The principles of semiotics suggest that the dominant cultural values are embedded symbolically in more than just images but also the languages we use of communication. Basic semiotic principles suggest that images contain the contextual value of symbols within them.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is an immediately recognizable film that bares within it many unforgettable images. The scene where Jack Nicholson is chopping his ay through a wooden door is not only iconic and frightful it is also rich in visual cues and symbolism. The image is straightforward at connoting the threat Jack is posing his family. Symbolically the image is engulfed in denoting Jacks lunacy and presents him as a violent force threatening his family. The threat is Jacks taste for alcohol coupled with his inability to write which is symbolically tearing down the doors and forcing its way into affecting the family. The syntagmatic meaning is the threat Jack is posing on the surface however the paradigmatic or contained meaning is that of violence which stems from his ever increasing madness.

Another inescapable image from The Shining is the blood rushing from the elevator and the dead twins which are seen through Danny’s visions. The images connote the violence and death that are lurking about however they are also successful at presenting deeper rooted issues of mortality and innocence. Danny has a special ability which allows him see the horrors of the hotel’s past. The film presents the American cultural myth of family and hard work in conflict with worsening metal stability of Jack.

The Shining is instantly recognizable in part due to Jack Nicholson’s acting and Stanley Kubrick’s vision. However the blood rushing elevator and the twins appear to Danny when he is riding his big wheel across the hotel. These scenes are particularly striking due to the camera movement which effortlessly floats as Danny rides along. The effect is pronounced as the big wheel transitions from carpet to the wooden floor. In these scenes it is important to note that Danny, the innocent child first bares witness to the horrors of the hotel. Symbolically the elevator scene is foreshadowing and demonstrating the spilled blood which will once aging come to the doors of the hotel.

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