a thought that seems to get beamed into Jack’s head, and ends the page: “(You weren’t hired to philosophize, Torrance.)” On the next page, Jack sort of blithely agrees with this notion, and I wonder if the implication there is that Jack is starting to see himself as a slave. That would tie into the Bombo subtext. Also, I checked the eye scream part of the film, and there aren’t any 203s, which would tie this “ice cream” and that “eye scream” together.
- Jack touches up the rabbit’s “face” and then ponders the way it doesn’t really have one, seen so close up. At a distance, he knew the distance and “the viewer’s imagination” would create a face. This idea will come up again later when Jack remembers being a kid and being unable to see the “Jesus” face in an abstract artwork, in a classroom full of other kids professing to be able to see it. Since Danny sees a screaming face in the blood on the wall of the Presidential Sweet (pg. 94), I’m guessing this is a clue at the fact that Jack lacks shine power. Which is not to say the other kids around little kid Jack actually could see the face. But that Jack is unable to force himself to witness things he doesn’t think are there. He doesn’t give in to group-think, but he also doesn’t really shine.
- Jack imagines replacing all the hedge animals with a place where people could simply drink a lot of fanciful alcohols. Is that to tie his problem to the problem of what the mobster ghosts represent?
- Jack goes over to a scale model of the hotel that sits in the playground, and sees it as a “playhouse” that he is a giant, intruding cannibalistically upon, perhaps in Jack and the Beanstalk fashion (which is sort of an inverted Prometheus/Tower of Babel story, where the stealer of the godly riches simply gets away by severing the connection between heaven and earth). In the film, he towers over a scale model of the Overlook hedge maze, and the shot makes him look like a god looking down on creation. Of course, the model looks nothing like the actual maze, besides being rectangular and having a middle. Oh, and I might as well note that the painting Stormy Weather is above the maze model as he strolls up. And book Jack is ruminating about the radio saying the storms are a-comin’. But anyway, yeah, he’s looking in the “third-floor” windows as he does this, and wasn’t it from the third floor that the drunken writing student went crashing out to his death in 1962 (pg. 159)? Since Jack’s calling this a “playhouse” he might be thinking about it on the same wavelength as he compares The Little School to his own life.
- Jack notes that the playhouse opens on a “hidden hinge”. I was calling the middle of the movie the “hinge point” since almost the beginning of my analysis, so I’m struck that this term would come up here, so close the book’s middle. Not to mention the metaphor it seems to be creating. Like, for King, his novel is not a movie (however obvious his love of movies may be), it’s a book. And each page of a book is like a turning hinge that reveals a new mini-universe for readers to get into, much as Jack here is imagining children getting “inside” the playhouse.
- Jack joylessly tries out the various playground items, including a slide, that’s way too small for him. He reflects that it’s probably been “20 years” since he was ever on a slide. Page 185 is the end of his disastrous chat with Ullman. At the end of the very first release of the film, there’s a deleted scene where Danny is playing Snakes & Ladders in a hospital outside Wendy’s recovery room when Ullman pays a visit. That’s a game that’s sometimes known as Chutes and Ladders (Slides and Ladders). So Danny has made a simple game out of his Overlook nightmare: simply learn how to find the ladders and avoid the snakes. Book Jack has lost the ability to do either, it seems. In a moment, this slide will kick off memories about his abusive father.
- He remembers being in “Berlin” for the first time since page 75, although the German Berlin was invoked on page 157. His dad calls him “Jacky” for the first time – something Al’s done four times and his own thoughts did on page 5, referring to Ullman’s magician-esque notepad manipulations. Actually, I’m wondering, since the JFK thing feels like a lock, if “Jack” is the part of the hotel that wants to “assassinate” Jack Torrance (John F. Kennedy was called “Jack” by some), and if “Jacky” is meant to feminize him, through the “Jackie O.” homonym. If you don’t know, JFK’s widowed partner was named Jackie Onassis. That would slyly jive with the notion that Jack is sort of pre-dead, and the hotel is simply claiming him. Actually, so far in this chapter (Jack’s first since surrendering his soul to Al) he’s noted a few times that his voice sounds hollow in his own ears, and that his jokes to himself aren’t funny, and that this slide is generating no particular joy. In fact, it’s mainly generating sad memories. Maybe Jack really did go dead inside.
- He cautioned himself on the last page that he doesn’t need a playground to prove he’s not a kid anymore. So perhaps that’s what the “Jacky” refrains are also about. Making Jack feel small, smaller than he is. Still, he carries on to some “cement rings” that he’s too big for, again, and he moves on. In the film, there’s a heap of cement rings, seen just past the snowcat garage during the tour, when Wendy and Danny have a snowball fight, when Wendy runs to the dead snowcat, when Hallorann drives past in his snowcat, and when Wendy and Danny finally escape. I’d largely written these off as a background detail, but now I suspect they’ll mean something about what happens to Danny when he’s in there later, hearing the voice of the ghost boy.
- Jack, gripping a chainlink fence, pretends he’s in jail and wants out. Once again, he feels nothing but the urge to get back to work. Since this is a “play” ground, and he’s feeling this “work” urge, I suspect that this is where Kubrick’s whole All Work and No Play bit came from.
- He sees a putting green while surveying the grounds. In the film, there’s a Golf Like the Greats towel in Boulder, bearing the name Jack Nicklaus.
- As he notices that the hedges are subtly different now, he notes that the dog hedge is on its hind legs “begging for a sweet”. Since sweets are sometimes suites, and Jack is turning into a man of the hotel, could this be a sign of Jack becoming interested in an eternal home here?
