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Snow White (The Brothers Grimm, Dec. 20, 1812)
There’s an interesting connection between Snow White and the god Apollo. So let’s assume that Danny having Dopey on his door isn’t a reference to Danny’s enlightenment, but rather that Dopey is assisting Danny to be a happy child, like his other cartoon friends do (Wendy, who seems most correlated to Dopey, is partly responsible for why Danny survives the end). That would make Danny into a Snow White figure. Check out this passage from Wikipedia:
“Scholar Graham Anderson compares the story of Snow White to the Roman legend of Chione, recorded in Ovid‘s Metamorphoses. The name Chione means “Snow” in Greek and, in the story, she is described as the most beautiful woman in the land, so beautiful that the gods Apollo and Mercury both fell in love with her. Mercury put her to sleep with the touch of his caduceus and raped her in her sleep. Then Apollo, disguised as an old crone, approached her and raped her again. These affections led Chione to openly boast that she was more beautiful than the goddess Diana herself, resulting in Diana shooting her through the tongue with an arrow.” (There’s also some real life people she may have been based on, who faced similar hardships.)
It’s interesting that rape is such a humdrum thing in Greek myths.
But yeah, you’ve got that old crone bit in there, which leads to sexual relations. Recall that Danny’s relationship with room 237 begins before Jack’s does, so Jack might not’ve gone in there, if Danny hadn’t been so tempted. Another thing to note is that Jack is essentially asking the mirrors in the movie if he’s good enough, and at first Lloyd and Grady are telling him he’s the balls, and he’s returning the favour: “You were always the best of em. Best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu, to Portland, Maine.”
But then the mirror eventually tells him back, “Your son has a very great talent. I’m not sure if you’re aware how great it is.” It’s when the evil queen disguises herself as a poor old crone, and offers Snow White a half white (fine) and half red (poisoned) apple that she takes a bite of the fine half, and lets Snow White eat part of the poisoned half, which gets stuck in her throat and suspends her animation.
It’s only when the chunk is shaken loose that she revives. It’s a pink-and-white ball (yellow-and-white in other versions of the film) that rolls up to Danny, luring him into 237 where the shape-shifting crone strangles his throat, causing him to enter catatonia.
Tony remains in control of Danny either until Wendy shakes him after waking to REDRUM, or until Hallorann gets the axe to the chest. It’s unclear because he looks Tony-style bored being carried to the bathroom, while axe blows rain down nearby.
But then he looks brilliantly terrified in the bathroom.
And then, he doesn’t say another word until his scream during Hallorann’s murder, which takes place inside a sort of “glass coffin”.
There are also glass cases standing all around the hotel, like the one that Snow White is sealed in once she’s muted (the dwarves were hoping to preserve the most beautiful thing from the past, in the hopes that it could be revived one day?). The first appearance of the glass display cases is at 29:05-29:15, as the Abbey Road Tour ends, and fades into Hallorann’s brain. Hallorann who will die giving Danny his voice back.
The next appearance is at 80:47-81:02, right as Jack’s starting to rampage after Wendy’s suggestion that they get Danny down to Sidewinder. Is that an old dwarf’s cap up top?
In the cases are only white and red display boxes. And the cases are surrounded by Group of Seven paintings (seven dwarves?). This path for Jack leads to Grady’s white and red bathroom scene. (It also happens to be the same set as the red-and-white one Wendy runs up to see the blood elevator – see below)
Jack’s next conversation with Grady, from the storeroom, also features a lot of red and white, as well as copious amounts of apple juice.
Right after Wendy “revives” Danny, she pushes him out the window, and his next move (dusted with snow), is to run and hide in a steel case.
This leads to the next sighting of the glass display cases, at 126:52-127:00. Amazingly, Jack is looking exactly at Danny’s hiding spot, here.
Danny hops out of his steel case at 129:13. Wendy passes the glass displays one last time, at 132:23-133:03 during the Hallorann-GREAT PARTY sequence. The last display she ever races past seems to be the first one that ever appeared, having migrated around the corner.
So there’s four appearances of the glass cases, the second and third seeming to bookend Danny’s catatonia, the first and last bookending Hallorann’s direct involvement in the plot.
