The Works of Dorothy Oxborough

Crying Boy
The Girl with Pigtails
Native Child
Native Pastel
Native American Girl Child







  • These appear all throughout the film, but I’m going to break with my chronological tradition to deal with Oxborough all at once here. They are seen:
    • Outside Suite 3 (22:16-22:29; 35:27-35:30; 121:10-121:13; 121:16-121:19; 121:30-121:32; 121:42-121:44; 121:50-121:52 – 58 seconds total, or 34 minus the gaps)
    • Behind Danny’s head when he’s lured to 237 (57:40-58:03 – 23 seconds, or 19 minus a 4-second gap shot)
    • At the 2nd entrance when Wendy goes to check the snowcat (113:22-113:27) and later when Jack goes for Danny (130:16-130:24; 130:35-130:45; 130:50-130:54) – 43 seconds total, or 26 minus the gaps
    • Behind the EXIT lattice that starts the shot of Jack stalking to go kill Hallorann (126:47-126:52 – 5 seconds)
    • In the Conquest well, behind Wendy on the second floor (129:28-129:36 – 8 seconds)

So that’s 137 seconds if we just look at the bulk sequences, and it’s 92 if subtract the gap shots (shots from a larger sequence involving the paintings that take the audience’s ability to see the painting away, before cutting back again). Now, if we include the Walking Buffalo portrait (21:12-21:23 – 12 whole seconds) that brings us to 149 (with gaps) or 104 (without gaps) seconds. And if we include the Nicholas de Grandmaison Bearspaw paintings, these appear from 49:39-50:45 (66 seconds – or 21 seconds minus the gaps) and 129:20-129:21 (2 seconds), which would bring us to 217 (with gaps) or 127 (without gaps). And yeah, room 217 was the evil room in King’s novel. So it seems interesting that three of the represented scenes would involve Jack stalking around with the axe, one would connect to Hallorann’s murder, and one would appear so close to room 237.

Also, with eight sightings of five paintings, Oxborough’s the most seen, most ubiquitous artist of the film (Alex Colville would be close behind with seven sightings of five paintings). However, Oxborough did a lot of these kinds of paintings, and on closer inspection, I can see that only half of the images (chiefly the Crying Boy pic) are used recurrently. This doesn’t count the Tatânga Mânî portrait, which is likely also her work (that would make nine sightings of six paintings).


Oxborough was painting the Bearspaw band of the Nakoda/Stoney peoples (closely related to Dakota and Lakota) who were based in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana. The name Nakoda means “friend, ally”. While Oxborough has been criticized for “infantilizing” indigenous people through her art, Kubrick is only using works here where the figure casts a wounded, judgmental or fearful gaze, it seems to me. Although, as we’ll get into later, the eight Bearspaw people conveyed through these paintings end up taking on a rather sinister role in the Overlook’s grander design.

Also, Alberta is the feminine form of Delbert, the name of our child-murdering friend Grady.


I have to say, as per the symbolism, they seem highly acquainted with death: the ones Jack doesn’t stalk past with an axe appear near all kinds of ghostly doings.

A brief discourse on how the Nakoda kids move around:

  • Crying Boy – Suite 3, 2nd Entrance, and Lattice behind lobby
  • The Girl with Pigtails – Near 237 and Lattice behind lobby
  • Native Child (right) – 2nd Entrance, BJ Well
  • Native Pastel – Suite 3
  • Native American Girl Child (left) – BJ Well

But what’s the point with this profusion of “ox” and “bear“? Is it just to spread those symbols to every corner of the hotel? The hotel does have its fair share of dog and bird paintings as well, so maybe this is just a way to get a healthy dose of Four Directions energy moving around the place.

I should point out that there is another painting of another Bearspaw chief, Chief Bear Paw, by Nicholas de Grandmaison, who knew Chief Walking Buffalo in life. Jack is clubbed by Wendy directly above Chief Walking Buffalo, and Hallorann is axed directly beneath Chief Bear Paw, which is how I realized one of my most complex theories, which I call the Tower of Fable. There’s no point in rehashing it all here, so head to that last link for the details.