- The hedges close in on Jack from the “left” and “right”, and since lefts and rights are so significant to movie Danny’s escapes, and since these hedge animals become a hedge maze, that seems like a deliberate transformation.
- Jack covers his eyes with his hands and then removes them to see if the hedges will change. They do not. Danny referenced the way scary movies make us do this on page 171. Oh! And by the way, the hedge maze in the film is facing west when Wendy and Danny go to play there, and then pointing toward the hotel (north), when Jack chases him in. So even that part of the hedge experience was retained.
- Jack compares this to something like alcohol withdrawal, and imagines himself as Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend (1945), “seeing the bugs coming out of the walls”. Fun Fact: the animal noises in the film were created by Mel Blanc, the guy who did the voice of Bugs Bunny. The guy the Torrances are constantly invoking. The “bugs” are “coming out of the walls”.
- He sees now that the dog hedge seems to have eyes. I forgot to mention back in the rabbit face bit how Kubrick invoked Freud’s theory of the uncanny, and how that has to do with the lifelessness of an automaton’s eyes, and how this is what generates creepiness.
- Asking himself “what’s next” he imagines that he gets gobbled “up like something in an evil nursery fable”. A component of Hansel and Gretel is G82 (when a cannibal fattens their victim), which is fairly close to 208, I think.
- Jack thinks the dog is starting to look like a scary German Shepherd. Movie Jack passes such a painting twice.
- He notes that the buffalo’s “green hedge horns” are pointing at him. Need I say more?
- He claps his hands over his eyes again, saying he refuses to “believe” in this. Belief is a huge subtext to the novel, but in just the last chapter Wendy was assenting to her faith in Tony.
- The animals return to their spots and the spots seem symbolic. The dog is near the golf course, begging. The buffalo gazes toward the roque court. The rabbit’s ears are once again the focus of its bearing. And the lions guard the path. In response, Jack stuffs “three” cigarettes back into a pack, lights the “fourth”, and takes “two” drags off it. Page 342 is Jack arriving at the ghost ball and noticing a man in a dog mask, a man who will prove to be “Roger”, the plaything of Horace Derwent, who appears in a fox mask.
- He references the wasps as a possible cause of this stress-induced hallucination. And that reminds us that, in this section known as Part III: The Wasp’s Nest (pg. 105-218), the story starts and ends with animals coming to life as a result of Jack on his lonesome, doing his job. And speaking of his “work”, isn’t it funny that, once he tries to use work to get away from his feelings of age and existentialism, the event with the hedges make him think about the concept of “evil” fables. Yet when he tries to “play” all he can feel is that he should feel ashamed for not getting more accomplished.
CHAPTER 24: SNOW
- Another reference to “right” and “left” as Jack stands on the Overlook porch with his left arm around Danny and his right around Wendy, as they all watch the snows come and block them in. Since the movie sees lefts and rights as good things, I suspect Kubrick was thinking this to be a reference to Wendy and Danny being Jack’s salvation.
- The sky “had completely clouded over by two-thirty” on page 230, Jack’s inner world is described as an “emotional storm” resulting from having destroyed the radio after having heard his father’s ghost voice on it.
- The hedge animals get buried in snow that becomes described as “amorphous white cloaks”. Danny, of course, fretted about THE MEN IN THE WHITE COATS taking him away in their “gravestone grey” truck. So I guess the mafia and the KKK are getting mashed up here.
- The Overlook is described as “bearded” with snow. That seems interesting, since we have another Bluebeard (AT 312) jumble coming up with page 213.
- The family is described as “microbes in the intestines of a monster”. I’ve often wondered if labyrinths (the ones that people have been making across the centuries) were meant as a metaphor for the human body, and the way food passes in through our mouths and out through our rectums. Across the millennia of people eating other animals, and looking at the insides of other creatures, it must not have been the greatest mystery that what went in was what came out, but why did what came out look so different? By what magic was that the way of things? So I wonder if that’s why labyrinths were thought to trap evil spirits, or whatever. Because we knew that some process took place within ourselves as things pass through us. But in terms of what this has to do with the Torrances, it’s like King’s saying that the Overlook swallowed them the second Hallorann described it that way to himself as he left them on page 89, and the decision to leave was something like the “stomach” part of the process. Now they’re in the intestines. And doesn’t that help with the sense of inevitability?
CHAPTER 25: INSIDE 217
- “A week and a half later” starts the chapter, and that could be 10 or 11 days, I guess, in which case this would be Nov. 18 or 19. Since Danny’s about to encounter his worst/second worst emergency in the story, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is 19/11. Actually, if we read that as 1911, that would possibly jive with the emperor assassination bit. But it’s ultimately unclear.
- The equipment shed is mentioned again (pg. 6, 169), 11 pages from the middle of the story. And 11 pages after the middle, Wendy will be worrying over how she can get Danny down to Sidewinder, to see Dr. Edmonds again, and while the answer to that is clear, she doesn’t actually reference the snowcat of the shed in her thoughts. I don’t know if that’s good enough for mirrorformity – though there are many instances of something on one side of the film referring to the absence of something on the other, like the paintings behind GREAT PARTY/Grady.
- The snow drifts around the hotel are described as two, five, and twenty feet deep. That many pages into the future is Danny standing outside room 217 again (pg. 214), him entering the room (pg. 217), and him emerging from the room to Wendy’s horror (pg. 232).