THE SEVEN DWARVES
As for Wendy, her green-and-brown work outfit reflects, in a way, the seven dwarves, who all have green or brown, or both, in their outfits.
Actually, if Danny is Snow White, wouldn’t he have seven dwarves? The seven characters who perform actions that help Danny survive his story are the doctor, Susie (Ullman’s secretary, who returns Danny to his parents during the tour), the two forest rangers, Larry Durkin, Hallorann and Wendy. The two most obvious would probably be Wendy, who’s seen directly after the Dopey sticker goes by, and the doctor, who is a literal doc. Hallorann is the only person in the film being sleepy, and the older ranger is the only person seen being grumpy. The younger ranger speaks to Wendy in a way that seems arrogantly dismissive, but he also looks down, and talks into his chest, and purses his lips at the end of sentences, so, between the remaining three (Sneezy, Happy, and Bashful) that sounds the most like Bashful to me. It’s unclear exactly who, between Susie and Durkin, would be Sneezy or Happy, but Tony Burton talks with an unmistakably heavy nasal tone, so I’d give him Sneezy and Susie Happy, since she says everything with a doe-eyed smile.
And if those seem like arbitrary designations on a larger scale, I think there are some dualities that are expressed through them. Wendy and the doctor (Dopey and Doc) talking highlights the gulf between their intellects. Hallorann showing Wendy (Sleepy and Dopey) the kitchen underscores the way that neither of these people seem to notice all the architectural impossibilities they’re passing through. Wendy talking to the ranger (Dopey and Bashful) underscores how awkward and somewhat pointless their conversation is—the whole time the ranger sounds like he’s about to burst out laughing at what a rube Wendy is. Hallorann calling the second ranger (Sleepy and Grumpy) speaks to the poor moods some people find themselves in when they’re up too late, and sleep-deprived. Hallorann and Durkin (Sleepy and Sneezy) are the only two characters who seem to be friends outside the major plot of the story, so it’s perhaps fitting that their names would be the most similar looking. Susie and Watson are all smiles whenever Danny’s around, so either of them could be Happy, though I like Susie better for it since, a) she’s only smiles, while Watson glowers quite a bit, and b) she’s the most removed from the story, with only three lines and two short scenes, which speaks to the degree to which happiness is removed from the story (also, Watson never really helps Danny). This means the order that we meet the dwarves in are Happy, Dopey, Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy, Sneezy. I should perhaps look at the film version of Snow White to see if that order means anything, but I’m too tired for that right now. What I will point out is that there’s an interesting pattern to this order in the context of their characters.
HAPPY – Works for the Hotel
DOPEY – Works for Danny (her later Hotel work is more about survival)
DOC – Works for Danny
SLEEPY – Works for the Hotel, and then for Danny
BASHFUL – Works for the US Forest Service
GRUMPY – Works for the US Forest Service
SNEEZY – Works for himself, near the Hotel, but helps the Danny cause
The one other thing I wanted to note is that I especially like Bashful and Grumpy for the two rangers, since I have a theory that they’re meant to reflect the evolution of Jack. There’s notes of these two qualities in Jack throughout, but especially when, during the tour, Wendy says, “We could reeeeally have a good party in here, huh, hun?” and Jack, with his hands in his pockets looks down in an “aw, shucks” kind of way, shrugs his shoulders, and takes a couple widened steps to suggest his embarrassment, while Watson grins to himself.
His Grumpy aspect I probably don’t have to explain, but there is an interesting moment later when Wendy says, “Aw, c’mon hun. Don’t be grouchy.” To which Jack replies, “I’m not…being grouchy—I just want to finish my work.” That’s about as close to “grumpy” as you can get before giving the word away.
Actually, the doctor and Susie are played by women of approximate age and appearance and hair tone (with very similar outfit tones, of brown and beige).
The rangers wear a uniform, and again, Durkin and Hallorann are old friends, so there’s a light twinning going on between all the dwarves but for Dopey. Is that why the Dopey sticker appears and no other? To highlight Wendy’s lonesome task?
It’s also neat that Wendy shares a space with both the women dwarves, and how none of the male dwarves ever meet, only seen talking over phones and radios.