Presently, the most interesting theory of mine connected to Oxborough is this one, which holds that Dorothy may’ve been most prized for her first name, and the way it helps connect the action to The Wizard of Oz.

But since developing my Grady Twin Paintings theory, I’m starting to wonder if these Oxboroughs don’t serve as some kind of supplemental set, similar to those. But who would these five children be referring to? Obscure, forgotten characters from the novel? And why would there be another Bearspaw child, Starlight, by de Grandmaison, in the same hall as the Grady twins?


We’ll just go through these one by one.

The “first” sighting is when Jack’s looking for Danny hiding behind the snowcat. In this moment, Crying Boy is overlaying the shelf with the Joy and Ivory bottles, with the blue-silver clew hanging off the side there. As I’ve discussed at sickening length elsewhere, a clew is what Theseus is given by Ariadne to find his way out of the labyrinth after slaying the minotaur – Danny will follow his tracks in the white snow to find his way out of the hedge maze. Is this the “joy” of “ivory”?

As for the Native Child, this one overlays with the cityscape postcard (for what city, I’m not sure yet), and the Old Ralph’s Cross/Ana Cross of Spaunton Moor postcard. This could be a simple reference to how there’s religious-themed music playing on the other side, to further link Danny to a Christ figure. But dig this: if the cross is “Old Ralph’s” there’s three paintings by Ralph Thompson inside Suite 3, which, to date, makes him the only “Ralph” otherwise referenced in the film. This Native Child will appear again in the Conquest Well, which will be interrupted, as we’ll see below, by a vision of the Grady twins. The very same vision that Danny gets from touching room 237. Also, the Bearspaw child outside room 237 also has pigtails.

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After the shot of Jack scanning for Danny, we get this moment where Native Child swings around to touch Woman and Terrier for a split second. Alex Colville described that painting as his “Madonna and Child” meaning the titular terrier has a connection to Christ.

Crying Boy swings over to overlay with Wendy, giving a different sort of Madonna and Child essence. As this shot continues, the other image cuts to Jack in the lobby phoning Wendy, and Crying Boy flies overtop JEH MacDonald’s The Solemn Land for a moment before flying offscreen. One of my theories about the inclusion of MacDonald was to invoke the first Canadian prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, who, in typical imperial fashion, did not treat the indigenous peoples well. That said, he was not prime minister during the signing of Treaty 7, which was the one of the numbered treaties that the Stoney (Bearspaw) people signed, including Chief Bear Paw. Still, Macdonald became prime minister again the year after, and could’ve reversed it, if nothing else (cue audience laughter here).

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Native Child appears again 40 seconds after she last disappeared, during Danny’s first bloodfall vision, 3 seconds before the Grady twins flash at us…

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…and 7 seconds before Danny’s scream face appears, along with Native American Girl Child. This is the last time we’ll see either of these paintings.

Also, it might be worth mentioning how there’s two Oxboroughs just around the corner from Beaver Swamp, Mist Fantasy, and Red Maple in the lobby, which Jack will be stalking past 2:36 after these fly off screen (126:52-129:28). These are the three paintings that reoccur in the bloodfall hallway, which would put the lobby Oxboroughs to the left of the bloodfall (if we were meant to assume they would recur there too), and the ones here are mirroring over Danny’s first bloodfall vision, along with both of the supplemental mental flashes Tony sends Danny’s way. Also, in my Avenue of the Dead analysis, my thought is that the Overlook wanted to absorb Wendy’s soul into room 236, so this 2:36 gap might be in reference to the hotel wanting Wendy’s “bear” energy. The last second we see these paintings is at 129:36.

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I didn’t have a shot on the site already of Jack passing these in the mirrorform, but the opposite shot is virtually identical to this, with the doctor and Wendy as you see them.