- The snows have covered the first floor completely, rendering the magnificent view from the dining room, that Jack had admired (pg. 77) and that Ullman so encouraged them to enjoy (pg. 98), into a “blank movie screen”. If those number connections from the last point, connecting snow to room 217, were intentional, having snow blot out a magnificent view of reality, and turn it into a sort of blank art canvas, that would gel well with the general theme of art being a reaction to (or cause of) pain. Also, it’s power to control our sense of what reality is, as the evil room will do to both Torrance boys soon.
- The phones have been out “the last eight days”, which would either mean the date was 11/10 or 11/11, when they lost average connectivity. Nine pages ago ended (pg. 203) with Jack’s “ice cream” bit. So if that’s somehow symbolic of his losing whatever minuscule shine power existed in his being, having finally sold out to the Overlook, eight pages ago would mark the start of his shineless existence. His inability to truly connect with the outside world. In fact his next major dramatic act will be destroying the CB radio.
- Night temperatures are said to not go above “10” degrees, and day temperatures “25” degrees. As page numbers, these mark the end of Jack meeting the hotel’s two more sinister employees for the first time.
- Wendy is pulled by Jack and Danny on a sled, and they’re described as “drayhorses”, a term Jack playfully self-assigned on page 118, bemoaning his subservience to duty.
- A group of five caribou are seen just past the Overlook’s security fence by the whole family. They exchange a pair of Jack’s Zeiss-Ikon binoculars to see their “motionless” bodies better. So for starters, there’s what I took to be a giant moose head in the film, seen perhaps best behind Jack when he’s doing his insane THURSDAY stare. But which appears numerous other times. And, on closer inspection, this could be a caribou head. Room 237 is right behind where that head hangs. That would be neat since I’m starting to wonder if these “motionless” caribou are meant to reflect the “motionless(?)” hedge animals, one of which is a buffalo…and there’s a giant buffalo head on the opposite of Kubrick’s lounge. There’s also a sketch of what might be a caribou that Danny passes on his third lesson – next to a painting of a dog and a rabbit. But anyway, yeah, these are “Zeiss” binoculars, which means they share a name with Peter “Poppa” Zeiss, one of the Overlook’s mafia connections from page 162-163. So, if the mafia goons connect to the hedge animals, and the hedge animals connect to the caribou, then this could be the bridge between the goons and the caribou.
- Looking at them gives Wendy a horrible “unreal” feeling, and she imagines that the snake-like highway connecting the Overlook to Sidewinder and beyond belongs more to the caribou than it does to them. She then leaves her men and goes to the kitchen where she starts to “weep” while thinking about the caribou, and then, for some reason, the wasps. I suspect that’s because Wendy is connecting with the reality of what’s about to happen: she can’t prevent this seeming conspiracy life has against her child. Whether you read these things as literal or figurative, these symbols connect back to Danny getting 11 wasp stings, and to Jack finding out about the Overlook’s dark history, and to the snake-like entity hiding in a room she doesn’t know her son’s curiosity is driving him towards. She can’t help Danny getting hurt in this life anymore than she can stop the driving snows.
- Incidentally, she imagines the “Pyrex bowl” for the first time since page 169.
- Jack reflects on finding snowshoes in the equipment shed not unlike ones he had back in Berlin (last mentioned on page 205).
- Wendy gets exhausted after only 15 minutes of using the snowshoes. In 15 pages (pg. 228) Jack will have destroyed the radio and be thinking that only the snowmobile in the equipment shed connects them to the outside world. And 15 pages back Wendy was reflecting on how “drawn and tired” Danny looked as if “going on nervous energy alone”.
- Danny is described as wanting to pick up the “knack” of snowshoeing. On page 81 Hallorann described the shining as a “knack” and on page 95, Danny reflects that Jack told him he had a “NACK” for figuring out how things work.
- Jack predicts that “by next February” Danny would be snowshoeing “circles” around him and Wendy. Since it’s most likely to be 1977, I looked at page 278 (2/78) and found that Jack is (in the equipment shed) wrestling with his snowshoes, while watching Danny struggle valiantly to make a snowman.
- At the bottom of the page, after a break in the text, Wendy is knitting while hearing about another “8 to 12 inches” of snow coming. In 8 pages (pg. 221) she’ll be passing out with her knitting needles in her lap while thinking about Béla Bartók and Bach.
- Also, this is a Bluebeard jumble page (312). I don’t see any keywords here that would easily connect to the fable, but Danny will be thinking about the fable in 2 short pages. And when Wendy thinks about Bartók on 221, she’ll be thinking about the composer of Bluebeard’s Castle.
- This is actually the second time that we get a Bluebeard jumble (312) and a Three Little Pigs jumble (124) back-to-back, the other being 123-124.
- Jack is back in the cellar, setting himself up for another Overlook research session when Danny goes questing into 217. He sits in a “cobwebby camp chair” he finds, and that word “camp” will come up again later (pg. 271) to describe it. The painting that seems to tell on the hotel’s plot to kill Hallorann in the film is called Trapper’s Camp. And that “cobweb” bit seems like a coy dark side to the more positive interconnectivity suggested by Wendy’s knitting yarn. A mother designs an interconnective thing to protect her young one from the cold. A spider makes a web to trap its prey.
- Jack is described as looking “slightly lunatic”. There’s a part in the mirrorform when the letters in MONDAY make the Grady-chat Jack look more than slightly lunatic, and that word “lunatic” means “moon person”, as in, person driven mad by the moon’s mystical powers.
