The Shining -- Exploitation of Native Americans?
(too old to reply)
2015-11-15 20:53:36 UTC
Hi, Craig.
About 10 years ago the Washington Post ran a piece which argued -- quite
convincingly IMHO -- that Kubrick's version of The Shining is really an
allegory for the abuse of Native Americans.
I've heard of this article but never read it. I'd say that it might very
well be. However, since the cook is not an Indian, I'd generalize it to
"minorities" and not just "Indians."
I have to agree with you there. The Shining definitely has some racial
I think the whole idea is really preposterous. Of course, a film like
this is always open to interpretation, and I would never say a person is
wrong in what they think they saw, but I can say that I myself do not
see *anything* at all that would lead me to believe Kubrick intended The
Shining to say anything about the white man's treatment of Native
Sure, there are cans of Calumet backing powder on the shelves in the
store room, but there are also cans of Tang (not to mention the Post
Toasties, Corn Flakes, Sugar Puffs...and seven kinds of what-have-you).
Yes, it's true that Hallorann has a can of Calumet right over his
shoulder as he makes his "treaty" of ice cream with Danny, but what
about that box of Willapoint Minced Clams strategically placed over
Danny's shoulder? What are we supposed to think of that?
There are several other things in the article that made me chuckle. For
instance, the author sites the reason the hotel is called the Overlook
"The Shining is also explicitly about America's general inability to
admit to the gravity of the genocide of the Indians -- or, more exactly,
its ability to "overlook" that genocide."
"The Shining ends with an extremely long camera shot moving down a
hallway in the Overlook, reaching eventually the central photo among 21
photos on the wall. The caption reads: "Overlook Hotel-July 4th
Ball-1921." The answer to this puzzle, which is a master key to
unlocking the whole movie, is that most Americans overlook the fact that
July Fourth was no ball, nor any kind of Independence day, for native
Americans; that the weak American villain of the film is the
re-embodiment of the American men who massacred the Indians in earlier
*That* is the key to unlocking the whole movie? What about the billions
of other people in the world who also share the feeling that July 4th is
no ball, nor any kind of Independence Day?
I personally feel that the movie contains so much Indian imagery because
it is a very spiritual and beautiful style of art. My feeling, when I
first saw the Overlook, was of awe. All of the horror which follows
later is very un-indian.
The Willapoint Box may be a reference to the Indians at Willapa Bay that were overlooked due to the fact that their land had no agricultural value; this group of Indians were scheduled for removal from their land shortly after 1900 but were not removed - up until 2008 they were still under talks with the US Government regarding their status. If you want first hand info about the USA atrocities against the Indian Tribes the Indian's of this area would be the go to people.
Jan Bielawski
2015-11-17 01:48:31 UTC
You took the words right out of my mouth.
I don't think SK does anything by accident -- whether it's making a change
from the original text or maintaining the original. Ergo, everything is
potentially suffused with meaning.
But that's not saying anything. Using this method, one can take a virtual gobbledygook
and endow it with "meaning".

Art is not about "hiding" anything, art is not about symbols (they are just a tool).