AN IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF STANLEY KUBRICK'S FILM THE SHINING - MONDAY

Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).

The most important thing which must be kept in mind with Kubrick's films is there is the surface or principle story and then the internal or sub-story. In many of his films, if we're really paying attention, set elements pretty much immediately destroy the surface naturalism. One may not notice this destruction the first, second or third time one watches the film. Through constructive disorientation and disconnectedness, and sleight of hand as to where our eye focuses, Kubrick, the magician, intentionally obfuscates these elements that destroy the overt and naturalistic story line. The surface story lines are the principle ones, and this is maintained and supported by the intentional obfuscation of the deconstructive elements which keep them sub rosa. At the same time, these deconstructive elements are plainly there, alongside his tremendous effort to make things look real and believable, and once we bypass the disorientation and his purposeful refocusing they become a puzzle, annihilating the sense of reality. This destruction of the film's naturalistic story line is difficult enough to conceive of and accept that most people stop at this point and decide these puzzling aspects of Kubrick's films are errors when they are not. They are part of the art of a director cleverly designing the overt story line to be unimpeded by an internal story that tears it apart. Indeed, the sub rosa elements of the internal story may be discreet but they are enough in evidence to complicate the surface story with an aura of attractive, indefinable mystery, which is one of the reasons viewers return to Kubrick again and again. To work with the "reason" and "why of the internal story line is to try to settle into Kubrick's sensibility, examining how these internal stories form a dialogue in his oeuvre with repeating themes and ideas, elaborated upon from film to film. The internal stories haven't a "plot"; they aren't that kind of story. Instead, you have to be willing to deal with comprehending the themes and ideas represented in them as instead ultimately forming a different terrain for the setting of the surface story, guiding and interacting with the overt story and giving it a new form.


SUBHEADERS FOR THIS SECTION:

THE SUMMER OF 42 AND ROOM 242 AT THE ENCHANTED HUNTERS HOTEL - M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E

JACK'S SINGLE CONVERSATION WITH DANNY UNDER THE MISSING PAINTING - THE RED CAR ON THE WINDOW SILL AS A PRESAGE OF DICK IN THE SNOWCAT

Return to Table of Contents for "The Shining" analysis


Monday - Jack, too, wants to stay at the Overlook forever and ever

THE SUMMER OF 42 AND ROOM 242 AT THE ENCHANTED HUNTERS HOTEL - M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E

246 Title card. Monday. (51:15)

247 CU television. (51:18)

This time we don't open with a view of the exterior of the lodge. Instead, the section opens on a washed out, blue-toned scene from a movie, The Summer of 42. The other time there wasn't a shot of the lodge (with the exception of The Interview, and the opening credits seemed to have served the function in that case) was the Thursday section, the bulk of which, after a brief shot of Wendy and Danny playing in the snow, had to do only with Jack seeming to be shining/staring out the window. This section as well features primarily Jack. After a brief opening scene with Danny and Wendy, Danny goes up to their suite and, again, we see Jack in a disengaged state, staring either out the window or preoccupied with some inner vision. What is he watching?

The Shining - The Summer of 42
Fig. 1 - Zooming out from "The Summer of 42".

The summer of 42 is a coming of age film in which a man tells a story of a memorable summer had when he was fourteen. He had grown infatuated with a lonely woman whose husband was away serving in WWII, and they had a one night sexual liaison when she learned her husband had been killed.

The camera zooms out from the television's screen, the woman asking the boy to let her give him some money (for bringing in her groceries) and he saying he wouldn't think of it. She asks the smitten youth how she can repay him and he says that it's okay, really. "Well, I'm going to have some coffee. Would you like some," she asks. He says sure, and she tells him to sit down. "Oh, marvelous donuts," she says checking the bag and offers him some. "Help yourself." Carrying one of the two bags of groceries away from the table, she tells him, "Coffee will be ready in a minute."