- Jack finds various “disquieting” things in the basement, all of which seem to tie to Danny or 217. A “dismembered Teddy bear” reminds of Danny’s Winnie bear (pg. 123, 194–197 – note that there’s 71 pages between the first two sightings, and 17 between these). A “crumpled sheet of violet ladies’ stationary” is the first invocation of “violet” since Danny’s Violent Violet Volkswagen (pg. 118, 191 – 73 page difference, 23 page difference).
- He finds a half-written note addressed to a “Tommy” dated June 27, 1934, a day where a powder mill exploded in Olympia, Washington, killing 11. Lorraine Massey (who’s about to reappear for the first time since page 23 – she was suggested during the Dick chat, but didn’t get a direct reference) died after drinking Olympia alcohol. He then finds a “hand puppet” (pg. 13) that could be a “witch or warlock” (pg. 32, 163, 187).
- The witch is tucked in with a receipt for “Vichy water”. That may be a real brand of water, but there’s such a thing as water from Vichy, which was thought to be therapeutic, and relieve paralysis – something the “witch” in 217 will sort of freeze and unfreeze Jack and Danny in different ways. But Vichy was also the part of France that was taken over by the Nazis in the war, and so became a pejorative term. Jack has now become Vichy-esque in the sense that he retains some of his autonomy, but has surrendered part of himself to the hotel.
- The witch is also found wedged near a “poem” scribbled on “the back of a menu”, which goes, “Medoc,/are you here?/I’ve been sleepwalking again my dear./ The plants are moving under the rug.” I covered this already in the pg. 88 section. But what I didn’t mention there is that Médoc was a wine-producing region of France, which would’ve fallen under Nazi control during the Vichy days.
- Jack compares all the notes to a “piece in a jigsaw, things that would eventually fit together if he could find the right linking pieces.” The last time we saw a jigsaw puzzle was on page 135, when Jack slides the resurrected wasp’s nest onto one, before dropping it in the snowy waste outside. And Jack tells Ullman that Danny will have puzzles to keep him occupied throughout the winter on page 9. Since a major concern of novel Jack’s is trying to sort through the pains of his childhood, and figure out where his mind may’ve gone wrong (all the things that lead to George Hatfield and Danny’s broken arm, and how he should feel about these things), it seems apt that King would connect this to the wasp’s nest, the notion of resurrecting pain delivery units.
- After a break, Danny is outside 217 for the first time in 43 pages (pg. 171).
- Danny thinks of the hose for the first time in 19 pages (pg. 196).
- The narration contemplates the role curiosity played in drawing Danny into the evil room, and is interrupted by the idiom “(killed the cat; satisfaction brought him back)”. That’s an idiom that goes back to playwright Ben Jonson (1598) (another thing connecting Danny to “Benson”?) and Shakespeare (1599), and which seems to have evolved over time into the version Danny uses. That reminded me of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, a phrase that doesn’t appear in the novel, but which dates back to at least the mid 1600s. I think both King and Kubrick concerned themselves with this idea of clichés, and their power to both capture and fail our experiences. Danny is about to go through something just like the idiom says, but his death will be a figurative one, while Jack’s will be a literal one, and he won’t come back.
- Also, the original saying was that “care” not “curiosity” killed the cat. Care meaning worry, or even “worry for others”. So, just as Danny is trying to understand what the “Indians” in his life are (pg. 193–197) – the deadly things hiding in plain sight – he’s going into the room that earlier was guarded by a threatening snake hose, to see, I suppose, what Mr. Hallorann experienced there (pg. 87–89), to know what Mr. Hallorann knows about. Hallorann told him (as he recalls in this paragraph, in fact) that he doesn’t think there’s anything in the hotel that could “hurt” Danny, so why not go in the evil room? And this way he’ll get a glimpse into what made Mr. Hallorann the man he is. I think this plays into so many of the buried subtexts, honestly, of both book and film.
- The desire to enter the room is described as a “fishhook in his brain”. Danny’s shine power has been called a “bluenose” (pg. 145), the current owner might be “Charles Grondin” (pg. 158), Hallorann has discussed “rainbow trout” (pg. 72), and the sun looked like a “golden fish trapped in a blue net” (pg. 62) during the drive up. So fishes are little shiners. Oh, also the room 217 peephole was conceived by Danny as a “fisheye” (pg. 167). Fishes catching fishes.
- He reflects again on his “promise”, which he last considered on page 171. Again, he only said “all right”, never “I promise”. This might be pedantic semantics, but then a thought comes into his mind “(Promises were made to be broken)” that seems to come from outside of him, followed by one that is very clearly coming from outside of him, which includes the word “redrum” and a call of roque play, “FORE!” It also includes “my dear”, which will soon become clear as a Little Red Riding Hood reference.
- Actually, what’s interesting here is that Danny’s (seemingly?) pure thoughts are contrasted by these external, incoming thoughts by King’s use of italics. I haven’t been tracking which thoughts are which throughout my analysis, but a quick scan of the early pages shows Wendy and Jack have thoughts in italics, and I don’t think we’re meant to think they were both always agents of the hotel.
- He hums Skip To My Lou again for the first time since page 26, which might’ve tied to the “Ha Loo Sin Nation” reference on page 28. Jack actually just reflected that he wouldn’t “need” to tell Wendy and Danny about his hedge animals “hallucination” on page 209.
