Danny speaks as “Tony” seven times in The Shining, switching Tony’s representation from his left index finger to his right index finger (after witnessing the bloody Twins vision.) Danny speaks as Tony twice with each hand and three times without finger display. As shown in The Games Room, the left hand is coded red and right-brained, the right hand coded blue and left-brained. As Tony shifts from left-hand to right-hand, he shifts from being fearful and evasive to being rational and straightforward. As Kubrick tells Michel Ciment in an interview,
Danny has had a frightening and disturbing childhood. Brutalized by his father and haunted by his paranormal visions, he has had to find some psychological mechanism within himself to manage these powerful and dangerous forces. To do this, he creates his imaginary friend, Tony, through whom Danny can rationalize his visions and survive.
∆ The first time we hear Danny speak as Tony in a high voice, nodding his left index finger. Tony says he doesn’t want to go to The Hotel. Note the milk is on Danny’s right side. Danny is right handed (throws darts and snowballs with his right hand.)
∆ The second time we hear Danny speak as Tony, he has his left hand on the sink, while stirring water with his right hand. This time Danny speaks as Tony in a low voice, predicting that Jack will soon call Wendy, which comes to pass in the next shot.
As shown in The Boulder Apartment, Danny faces the mirror northward, with a green sewing room reminiscent of Room 237 behind it. Recall The Games Room formula of left-to-right movement from low/red to high/blue. Note the red and yellow Dopey and red and yellow rubber duckie and pink toilet seat to the left and water and mirrors to the right, with a green horizontal connecting the two sides. When we see this view again after Danny has switched to the bed, Dopey will have disappeared and the duckie will have flown to the window. Warm-colored things will have to move to the right to survive.
∆ The third time we encounter Tony, Danny nods his left index finger (however reflected in the mirror) while speaking as Tony in a low voice. Danny asks Tony why he doesn’t want to go to the Hotel. Tony is evasive at first, but then relents and Danny experiences a vision of the bloody elevator, the twins and himself screaming in the service hallway cupboard. With Bugs Bunny on his chest, Danny is going ‘down the rabbit hole’ and facing the mirror, travelling ‘through the looking glass’ to his own ‘Wonderland’, the Overlook Hotel. Once there in the mirror world, Tony switches fingers to the right.
∆ The fourth time we encounter Tony, after witnessing the final Twins vision, Danny nods his right index finger and speaks as Tony in a low voice. This is the center speech of Tony in the narrative and the key to Danny’s victory. Tony tells Danny,
It’s just like pictures in a book. It isn’t real.
Now that Tony occupies Danny’s right hand, he now occupies Danny’s left brain, and in Kubrick’s words, rationalizes his visions in order to survive. From this point on, Danny’s visions of the bloody elevator are triggered by his father’s angry outbursts, and we can associate the bloody elevator with Jack’s ‘left hand path’ to achieve a higher consciousness through child sacrifice.
∆ The fifth time we encounter Tony is after Wendy attempts to wake up Danny from a trance in which he chants “red rum”. Danny reacts slowly and seriously to Wendy, and with hands down, speaking as Tony in a low voice directly to Wendy, “Danny’s gone away, Mrs. Torrence.” Danny-as-Tony faces right as his shadow faces the opposite direction.
∆ The sixth time we hear Tony, Danny nods his right index finger and speaks (now exclusively) as Tony in a low voice. Note the milk (now darkened) is on Danny’s left side, flipping polarity from lunch in the Boulder Apartment.
∆ The seventh and final time we encounter Tony, Danny speaks as Tony in a low voice, repeating “red rum”, and picks up the knife in his left hand. Note the glass of water present. Danny stirred water in the bathroom sink as Tony predicted the future, and the same will happen here with the “REDRUM = MURDER” prediction. Danny-as-Tony tests the blade with his right thumb, walks across the room to the mirror (however not reflected in it) picks up lipstick in his right hand. Note the knife blade is facing Danny.
∆ Continuing repeating “red rum” in a low voice, Danny-as-Tony writes “REDRUM” on the bathroom door. With sword in his left hand and a pen in his right, Danny is in accordance with the “left hand path” equalling taboo and sacrifice, and the “right hand path” equalling logic and communication.
∆ Danny turns toward Wendy, now repeating “red rum” in his own loud voice. Between the edit, the knife has flipped around and now the blade faces outwards. Danny has switched polarity. Later, during Wendy’s series of night visions, this knife will continue to switch polarities, alternating between her left and right hands.
∆ Wendy sees “MURDER” reflected in the bedroom mirror. Note the short, reddish lamp to the left and the tall, purplish lamp to the right.
∆ Immediately thereafter, Wendy hears Jack’s axe hitting the apartment door to the left. She picks Danny up and moves him right to the bathroom.
∆ Danny seems himself, terrified but alert. We don’t encounter Tony anymore. Note Danny’s left eye is covered and he is looking through his right eye only. From now on, Danny’s focus is on using craft to defeat his father and save his mother and himself.