The Shining - Watching the Summer of 42
Fig. 2 - Danny and Wendy watch the movie on a television which has no electrical cord.

JENNIFER O'NEILL AS DOROTHY: Please let me (unintelligible) some money.

GARY GRIMES AS HERMIE: I wouldn't think of it.

DOROTHY: Well, then, how can I repay you?

HERMIE: It's okay, really.

DOROTHY: Well, I'm going to have some coffee. Would you like some?

HERMIE: Sure.

DOROTHY: Great, sit down. Oh, marvelous, donuts. Help yourself. Coffee will be ready in a minute.


In the midst of winter there is summer. Oppositions.

One is reminded of Danny's raglan sleeve shirt with the number 42 which he was wearing when he first saw the vision of the Grady girl(s) and the bloody hallway in the bathroom in Boulder. In that instance, as well, a television had been playing in the living room.

There appears to be no electrical cord leading to the television, as if even it is shining, playing burnt toast, pictures of things that happened. The television functions as a kind of Lontano, "at a distance", the musical composition with multi-layers of doublings that had been playing during the Thursday section of Jack's shining, on Saturday when Wendy discovered the phone lines were down, when Danny saw the twins in the game room, and then when he shined with Hallorann in the "story" room.

Wendy rests on the sofa to the left of the television, appearing to still wear the yellow jacket she wore on Saturday. Danny lies on a blanket on the floor with some toys.

DANNY: Mom?

WENDY: Yeah?

DOROTHY: Oh, you drink coffee, don't you?

DANNY: Can I go to my room and get my fire engine?

WENDY: Not right now. Daddy's asleep.

HERMIE: Oh, no. I take it black.

DANNY: I won't make any noise.

DOROTHY: Are you in high school?

WENDY: Now, come on, Doc. He only went to bed a few hours ago. Can't you wait 'til later?

HERMIE: Next year I'll be a junior.

DANNY: I won't make a sound, I promise, I'll tiptoe.

DOROTHY: Don't be in too big a hurry. You could end up in the army.

WENDY: Well, all right.

HERMIE: Well, I'm prepared to go.

WENDY: But really don't make a sound.

DANNY: I won't, mom.

WENDY: And make sure you come right back 'cause I'm going to make lunch soon. Okay?

DANNY: Okay, mom.


From a 1971 article in "Life" magazine, on the producer, Richard Roth, feeling the film had been unfairly given an R rating, and speaking about it to Dr. Aaron Stern, a psychiatrist who was the full-time administrator of the ratings system:

Summer of '42, Roth learned from Stern, "contains the fulfillment of every little boy's dream--to sleep with an older married woman, an incestual relationship." The new motion pictures, Stern believes, are upsetting audiences not only with what is visual on the screen, but with what is hidden, carried "subliminally" by the theme.

As will be made clearer later, one of the myths employed in The Shining is that of Oedipus, the man who slew his father and married his mother, a tale of inescapable fate, preordained paths. The Playgirl magazine Jack had been reading in the Closing Day sequence had on the cover the title of a story, "Incest: why parents sleep with their children". So, are we looking for possible sexual abuse subtext in the film concerning Danny as some people hold? I've not gone after it as I personally don't get any indication of such. Instead, I think this foreshadows in particular Jack's encounter in Room 237 as the woman he kisses does transform into an elderly woman, but I'll leave that for the next section.

For that matter, I don't think the Oedipal tale is about a man literally and accidentally marrying his mother.

I suppose it should be noted that in Vivian Kubrick's documentary of the making of The Shining, James Mason makes an appearance, visiting from the set of another film. He is dressed in late 19th or very early 20th century attire and is accompanied by several individuals, including two young girls. On the set for Suite 3, they meet with Jack and Shelly. James Mason was in Kubrick's Lolita, playing Humbert Humbert who molested his step-daughter. That relationship was initiated during the summer at the Enchanted Hunters hotel in room 242. Just prior, as a joke, Lolita woke up Humbert claiming the hotel was on fire and burning right down to the ground.