It’s also worth noting, perhaps, that, of the four “dwarves” who touch Danny, the one with the longest-lasting contact is the one who shares his own nickname, “Doc”.
It might be worth pointing out here that there’s a slew of connections between the doctor and Hansel & Gretel. If you follow that link, and scroll to the bottom, you’ll find a little section contemplating how the doctor is like a shadow twin to the 237 “witch”.
While analyzing King’s novel, I discovered that the book has it’s own version of the lessons-escapes, which is radically different from the left-right patterns that movie Danny follows.
In a nutshell, there’s a line that repeats on pages 143 and 197, a message from Tony to Danny that goes, “This inhuman place makes human monsters.” That seemed like a warped version of the Goya quote that comes at the start of the novel, “The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” That line is actually the title of the 43rd etching in a series of 80 Goya made, and which seems to be composed according to the golden spiral – even a phi grid (left image) seems to work on it.
So, 143 is what you get by adding the first ten Fibonacci numbers together, and 54 (page 197 being 54 pages later) is what you get by adding the first eight Fibonacci numbers together. There’s no other repeat of “This inhuman place makes human monsters” but page 429 is the page where Danny suddenly, out of nowhere “remembers that which was forgotten”, which is the thing that saves his life in the novel. And 429 is 232 pages after 197, and 232 is the first eleven Fibonacci numbers added together.
There’s a significance to that 10-8-11 combo, but it doesn’t factor for what I want to tell you here. Here I just want to point out that, even though 429 is not a Fibonacci number itself, it’s composed of three Fibonacci sums all added together. And it’s the page that saves Danny’s life. And it’s also…7:09 if we think of the 429 as a total of seconds. Four hundred and twenty nine seconds equals seven minutes and nine seconds. And 709 is the Aarne-Thompson (AT) code for Snow White.
If you’re unaware, AT codes attempt to categorize every fable and folktale in world history, and the fables invoked by the film all have codes that appear in the store room boxes. I’ve done a massive analysis of this phenomenon that starts here, if you’re interested. But what this seems to imply for the book is that Danny’s self-saviourdom (429) comes from a page with this Snow White connection (7:09). If that’s the message, then, is it Snow White specifically that saves Danny, or is it fables in general? In my larger analysis of the Fibonacci connections in King’s novel, I posit that Danny remembers “what was forgotten” on page 429 in part because he’s starting to realize what Jack cannot face…that they’re both characters in King’s novel – I know it sounds absurd, but after a certain point it’s the only explanation that makes sense. If I’m right about that, it would follow that “Snow White”, or, more abstractly “story”, is what saves Danny.
So, consider that this code shows up during only one scene in the film, behind Wendy as she locks Jack in the storeroom (from 110:33-110:37), and beside his head as she locks him in (110:48-110:51 – see below (third box from the bottom on the rightmost stack), and note that the box that was behind Wendy before is no longer there). Actually, this is 30:53-30:57 (and 30:39-30:42) of the mirrorform, which would be 1853-1857 (and 1839-1842) in seconds, and the final version of Snow White was completed by the Brothers Grimm in 1854. Also, the start of that second shot could also be written as 1:50:48, an 1854 jumble.
As for that 1839-1842 bit, there happens to be an etching in the film that appears next to the Grady twins in their final scene (Danny’s fourth lesson), which has no exact known date of composition, but is known to have been composed during those exact years.
It mirrors over the red-and-white scene of Grady planting the worst of his advice into Jack’s head (how he “corrected” his wife and daughters). This sequence runs from 1:31:12-1:31:22 during the Grady chat, and the twins side features a moment that is 3012 seconds into the film (which happens to be the midpoint of the passage). That struck me as significant since the main fable referenced in the novel is Bluebeard, and the AT code for that is 312. That’s interesting because…
…while there remain a couple dozen art objects left to properly date, there is one that appears during Danny’s second lesson known to have been composed in 1839, called Battle of Sisters Creek. And that painting hangs directly outside room 231, which is a jumble of 312. And that’s the room that I suspect the hotel absorbs Jack’s soul into for numerous reasons.
There’s also the little matter of a folktale called The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids (AT code 123 – another 312 jumble), which has a plot that’s something of a mirror image of the Snow White fable. Head here to read all about that, and the way AT codes play in the pages of King’s novel generally.
