Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Everything's Disjointed! A Story of Adam's Favorite Literature Graded Blog Entry

I started writing this after midnight because I had not begun to seriously read House of Leaves until tonight. Now, I cannot stop reading, hell I don't want to do anything else, until I finish this book. I felt much the same way about Jimmy Corrigan when reading it. My obsession with finishing these works is not tied in to whether Iliked the story of Corrigan or HoL. Personally I thought Jimmy Corrigan was the depressing story of some thirty-sex year old who felt ready to die, and HoL is so convoluted at some places that I couldn't give a shit about Johnny Truant and I just want to keep reading what Zampano has to say. Therein is where I find the similarity between the two works.

Jimmy Corriganis not one story. The plot revolves around Jimmy's family, not necessarily Jimmy himself. If a Family Tree can be a protagonist, the Corrigan Tree is the protagonist of that work. Chris Ware likes to play around with cutting apart Jimmy's story and his grandfather (great grandfather's) story. I believe that though these sometimes abrupt transitions between stories is meant to keep some of the reader's suspense over what is happening in either story, the transition is actually meant to show us the similarities in stories. Even moreso we see the similarities in the men in Jimmy's family. Ware also uses this device to fill in how Jimmy would feel as a boy who was abandoned by his father by telling the story of his grandfather and how he was abandoned by his father. Ware never really gives us a clear cut image of how Jimmy's life was like when he was a child. However, Ware provides us with Jimmy's grandfather, who is strikingly similar in just about every aspect, and how the grandfather deals with his life in school and growing up. Though the times are different, the reader can stipulate how Jimmy's childhood progressed by looking at how Jimmy's grandfather progressed. Grandfather Corrigan's experiences with his Italian friend and how the Grandfather connected more with his friend's father than his own (who was distant enough to have emotionally abandoned him at this point) points to experiences that Jimmy probably went through as he aged. This is somewhat parallel when we get a glimpse of the first and only scene of Jimmy's childhood and his experiences with the quasi-fatherly figure of Superman.

This does tie in with HoL because it is clearly two established stories already. We are given the literary written work of Zampano and the personal addendums of Johnny Truant, its "editor." Whereas Zampano is giving the reader a direct, evidenced (or, claimed to be evidence) account of the haunting of the house and life of Will Navidson, Johnny Truant is implicitly showing us his improvisational traits and conductivity to madness that gives him similar characteristics to Zampano. It is as if Johnny Truant is compatible with Zampano and as the story progresses and Truant immerses himself into this false documentary, Truant becomes even more like Zampano. We see a huge cut in the published work by Zampano for a short-short story by Truant where he goes on a tangent about how he invented a plausible sounding story on the spot (pps 12 - 17). Zampano, as explained earlier with his falsely cited sources and subject matter, is doing much the same.

Another matter which I will note quickly (because half the time with these books I don't know what the hell I'm reading, much less what I'm saying when I explain them) is the concept of time. In Corrigan and HoL the concept of when things are and aren't happening is confused and disjointed. I'd cite a page in Jimmy Corrigan but then I may as well just say read any spread of 10 pages and you'll find an instance of the expansion and constriction of time and space. It is interesting to note that Zambano (and Truant) is fascinated by how people conceive the idea of space. The issue is talked about for a moment aroundpages 4-7. I have a feeling that the issue will be raised again later on in the book. The idea that I get from Ware and Danielewski is that they believe time is cyclical (Ware seems to support this) or happening all at once in several realities, which I believe Danielewski would support. What occurs in Corrigan is a repitition of similar events. Jimmy and his grandfather acted the same way, and therefore, reaped similar outcomes. In HoL we read a certain German passage and immediately Johnny Truant chimes in saying that the moment he read that something had changed for him. Something that had occured when Zambano copied the text or when Heidigger actually wrote the text occured the moment that Truant read the text. This indicates to me that Danielewski is having several realities occur at the same time.

Now that I'm thoroughly confused, another form of writing that Danielewski and Ware seem to enjoy, I will end this blog. Also, this is confusing like the maze section in Zork.

I had to make a Zork reference for Nik's sake.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

There are two different, quite good blog posts here.

First, your discussion of the protagonist(s) of each work is illuminating. You are more convincing on the notion of JC's (note that we never talked about the initials in the book, which is why I'm using them here) protagonist as the family tree than on your vaguer argument about HOL - but then again, you've only just started the latter book.

Your discussion of time is also very good, but somewhat compressed (yuck, yuck).

So both are really good - but either one, somewhat extended, could have been even better (envision, for instance, an argument that HOL essentially involves a family tree, or one which performed a reading of the importance of Heidegger in the book...)