I believe that Charlotte Haze's house number was 242.

As noted in the previous section, we had a cycle (ShuV) in the call sign KDK used on the radio, a return to the beginning. We also could say that is here with 242. In gematria, the letter K, kaph, happens to equal 20, and D, daleth (delta, a pictograph of a door), happens to equal 4. One could say in room 242 of the Enchanted Hunters Hotel of Lolita we have something akin to KDK, or 20-4-20.

Or maybe not. My preference is usually to stay away from gematria as numbers get tricky. For instance, if we look at KDK in respect of their numerical positions in the alphabet we get 11-4-11, and that brings up Kubrick's repetitive use of CRM or CRM-114, which I look upon as being expressive of ChRM, something that is isolated, separated off from society, even "condemned" as if devoted to a religious purpose. I've written at length on my reasoning elsewhere.

It is interesting, however, that we could also see in KDK this 114 via 11-4-11.

But, to return to Summer of 42 and Lolita, and Lolita and Humbert staying in room 242, and Lolita waking Humbert up with the joke that the hotel is burning down and then he molesting her, as it is now that Danny makes his request to get the fire engine, Kubrick could be making a reference to Lolita.

248 Crossfade from the lobby to the interior of the door to Suite 3. (52:37 begin crossfade to door, ending at 52:40.)

We now have a crossfade from Wendy continuing to watch the Summer of 42 to the door of the Torrance's suite as viewed from the interior, its doorknob turning. Danny opens it and quietly enters.

In the Tuesday section, Danny had tried the doorknob to room 237 and found it locked. In the Wednesday section, the room 237 door will be unlocked, just as this door is prominently unlocked, its chain undone. This door stands between the two, as if its being unlocked and opened helps facilitate the later opening of room 237. In the crossfade, the door to the suite forms a dividing line through the previous scene in the lobby. The knob and keyhole are situated directly above where Danny had been resting on the blanket, united with him.

The Shining - Crossfade from the television to the suite's door
Fig. 3 - Crossfade from the television to the interior of the door of Suite 3.

We see Danny is wearing a red plaid shirt with a blue sweater over it on which is an old version of Mickey Mouse kicking a football, perhaps to do with the 1932 film "Touchdown Mickey". I've watched that cartoon, however, and didn't see in it Mickey kicking the ball, but it is certainly a Mickey from that period, before 1939, when Mickey's eyes changed from their black button form.

Let's take a look at the possible word play here. The keyhole for the door had been where Danny was seated. He's wearing a Mickey Mouse sweater. Mic-key. One could suppose a key is being expressed here in some fashion.

The Shining - Danny's Mickey Mouse sweater
Fig. 4 - Danny, in his Mickey Mouse sweater, tiptoes.

In Full Metal Jacket Mickey Mouse appeared several times. He was referenced just before Hartman was killed in the lavatory by the "Section 8" Pyle. Finding Joker and Pyle in the bathroom, Pyle making a disturbance, Hartman asks, "What is this Mickey Mouse shit? What in the name of Jesus H. Christ are you animals doing in my head?" Head is intended to mean bathroom here, but is also layered and we can see linkages to the idea of voices in Pyle's head as well as Jack's.

Pyle had taken on the glare of Jack in The Shining and after killing Hartman had blown out his own brains. Later in The Shining we have, in a bathroom scene, Jack informing Delbert Grady of his forgotten history, how he had murdered his family and blown out his brains with a shotgun.

At the end of Full Metal Jacket the Marines sing, "M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony." That takes us back to Jack's repeating the phrase over and over again, "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy."

The Mickey Mouse references in Full Metal Jacket link back to The Shining.

There had been a conjunction of Mickey Mouse and 42 earlier in the movie, on the day of the interview. Mickey Mouse was on Danny's bedroom door, his hand held out apparently toward Snoopy under the rainbow. As the camera zoomed in past this on Danny in the bathroom, we then saw the number 42 on the arm of his shirt.