- He justifies his B&E by remembering that Hallorann wouldn’t have “allowed the snow to close them in” if there was anything here that could actually do him harm. That reminds me of Kubrick’s usage of The Door. He actually frames this as the “reason” Dick left them alone, and isn’t it the “sleep of reason” that breeds “monsters”?
- A line in italics comes, but without brackets, making it seem like a free-floating thought from who knows where: “Just close your eyes and it will be gone.” This seems like a twist on Hallorann’s advice from page 88: “…just look the other way and when you look back, it’ll be gone.” Both of these have a “sweep it under the rug” quality. Like, if you can’t handle the atrocities of the past, just look the other way, and when you look back, presto chango, no more atrocities!
- Danny remembers the “Presidential Sweet” (pg. 94-96, 196) and the “fire hose” again (pg. 95, 171-174, 194-196). He describes them as a “movie that only he could see”, and doesn’t that remind of the mirrorform and the twice-fold?
- “(what big teeth you have grandma and is that a wolf in a BLUEBEARD suit or a BLUEBEARD in a wolf suit and I’m so)” This line interrupts another such seeming psychobabbly line, only this one contains out Little Red Riding Hood confirmation, mashed up with another tolling of the Bluebeard. The AT code for Little Red Riding Hood is AT 333, and on page 333 a ghost man in an eyeless “wolf’s head” zipper mask is playing the part of the three little pigs at Danny. Danny’s asking to be let by, and the wolf suit man says “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!” The AT code for Three Little Pigs is, of course, 124, which is a jumble for the page we just left, while Bluebeard in 312. Fun fact: on page 321, a police officer (sometimes called a “pig”) will be keeping Dick from getting to the plane to save the Torrances by rambling on about how much he liked “story time” as a child. But is he a pig in a wolf suit? Or a wolf in a pig suit?
- Another thought from the Overlook clarifies that it was merely the “HOPE” of satisfaction that brought the cat back. I’m reminded of the part from The Masque of the Red Death, where Prince Prospero tells Francesca that the four horsemen of the apocalypse are the true rulers of the earth, and she replies that there’s also “love, and life, and hope!” To which he replies, “Very little hope, I assure you.”
- The jungle carpet is mentioned again, though I don’t think I’ve been tracking every last of these references.
- Danny busts out one of his father’s favourite (and worst!) phrases and calls the fire hose a “cheap prick” (pg. 171, 172, 178, 182, 187).
- He goes into a weird sing-song in his thoughts, listing all the things the hose is not, and in so doing, says that’s it “not a nose”. Wendy compared his nose to a fire hose on page 101. He also says it’s “not glass buttons” and his Winnie doll (pg. 193) has buttons for eyes, so that’s a little more eye imagery perhaps.
- The “white rabbit” of Wonderland fame gets a name drop, which reminds me of the “amorphous white cloak” covering the hedge rabbit (pg. 210). Oh, King draws our attention to the rabbit’s shift from green to white in the next line, lol. And the link between the Red Queen’s croquet and the Overlook’s roque court. And how “storks” are used as “mallets” – so is Jack bringing a “stork” down on Danny’s head? And how “hedgehogs” are used for “balls” – again, if the hedge animals are infused with the dead mafia goon souls, we did learn that “the Chopper’s” “balls” were taken after his murder.
- Danny sings “Lou, Lou” again.
- He hears a few repeats of “OFF WITH HIS HEAD”, which reminds of the decapitation motifs surrounding movie Jack, who seems to be associated with the minotaur, Medusa, and Geryon.
- Danny reflects that the room is dark because Jack shuttered the “western exposure two weeks ago”. If this is indeed the 19th, and “two weeks” is literal, that would be 4/11, page 411 is Wendy hearing the sound of Dick coming to her rescue through the window in their suite.
- He technically steps “in” from the doorway at the bottom of 216, but the bulk of his experience in 217 is on page 217. He notes that the carpet is a “soothing” rose colour. One of the other things the fire hose from before was not was “not a rose”. The playing cards in Wonderland are “painting the roses red”, which is something the Red Death does in the film version of Masque of the Red Death.
- The last thing he notes is that the room has a writing desk, before thinking “(Pray tell me: Why is a raven like a writing desk?)” Carroll replied to readers that the mad hatter’s riddle was not meant to have an answer, though they both “can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” Chess and puzzle master Sam Loyd also noted that “Poe wrote on both.” But yes, right before the novel’s own centre point (pg. 223.5 – which is technically halfway down pg. 224), King is referencing the concept of something being “never backwards”. And speaking of the mirrorform, Danny is entering 217 just 8 pages before the middle, and he’ll be discovered by Jack and Wendy 8 pages after the middle, on page 232, which is a Fibonacci number, remember.
- Actually, let me first note how, going by this standard, page 231 would be opposite 217, and in my Avenue of the Dead theory, room 231 is the room movie Jack ends up in. And I also want to note how in my F21 analysis, the 14th photo seems to represent room 237. And there’s 14 pages between 217 and 231.
- Danny imagines (or the hotel imagines?) someone writing a note on the writing desk “(having a wonderful time, wish you were fear)”. Such a corny line. But it does sound like a classic postcard kind of line, and the film features a few significant postcards, like these, which were photographed by Francis Kies. And here Danny’s using a “passkey” he’s not supposed to touch to get into 217.
- Danny notes how there’s a “Gideon bible” on an end table. Is this how we know to consider the “Genesis 2:17” connection? I considered that on page 199, but there’s been a few 137-page gaps I’ve already noted (pg. 159, 199), and a few moments where the time on the clock was close to 2:17 (pg. 39, 66/67, 78). And there’s page 137 itself to consider. That’s the page that kicks off the Dr. Edmonds passage. And since he likely represents the hard science approach to life, the “tree of knowledge” approach to life, that would be apt.