So just as Danny escapes the hotel thanks to Snow White (709) or The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids (123), Jack is trapped there thanks to Bluebeard (312), and there’s this bridge of 1839/1854 references to link the two together. And if you found that interesting, head here to read all about how Danny’s first moment in the film has a major 4:29 linked to it, and the 4:29 in question is an actual time code.
I should also mention that, just as the Battle of Sisters Creek bears those significant years, there’s a piece in the lobby back hall called Makah Returning in Their War Canoes, which was painted sometime between 1845 and 1859, which would envelope those seconds from Wendy pulling Jack into the “story room”: 1853-1857. If Kubrick knew that its true date of composition was 1854, that would be quite something. It first appears at 8:39 beside GREAT PARTY ghost, as Ullman says, “Charles Grady”. And doesn’t 8:39 look a lot like 1839?
It next appears beside Wendy as she creeps to see Hallorann’s corpse, vanishing at exactly 9:06 of the mirrorform (Ullman is wrapping up the Grady story on the other side), one second before the 9:07 mark. There’s also a lot of yet-unidentified art in this hall, so there might be a bit more to connect to this moment someday.
The next time it appears is at 14:39 of the mirrorform, as Jack stalks past all the glass cases on his way to kill Dick. This is neat since 1439 seconds into the mirrorform is the exact second Jack gives his “word” to Grady that he’ll take care of the “business” they agreed to, and there just so happens to be a box with a giant 1439 behind Jack’s head throughout that entire conversation. And a Silver Beauty through the mirrorform.
It’s last mirrorform appearance is technically its first natural appearance in the film, which is at 1:20:53, which has that 123/312 jumble potential.
That’s the bulk of my point, but there’s also this neat detail where Dick (Sleepy) is calling Durkin (Sneezy) at exactly 9:07 in the morning: a backwards 709. The clock appears with the Silver Beauty 8200 still on screen at 107:29, or 2640 seconds into the mirrorform (that 264 looks a bit like 429, but I don’t love having to flip a number around to get the desired effect). And by the way, if that does turn out to be an Irene Reid record behind Durkin’s phone, she put out a record in 1970 (another 709 jumble?) with a few tracks of interest, but perhaps none more than Hi-De-Ho, which sounds like Heigh-Ho, the main song sung by the seven dwarves. And, fun fact: the Japanese release of that record contained an insert advertising the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack, of all things. Also, Reid was the replacement performer for the evil queen Evillene in some mid-to-late 1970s musical performance of The Wiz, which, you might realize, is the all-black rendition of The Wizard of Oz. That means Reid played the Wicked Witch of the West, and sang that character’s one solo number, Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News. Larry Durkin’s gonna get some bad news when somebody mentions that Dick’s body was never found.
Speaking of wicked witches, the mirror action for the Durkin scene is Danny finding room 237 for the first time and touching the door knob, which summons this vision of the Grady girls (standing next to that 1839-1842 painting, remember), and not getting to see the hotel’s wicked witch. In this mirror moment, Durkin is putting the phone back down, which means his hand is going toward Irene Reid again, and the shot is transitioning to Dick driving his Buick to the rescue, and the licence plate reads TG4247. And 42:47 is the exact second of the forward-moving film that this transition begins (technically, Hallorann’s car fades out at exactly 42:47, as if even his car knows how doomed he is). The time on the other side is 1:38:45, another 1854 jumble, perhaps.
And just so you know, I do think there’s a Wizard of Oz subtext to the film, but it’s not good news.
Actually, since I brought up the Silver Beauty 8200 again, at 8200 seconds into the film, the time code is 2:16:40, which is like that flippy 429 again. But also, in the mirrorform, this shows part of the moment from 4:49 as well, with Wendy being wreathed in Jack’s snow maze, with that Ivory soap bottle behind her head. Snow-Ivory. Snow-White.
But also, 4:49 is a code that shows up on a licence plate (with no other numbers or letters on it) outside the Overlook during the tour. And 449 happens to be another AT code for a story called The Queen’s Dog, which connects to Bluebeard in ways you can read about here.
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