JACK'S SINGLE CONVERSATION WITH DANNY - THE RED CAR ON THE WINDOW SILL AS A PRESAGE OF DICK'S SNOWCAT

Danny has but 3 conversations of any length in the film. He dialogues with his mother over lunch while Jack is on his interview. He dialogues with Dick on Closing Day while he parents are going down to the basement to look at the boiler. And he speaks with Jack, here, having gone up to the suite to get his fire truck.

Quietly, Danny has entered the suite and climbed up the stairs. Rather then cutting to Jack, the camera does a quick pan over to Jack sitting on the bed, staring out the window, an uncomfortable image of his disheveled father in his blue bathrobe and dark blue long johns. As Danny ascended the stairs into the suite, he did so quietly but his posture was normal. Yet at the the height of the stairs, as he comes in view of the rest of the apartment, he suddenly shifts his posture and leans back, his arms swung out behind him, taking on briefly the upper body posture of Mickey Mouse on his sweater. Kubrick would seem to be then having Danny as kicking Mickey Mouse's ball in the direction of Jack, Jack now turning to look at Danny, noticing him.

Only, later, when Danny climbs out the bathroom window to escape Jack, will we realize that Jack is sitting on the edge of the bed with light shining on him from a bedroom window which couldn't possibly exist.

The Shining - Jack seated on the bed
Fig. 5 - Danny sees that Jack is already awake.

249 MS from behind Jack. (52:23)

From behind Jack we then see him looking toward Danny, along with Jack's reflection in the mirror, as if there are two Jacks and one Danny. The summery painting of the mountain above the lake, in the mirror (this would be Mt. Hood seen in Mirror lake), takes on the appearance of a blue eye in the cloud shape of the mirror. We see on the dressing table a vase of fake flowers which was missing in shot 248. These stand out with one of the flowers being red.

A friend has mentioned to me that Jack's image in the mirror is cut off at the waist but the jeans on the stool below complete the image of a person, providing the mirror image his legs, and notes how this can also connect with the idea of the half-man half-bull minotaur.

DANNY: Can I go to my room and get my fire engine?

JACK (raising his hand toward Danny): Come here for a minute first.

The Shining - Jack invites Danny in
Fig. 6 - Jack's reflection in the mirror seems to be slightly smiling, while from the rear he only appears grim.

In the mirror, Jack seems to present another face, as if he is smiling, though we can tell from the side he is not. Danny hesitantly asks if he can please go get his fire engine and Jack calls for Danny to come sit with him. The boy complies but is obviously guarded.

Jack's smile, in the mirror, is in opposition to his grim face, and is seen also in one of the two girls sometimes appearing to be vaguely smiling while the other is not. There are other instances of this in the film and I comment on them in their sections.

250 MS Jack. (53:46)

Viewing Jack out of the mirror again, the oval painting of the mountain in summer is now missing above the bed. Not only that, but the lamp on the bedside table has changed. It previously had a white base and an unpleated shade. Here, the base is wood and the shade is folded in pleats.

The Shining - The painting above the bed is gone
Fig. 7 - The painting above the bed is gone. A red car rests on the bathroom's window sill.

If we examine Danny's sweater there may be certain correspondences had with the scene. If Danny swings his arms back in a representation of Mickey Mouse, the ball is perhaps observed in the oval painting of the mountain in summer above the bed. There may be some support in connecting the painting with the football when we compare the strong horizon line in the sweater with the strong black horizontal line that bisects the bathroom.

The friend who noted that the legs of the mirror Jack were provided by his jeans on the stool before the vanity, observed also that in the bathroom window is the trapezoidal shape of what she believes to be a red toy car. This presages the trapezoidal/triangular shape in the ch O king poster later, and also perhaps calls attention to the window through which Danny will later escape. This scene is the only one in which we see the red toy in the window. In other scenes there are cleaning products set on the lid of the toilet tank or on bathroom's window sill.