- As he creeps toward the bathroom door, he sees his “double” in the large mirror there. He continues to refer to his reflection as a “double” in trying to “escape the glass” as he moves toward the bathroom. Wendy refers to Jack having a “doppelgänger” on page 51, to describe how different he seemed after going sober. But yes, this is a very Through the Looking Glass moment.
- Danny reflects that the bathroom looks “old-fashioned, like a Pullman car“, that being a style of train. Also, doesn’t that word contain the letters for “Ullman”?
- The bathroom floor has “tiny, white hexagonal tiles”, which sounds a lot like Kubrick’s second-floor rug, and like King’s wasp’s nest.
- The mirror over the sink “hides a medicine cabinet”. The monstrous version of Jack will be screaming a lot about someone taking their medicine, which is what he remembers saying to George Hatfield before laying into him (pg. 114), and what Danny has heard in his night-and-daymares a few times already (pg. 32-33, 130, 143).
- Danny hopes that pulling back the curtain will reveal something “daddy had forgotten or mommy had lost” and that would “make them both happy”. So what if what Jack’s forgotten is that death is real and could find him in this magical place, and what Wendy’s lost is her own mother figure, and both those things are reflected in Lorraine Massey? Jack’s death wish being fulfilled, then, would make him happy.
- Massey’s corpse is described as “purple”, which was a word last used to describe Jack’s “Purple Heart” he so felt he deserved on page 120. In the film, one of the two paintings closest to Massey was drawn by William Hart. Then there’s the Violent Violet VW to consider.
- Her hands are described as “crab claws” as she grips the tub. In the film, the Grady twins seem to flip between a Gemini position and a Cancer position, accompanied by a turned-over chair, whose angles perfectly match the constellation for Cancer. So I’m guessing that’s what Kubrick saw in this reference. I’ve also wondered if this might account for all the “smoking” references in both film and novel.
- Danny tries to scream but the sound only falls “inward and inward” “like a stone in a well”. That reminded me of his Jack & Jill Nursery School (pg. 26), since the rhyme that’s reminding us of is one where a boy and girl go up to a well to get water. If you recall, it’s thought that that rhyme is about alcoholism.
- Massey’s eyes are described as “marble eyes”, and Danny was fretting before about losing one’s marbles (pg. 194-196).
- Her breasts are described as “punching bags”. There’s more overt boxing references in the film.
- Danny imagines himself as a “sacrificial” “hedgehog” to be turned into a “ball”. Inferring Massey is the Red Queen is sort of a no-brainer, but she’s ultimately left behind by the end of Jack’s visit into the room (pg. 253-254) and his ensuing dream about being back there, ignoring the fact that Massey has become George Hatfield in the dream (pg. 271-273). So I think that’s why Kubrick felt the need to find a different totem to imbue with the hotel’s ultimate dark energy. Also, if the Grand Stair in the Colorado lounge, with its 23-and-7-step flights, was supposed to resemble an Aztec pyramid, this “sacrificial” line gives us a connection to King’s evil room number.
- Danny tries Dick’s eye-closing technique after hearing the older man’s words from page 88 in his mind. A technique that worked for Jack 10 pages ago.
- His hands become “balls”.
- Massey is described as “fish-smelling” in her final moments with Dan. Recall all the good, shining things that fish seemed associated with just three pages ago (pg. 215). Now, we have a different sort of shine.
PART FOUR: SNOWBOUND
CHAPTER 26: DREAMLAND
- Starts with Wendy, knitting and contemplating Bartók for seemingly no reason, except to compare him to Bach while drifting off to sleep. Recall that Danny saw one of Wendy’s Bach records in his first vision of the hotel, on page 32. And recall that that moment seemed like the same sort of moment as us seeing the Escape Key on Danny’s Boulder bedroom door. Well, doesn’t Danny receive his Lesson Key in room 237? We’ve seen how Bartók relates to Fibonacci, but Bach also has some Fibo-cred. And while Bartók is pronounced “bar-toke”, I know a lot of westerners pronounce it “bar-talk”. So, several composers are thought to have worked golden ratios into their compositions, King selected two composers whose names seem to echo each other. Just on the last page (pg. 218), Danny had a flash in his head that went “(croquet? or roque?)” reminding us of how the on word fits inside the other. Here, if you took out the “Bach” sound in “bar-talk”, you’d be left with the middle sound: “art”. Coincidence? Maybe. But if not, then King seems to be suggesting what he’s already suggesting: that art is a component of Danny’s self-saviourdom.
- Also, this could be coincidence, but the Fibonacci sequence was discovered in 1202, and this is page 221.
- After a page break, Jack is doing essentially what I’m doing, but in the wrong way (if I may be kind to myself). He’s leafing through “packets of milk bills” afraid to skip even one of the “tens of thousands” of them, lest he miss some essential clue that could help him unlock all the mysteries of the “Overlookiana” he’s become so absorbed in. King and Kubrick do this a lot, find ways to throw you off the scent, or make you feel ashamed for even taking the interest. And I do understand what people are feeling when they criticize this work for being apophenic. They can’t imagine anyone taking the trouble to work this all out. They can imagine Jack doing it fruitlessly, but they can’t imagine the work of an artist doing it with purpose. And little moments like this don’t make it easy to defend the behaviour – it seems insane, or at least manic. I wish I could give you a window into how untrue that is…but that’s the point, isn’t it? That you see the truth all laid out before you, to make up your own mind.