The doctor is saying, “Mrs. Torrance, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.” She’ll go on to say, “I’m quite sure there’s nothing physically wrong with Danny.” But it’s as she says the first line that Crying Boy comes swinging into her head for the overlay, as backward Jack stalks with his axe.

The Girl with Pigtails swings through Wendy’s mind as she hears this reassuring news, but continues on to overlay with the novel The Door, that sits in the book stack before her face, here. The only other place The Girl with Pigtails appears is down the hall from room 237, in a moment when its door has mysteriously opened to Danny. The other place The Door appears is right at the centre of the film, on a desk beside a dozing Hallorann, seconds before we start to hear the tinny ringing that signals the onset of Danny’s 237 shine – in fact, we see Danny’s shine of the door 47 seconds after The Door disappears, and we’re inside 237 57 seconds after.

That novel is an early example of a mystery subgenre called Had-I-But-Known, so its connection to The Girl with Pigtails could simply be a little signature on the fact that Hallorann knew to be afraid of 237, and to do more than just warn Danny about staying out. Also, Danny knew to stay out, and went in anyway. There’s nothing “physically” wrong with Danny, but there’s enough of something mentally wrong that he would let a pink tennis ball lure him into a mysteriously opening room he was warned to stay out of, in a hotel where he’s been seeing ghost visions.

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It’s also worth noting, I think, that the thing that happens immediately after Jack rejoins the two Oxboroughs in this shot is the shot of Hallorann arriving at the hotel’s 2nd entrance, wrenching back the snow-clogged door to gain entry. This means that, though we never see them onscreen, he’s passing between the two Oxboroughs that hang there, one of which being Crying Boy.

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The two that hang outside Suite 3 are Native Pastel (further from Jack) and Crying Boy again (closer to Jack). These shots tidily overlay with the setup of the hotel, and the intro to the tour, a sequence that doesn’t involve Wendy or Danny on that side. This sequence is 42 seconds long (121:10-121:52), and involves cutting back and forth between Jack’s assault and Wendy and Danny jumping out the window. If you just count the raw seconds of shots of Jack swinging away, it makes for 19 seconds, and what’s interesting is that, as Ullman and Watson approach Jack, a TV will come into view behind the sitting Jack, and it’s on this TV that Danny and Wendy will watch Summer of (19)’42. And it might be worth mentioning that this first shot of the Oxboroughs here cuts to Wendy’s escape at exactly 19:41 (the year Pearl Harbour drew America into the war), a second before 19:42. On the other side of the film, this shot starts at 2:01:49. I mean…there’s coincidences and there’s coincidences.

Oh, also, I don’t know the year any of the Oxboroughs were painted, so it’s entirely possible it’s 1942, though the painter would’ve been 20 at the time. That would be good to figure out, but it might be impossible. The one I can find that is dated (which is not in the film), is from 1968.

Also, I just want to mention that the second shot of Jack axing the place starts right after Ullman bids farewell to the first of two sets of two women moving in strange ways around the hotel. The second time he does this (2:31 later – 19:55-22:26), he’ll be standing in the very space that Jack is axing here.

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Throughout most of this overlay, Crying Boy overlays with Ullman’s bomber jacket, until it whips to the other side of the screen, passing over The Solemn Land, Winter Landscape, and Stormy Weather as it travels. So that’s another instance of Crying Boy overlaying JEH Macdonald. But what’s really cool is that Ullman’s bomber jacket is obscuring Macdonald’s other painting in the film, Mist Fantasy. So now we’ve got Crying Boy actually linking twin Macdonalds in their one shot on screen together. Also, it should be noted that, as the scene goes on, the camera moves very slowly towards the men, such that they’re both eventually obscuring both Macdonalds.

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The dialogue during the moments of Jack’s axing is Ullman saying, “Good morning, Jack! Hope you haven’t been waiting long.” Then, “Has your luggage been brought in?” Then, “Well, in view of all the ground we have to cover today, I suggest we go have a quick look at your apartment, then get started straight away!”