Giving it some more thought, observing how the black line in the bathroom splits the scene horizontally, it becomes a sort of road for the car. What later happens at this window? When Jack attacks the bathroom door, Wendy manages to open the window just enough for Danny to slip out of it. After he runs and hides, Dick arrives in the red snowcat, Wendy still cornered in the bathroom. If we look back at the bathroom in the Boulder apartment, we will see there two lines splitting the bathroom horizontally. The lower line, which also likely runs beneath the windowsill but is obscured by the shower curtain at that point, neatly embeds itself in the bottom edge of the dado rail at the height of the wainscotting in the previous shot of the bloody elevator. One could think of it, through its embedding in the dado rail, thus continuing itself into the elevator hall toward the bloody elevator before which Wendy appears to stand when both shots are layered. Wendy is surrounded by the explosion of blood out of the elevator, and Wendy does later draw blood in the bathroom scene in which Jack attacks the door with the axe, she knifing Jack's hand when he reaches in.

I have already begun to comment some at length on the nature of the trapezoid, and a little on how Kubrick is working with it in the Tuesday section in respect of the disappearing chair and table. We have had a disappearance here, too, as well, the painting above the head disappearing after we view Jack's reflection in the mirror. Here, when Danny first sees Jack we see the painting, then when we view the alternative perspective of Jack in the mirror, we see a reflection of the painting as well as a vase of flowers which had been previously absent. After that, all that we know is the painting is missing when Danny sits on Jack's lap. It is when Danny is sitting on his father's lap that we get a clear view of the trapezoid figure in the window with the absent angle of convergence.

So, three perspectives. The perspective with the painting and no flowers. The perspective with the painting (at least in the mirror) and the flowers. Then the perspective with no painting (we don't know if flowers are there or not). Repeatedly, we have these three perspectives.

That we see the red trapezoidal car toy here, but not elsewhere, and in conjunction with Jack's cuddling Danny and placing his hand on the side of his neck is certainly intentional.

Danny enters the shot and Jack places Danny on his knee, embraces and kisses him tenderly if somewhat uncertainly, stroking his hair.

He asks him, "How's it going, Doc", as if he is earnestly trying to make a connection. Danny distantly replies, "Okay."

JACK: How's it going, Doc?

DANNY: Okay.

The Shining - How's it going, Doc?
Fig. 8 - "How's it going, Doc?"

There is a great tension in the shot, the conflict of the father's expression of affection and the boy's mistrust--Jack's hand on Danny's neck and shoulder in such a way, Danny ducking his head uncomfortably, fearfully, that when we later see the injuries on that side of Danny's neck, inflicted in Room 237, we may well return to this scene and think upon Danny's fear and unease here finding expression in the story of the crazy woman in Room 237 choking him. The red truncated triangle (likely a car) in the bathroom window takes us also to Room 237 via the CH O KING poster. We finally get a fairly clear view of the poster in the basement while Wendy is down there checking the boiler, Jack meanwhile dreaming in the Colorado Lounge, Danny in Room 237 having his confrontation.

Kubrick presents the same image, rephrased, in Eyes Wide Shut when Bill is checking the glands of the boy's neck and we see the eye poster behind him with the giant O at the top of it.


Fig. 9 - Bill, in "Eyes Wide Shut", examining a boy's glands.

The boy slightly flinches and Bill asks if that hurts. Did Bill choke the child? No. Does Jack choke Danny? No. We see Danny before he enters Room 237, in the next section, and his neck is fine.

And yet Danny will later appear with choke marks on his neck.

251 MCU Danny on Jack's knee. (54:16)

JACK: Having a good time?

DANNY: Yes, dad.

JACK: Good. I want you to have a good time.

DANNY: I am, dad. Dad?

JACK: Yes.

DANNY: Do you feel bad?

JACK: No, I'm just a little bit tired.