- Jack reflects that he’d come to terms with Al’s “deal with the devil” request that he give up his book idea (pg. 186-190) and that the hedge animals (pg. 206-209) had been what solidified his resolve.
- Jack notes that the intro to his “Overlook biography” would involve the hedge animals and his hallucination. He first thinks about the hedge animals on page 6, and lists hallucinations as a byproduct of cabin fever on page 9, both during the Ullman interview. Danny remembers Jack calling his stress reaction to thoughts of divorce a “Ha Loo Sin Nation” (pg. 28), so I wonder if him wanting to put the hallucinations up front is a subtle suggestion that Jack wants his readers to know right away that he “shines” like a true Dan Torrance.
- Jack reflects that his book will be written not to get back all those who’ve wronged him, but because the “truth comes out”, sooner or later. And isn’t that what motivates all great writing, of every stripe? Or is there such thing as “bad-shine” writing? You know, the original name of the book was to be Darkshine, so maybe that’s what that term originally meant to King. Also, the AT code for 237 is The Parrot Who Talked Too Much, a cautionary tale about how if you only “parrot” the truths that others would rather leave hidden, you might get your hair ripped out…or worse.
- This segues into thoughts about his father, Mark, who is about to finally get some real description after only being hinted at here and there (pg. 76, 109, 205). Mark was a “male nurse” in “Berlin”. The closest thing to a “doctor” without being one.
- Jack compares the heights of all the men in his family, noting that his father was 6’2″, which would be 74 inches. That seems like a curious near-miss given that he thinks of his dad for the first time on page 76. Jack himself is 72 inches, and page 72 is them meeting Hallorann and the “trail of breadcrumbs” line.
- His sister Becky is 70 inches and page 70 is Mrs. Brant lusting after Mike the car-man (whose name we don’t get until page 82). Jack’s two brothers are Brett and Mike. But there’s another “Beck” reference in the novel (perhaps), on page 188, when Jack’s imagining the Torrances reenacting the plot of The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck.
- Jack says he “loved” his father, and thought their relationship had been like a magical, blooming flower, despite the occasional “black-and-blues” meaning bruises. The Overlook carpet is constantly described as a black and blue jungle pattern. In the film it’s a wasp’s nest pattern. In the book, Mark and wasps will be intimately connected (pg. 328-329, 372).
- He compares Mark to a “ghost”, by virtue of his “hospital whites”, but he still remembers being very excited to see his father. So maybe this is another sign that Jack was just right for the Overlook. He liked to see ghosts.
- Jack becomes “Jacky” (pg. 205) even in the narration here.
- And here’s the first reference to the “elevator game” that Mark played with Jack, rushing him exhilaratingly through the air, sometimes with disastrous results. Like when he’d fly up over his father’s “flattopped head like a human projectile”. This reminded me of the opening lines of Abbey Road, on Come Together: “Here come old flattop, he come/Groovin’ up slowly”. Lennon claims the line was a reference to how people would occasionally call him “flattop”, as a joke(?) about his hair. When those words are being sung in Redrum Road, the camera is gliding over St. Mary Lake, curving off Wild Goose Island, toward Goat Mountain, behind which is…East Flattop Mountain. Coincidence? Maybe. Also, since Ullman makes such a fuss about the elevators being in such good working order before reality shows them to be otherwise (pg. 92), I suspect this to be another thread connecting these father figures. Ullman says this one was installed in 1926, which could very well be Mark Torrance’s birth year.
- Jack reflects that he flew through the beer that hung around Mark’s face like a “mist of raindrops”. I wondered if this had anything to do with the “Maid of the Mist” postcard that hangs in movie Hallorann’s office. I wondered if that postcard might mark where the bloodfall elevator is behind the Gold Room, but my current sense of the Tower of Fable is that only the elevators outside Suite 3 would be near those postcards. Nonetheless, movie Dick does get the chop while standing in front of a painting called Mist Fantasy, and with an elevator between him and it.
- These pointless milk bills drop from his hands as he recalls the elevator game and “seesaw” through the air. There were seesaws in the Overlook playground on page 206. In a moment it’ll be his consciousness that “like autumn aspen leaves” (pg. 68) will seesaw downward.
- The image of his father is “tattooed” on the back his shut eyelids like “stereopticon images”. Those were like the original slide projectors, and allowed for fade effects to happen between images. Kubrick uses long dissolves all through the movie, sometimes using them to create significant images, like how photo Jack gets the Hitler moustache in the final shots of the film.
- Jack notes that it had “not seemed strange” that his father was so abusive, or that his own love commingled with his fear of Mark. And we’ll soon see how it became strange. On the last page, we learned that his working title for the scathingly true Overlook bio would be “Strange Resort“. So perhaps that title came from his own subconscious, projecting his father’s abuses onto the hotel’s unique abuses, and similarly dangerous elevators.
- Jack realizes he was 9 when he first started to lose his grip on loving his father, warts and all. This was thanks to Mark smashing their mother with a cane. A painting by Paul Kane is in the lobby back hall (Makah Returning in Their War Canoes), and even if you don’t go for my Tower of Fable theory, it’s a fact that that set was the same set as became the bloodfall hall. So this “Kane” would’ve gotten all blood-spattered if it weren’t December Afternoon in its place.
- We learn that it was a car accident (another one!) that forced Mark to avail himself of this cane.