I guess I think it’s neat that it would mirror over most of Ullman’s lines. But one of the room 237 analysts thought the luggage could symbolize the victims of WWII, so why not indigenous folks as well? Also, the “all the ground we have to cover” line reminds me of the fact that the Overlook sits “on an Indian burial ground”.

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It’s hard to make out here, but as Ullman bids farewell to the second set of girls, the Crying Boy here is filling Tony/Danny’s head as he utters his 4th and 5th “REDRUM”. And remember that this is 2:31 since the last farewell, because that’s the room that I think the hotel absorbs Jack into: room 231.

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From 22:29-28:03 (334 seconds) there’s an Oxborough-free zone, that ends right after Hallorann makes his “eye scream” offer to Danny. Since Hallorann likely gets absorbed into room 238, it’s perhaps perfect that it’s 28:03 that both ends the drought and finally matches an Oxborough to a visual of Hallorann (I should mention, it’s 113:27 in the proper film’s time code in that moment). In that shot, Native Child is overlaying pantry Wendy’s grinning head, while Crying Boy overlays some Heinz Tomato Soup. Crying Boy makes it all the way over to right above Danny’s head before whipping back off screen. I didn’t have a good screenshot for this on the site already, so here’s the closest thing.

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It’s then almost 7:23 later when Native Pastel breaks the drought at 35:27. This moment pairs with backward Jack saying, “I don’t think that’s true…” He’s responding to Wendy saying she doesn’t know what should be done with Danny.

Also, this appearance ends at 35:30, which is exactly halfway through the mirrorform. We only have one more Oxborough to look at, and it’s the only time that one appears in isolation.

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This final appearance of The Girl with Pigtails comes 22:10 later, at 57:40, and leaves the film again 23 seconds later at 58:03. I like to think of 5s as flexible, backwards 2s, so pairing it with the cut to the shot of Danny passing room 238 for the last time in order to enter 237 seems apt. Especially since the next time we’ll be seeing this painting is when Jack is heading toward doing the deed.

The first (backwards) dialogue to mirror over her appearance is Lloyd saying, “Your money’s no good here.” The proper name of the Chief who appears beneath Jack when Wendy clubs him down the stairs is Chief Tatânga Mânî. And Mânî is pronounced “muh-nee”, same as “money”. So it’s as if the Bearspaw protective energy that might be coming from this painting is having no effect. Lloyd has banished it.

The dialogue in the shot appearing below is “No charge to you, Mr. Torrance.” Which is the only other dialogue to mirror over any shot with this painting. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I wonder if this “charge” could be understood as a “cavalry charge”, as if Lloyd is saying, “we would never make war upon you, Jack, just those nasty injuns”. I mention this because in almost every instance of an indigenous reference coming through one of the paintings or etchings, or even the mountains from the beginning of the film (some of which are named for indigenous people murdered and massacred by colonialists), there’s some horrifying story about what Europeans did to the indigenous population. At 2:37 into the film, for instance, Jack is driving toward Heavy Runner Mountain, named for a chief who was running toward a bunch of racist Americans with a paper in his hand declaring his right to safe existence when they shot him from a distance, and then commenced with ravaging their home and slaughtering the tribe. For no good reason, it turned out, other than the alcoholic racism of the man in charge of the soldiers. I’ve written generally about these findings here, but I think that section might need a good updating.

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Let me just close by noting it’s 12:42 to the middle of the film from where this shot ends. That means that if we were to fold the film a second time, to make a Twice-Folded Shining, The Girl with Pigtails would appear 4 seconds away from the murder of Hallorann and accompany almost his entire (backward) walk through the Overlook lobby. I didn’t have a shot showing this exact thing from that analysis, but here’s a moment from seconds away, so you can see the four layers at play here.

The really amazing thing about this: again, Lloyd is saying, “Your money’s no good here”, right? Well, Hallorann gets axed by Jack, who is standing underneath Chief Bear Paw. Mânî’s no good because Bear Paw is in the house! The Tower of Fable and the Twice-Folded Shining are talking to each other!

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Next art reference: Touch of Autumn