DANNY: Then why don't you go to sleep?

JACK: I can't. I've got too much to do.


Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste begins. This had accompanied the earlier maze sequence when Jack overlooked the maze as Danny and Wendy wound their way about it, and the scene where Danny approached the forbidden room 237 and found it locked but then saw a vision of the girls. We are reminded that just as Dick had told him never to go to that room, Wendy had just told Danny not to go to this suite, but Danny had talked her into letting him go.

DANNY: Dad?

JACK: Yeah?

DANNY: Do you like this hotel?


Jack's demeanor slightly changes, becoming less intimate and more animated, less grim.

JACK: Yeah, I do. I love it. Don't you?

DANNY: I guess so.

JACK: Yeah. I want you to like it here. I wish we could stay here forever and ever and ever.


Jack repeats the phrase the girls had used in the Saturday vision in the staff hall when they had asked Danny to come play forever and ever and ever. Whereas Jack only works, the girls had offered the opportunity to forever play--but there is nothing playful about them, they represent a bloody murder. Not desirable playmates. The vision of the girls, considering this conversation Danny has with Jack, seems to act more as a warning than an invitation.

The Shining - Forever, and ever, and ever
Fig. 10 - "Forever, and ever, and ever."

Perhaps from having been reminded of the girls, Danny asks...

DANNY: Dad?

JACK: What?

DANNY: You wouldn't ever hurt mom and me, would ya?

JACK (becoming...weird): What do you mean?


252 MS of Jack, Danny and the bathroom. (56:17)

The Shining

JACK: Did your mother ever say that to you? That I would hurt you?

DANNY: No, dad.

JACK: Are you sure?

DANNY: Yes, dad.


253 MCU Jack on Danny's knee from the front. (56:34)

Begin swirling, revolving scales, the xylophone playing the Fibonacci sequence.

JACK: I love you, Danny. I love you more than anything else in the whole world. I would never do anything to hurt you. Never. You know that, don't you? Huh?

DANNY (glum): Yes, dad.

JACK: Good.

The Shining - And cut to the Wednesday title
Fig. 11 - Jack gives Danny a big, unreassuring grin.

But there is something malicious in Jack's look. Jack, in the way he has of dropping his head and arching his brows when agitated, with this expression might be said to resemble the Minotaur, a man with a bull's head, a person whose mind could be considered as governed by unreasonable passion.

One realizes that, at least in the movie, it's Wendy who is the one observed working about the lodge. Though most of her activity concerns the kitchen, she will be observed working in the boiler room, which Stephen King in his book linked to the passions of rage. In the book, it was vitally important to keep the boiler within a safe range else it would blow the place up. Kubrick chose not to place that emphasis on the boiler, and doesn't have it blow up at the end, as it does in the book.

Danny is also observed only playing with Wendy, never playing with Jack. Though Danny (in particular) and Wendy have spent time exploring the hotel and its grounds, Jack, at least in the movie, is depicted as having almost no interest, confining himself largely to the Colorado Lounge.

Yet it is Jack here who feels pressed, overwhelmed with work. The most obvious explanation is that he's overwhelmed by the book he's had difficulty writing, but the feeling arises that he is perhaps exhausted by the weight of decades of caretaking this massive lodge.

In review, what has Kubrick given us in this section?

Jack's scarily in sync with the scary girls. Actually, we already know Jack is scary and losing it so the section just kind of offers the audience a minute to catch its collective breath. We do also get a glimpse of Jack's tenderness for Danny, before he completely loses it, and Danny's hard-wired fear of him. But we already knew, too, that Danny doesn't much trust his father.

What's the teaser candy bait?

Eventually people begin to notice other disappearing items but it is a little less obvious in the bedroom.

What's the Food for Thought?

The television set isn't plugged in.

What's the deep infrastructure?

Whatever is feeding that unplugged television set.

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NEXT: WEDNESDAY PART 1
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