- The mention of “coffee” (or so Jack remembers) is what set off a series of deadly blows Mark made upon their mother. In the film, Wendy and Danny are watching Summer of ’42, a scene where the main character Dorothy is trying to offer the young protagonist Hermie some coffee to thank him for his assistance, and the mirror moment for that sequence is Grady telling Jack about the evils of Danny and Hallorann. Also, Jack learned about the murder of a “Frank Scoffy” (sounds like “Frank’s coffee” in English) by Vito the Chopper on page 163.
- Also, we get one cane-whack, and another cane-whack, and then “seven more” before the older brothers Brett and Mike can wrestle Mark off the mom. Is that another 1-1-7? Jack thought on the last page how “love [for Mark] curdled at nine” when the cane attack happened, and these are nine cane blows. But that 1-1-7 could be a Tower of Babel reference, which would tie nicely with the “elevator” game. Which itself would tie nicely with the fact that the Torrance kids seem to splinter off into their own post-Mark universes (like God confusing the languages of the people building the Tower of Babel). Oh, also Mark is described as having “towered” over Jack (pg. 222).
- We get another “cobwebby camp chair” reference (pg. 214).
- So, I should like to mention that this is the middle page of the story. There are 223 pages stretching back and forward from here. So, forgetting the fact that there’s the occasional blank page or page devoted entirely to announcing a new “Part” of the story, it would be about halfway down this page that we strike the equivalent of movie Dick laying in bed between two naked, foxy ladies (photographed by The Old School, Inc.), watching the news, with The Door by his head. Near the middle of the page is a line about how the vein in the “centre” of Mark’s forehead was throbbing and visible, and that this was a known “bad sign”. The striking of the mom is the middle two lines on the 44-line page. I honestly don’t know if there’s much of a cross between the middle of book and film, though Mark will go on to taunt the mom in language that Jack will express when coming for Danny at the end. And Dick is the one movie Jack will chop, so I guess that’s the connection. The book story is divided by this moment of Jack finally confronting the 1-1-7 that started it at all. The movie’s middle moment is either 1:10:45 or 70:45, depending on how you write it, which gives another little 1:1-7. Also, there’s a neat thing where the start of this chapter (pg. 221) lets us know that Wendy was sleeping in a dreamless sleep while Danny was meeting Massey, and after a break it says that Jack was sleeping too, but then gets lost in the pre-sleep action of him sifting through the milk bills. When the transition happens to this dream about his trauma, we almost confuse it for more memories. So, it’s possible that Jack was dreaming of his father splitting his mother’s scalp while Danny was getting choked by Massey. In the film, Danny begins to shine Dick seconds after the middle, and his shine is about his 237 experience, which seems to glide under Jack’s own 237 journey.
My feeling at this point is that I’ve basically found sufficient evidence, or at least sufficient markers, to show where all of Kubrick’s codes came from. There’s a few things I sort of regret not getting to, like how Danny is singing the 1957 Eddie Cochran song Twenty Flight Rock to himself while sitting halfway up the 19-step stairs (pg. 394) between the lobby and the second floor (pg. 322), and how that likely reflects the “19 months of sobriety” Jack has had to endure thanks to her, and the 20 “martians” he asks Lloyd to line up for him (pg. 238-239), just as the rungs on Jacob’s ladder are thought to be symbolic of years. Or how the ghost ball involves a schmaltzy version of the Beatles track Ticket to Ride (pg. 352), although I have written about that on the Beatles analysis page. Or how the cuckoo clock that reveals the true meaning of REDRUM to Danny plays Strauss’s The Blue Danube (pg. 302-303), a song immortalized in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in a chapter (chapter 37) otherwise awash in dozens of repeats of the word “clock” and “work”. Then, on page 353 (right after Ticket to Ride ends), Jack hears the song coming from the same clock, only now it features a puppet show where a father bludgeons a son to death, and the word “clockwork” appears eight times. The soundtrack for 2001 appears in Kubrick’s following film A Clockwork Orange (and right beneath Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles)…
…so perhaps King was paying homage to Kubrick’s brilliant (and at the time extremely unique) way of suggesting interconnection between otherwise dramatically different stories. Perhaps he wanted Kubrick above all others, and perhaps Kubrick’s absurdly keen insight into all of King’s methods was less of a decoding wizard at the height of his game than a matter of two brilliant artists putting their noggins together in secret.
But yeah, we’ve got lessons and escapes, repetitions, significant number patterns, Fibonacci, Greco-Roman references, biblical references, indigenous subtext, the Beatles, absurdities, mirrorformity, oodles of art references, and 117/Tower of Fable/Story Room kinds of references. I was always more interested in Kubrick’s patterns than King’s, and I feel like we’ve basically seen where all the roots are for those patterns. As I leaf forward through the rest of the pages, I can see many references to things from the film that will remain obscure if I don’t transcribe my notes…but it’ll just be more of the same of what we’ve seen already. More proof that what seems intentional in Kubrick seems intentional in King. So what are the odds that both artists would somehow stumble accidentally into making all the same kinds of secret code languages? I suppose that will always be up to you, Constant Reader. I’ve supplied the truth, but do you find it interesting?
I may one day decide return, and amble through the back half of King’s novel, to at least point out the major things I noticed throughout the book connecting to the film. If I do, consider it a validation of Thomas Allen Nelson’s notion on Kubrick’s masterpiece, that we seek “new perspectives and fresh understandings, if for no other reason than a desire to escape its powerful hold on our imagination.”
MAIN 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