Everyone knows this awkward scene with the bear in The Shining, but why did Stanley Kubrick put it in the film? Does it have to do with something messed up with Wendy?

  • That was without doubt the most confusing part of the movie to me as a kid. Even though I thought the shining was the only scary movie in existence, that scene always made me laugh. Later someone would remind me that to Wendy, they are supposed to be alone in the hotel. So despite all she has seen, this idiotic scene was to reaffirm this notion and supposedly compound the horror. To this day I still cannot see the logic in that notion or the inclusion of that scene in the movie. Good question. I hope it gets an actual answer
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:41
  • 5
    The scene was from the book; though changed a bit. So is your question actually why Kubrick decided to keep that scene? Or why King included it?
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 3:22
  • Check out this piece: collativelearning.com/the%20shining%20-%20chap%2017.html CAUTION it's hard to read. Basically it connects bears in The Shining with Jack sexual abusing Danny. Wendy was probably hallucinating when she saw the bear (how would that even work?) or the hotel was just showing her something that she should have seen before
    – Alchemist
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 4:05
  • 2
    @Alchemist You might want to flesh that out into a proper answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 10:46
  • Not everyone.... I'd completely forgotten it - youtube.com/watch?v=tXwdu0GKb8A
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


The bear existed in the original novel, but as a dog. In the movie, there are several scenes in which Danny is surrounded by bears. When he speaks to a therapist, he's laying on a bear pillow. At the hotel, there is a picture of bears above Danny's bed. And, the lobby sports a bear skin rug. All of this is supposed to tie in the concept that Danny is the bear, and the hotel is showing Wendy that Danny has been the victim of incest. In fact, at one point Jack is reading a Playgirl magazine that has a teaser for an article about incest on the cover.

There's also that whole thing with Room 237 and the female ghost that inhabits the room. Jack's experience in the room helps him see what he's done to Danny, as he imagines himself as a rotting old woman and he, himself, becomes Danny and his feelings of disgust and repulsion. Danny's experience in that room is him externalizing the torment.

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