Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My life is a maze... graded blog

Not gonna lie… I’ve been having trouble putting this book together. My friends that have read it are telling me its one of their favorite books ever but telling me to never read it in a small room. Yet, here I am struggling to read and understand the ‘plot’ of the book. Thankfully, everything is slowly starting to fall into place after tonight’s readings. I am actually learning to piece this book together. Now I might not look so dumbfounded in class… yippy!

Throughout House of Leaves, Danielewski consistently transforms paragraphs and/or sentences into different shapes to represent the story. Making the paragraph convert into different silhouettes allows the reader to be more captivated into the story. This particular representation of the nature of these paragraphs and sentences can be seen through Chapter X.

Danielewski starts off Chapter X with a quote about the architectural design of a house as a path. As the chapter begins, there is only one paragraph per a page that can be found either at the top or bottom of the page. This set up allows for the reader to navigate through the book simultaneously as Navidson and Reston navigate through the labyrinth of the house; thus, displaying an interaction for the reader.

Moreover, in one instance, Danielewski uses one word per a page to represent the story. Starting on page 216, Navidson and Reston hear doors slamming. As the slamming of the doors continue, so does the one word per a page. When reading this, I actually heard and saw the doors slamming as I turned the page. Each page to me, represented a door which was then about to be slammed ‘behind’ me.

Furthermore, Danielewski also uses another form of sentence construction to symbolize the current events of the story. As bullets are being fire towards Navidson and Reston, the words of the sentence take the form of the bullet themselves. For example, on page 233, the round of bullets are said to only splinter the panel of the door. While reading this sentence, we can also see that each word represents a bullet hitting the door (page) since they are scattered throughout the page.

Therefore, in a round about way, I feel Danielewski is allowing the reader to interact with the book. Even though Danielewski chooses our adventure for us, the way he presents the text allows the reader to be a part of the adventure and suspense that happens throughout the book. The reader must navigate through the labyrinth of the house, and listen/watch doors slam behind them in order to experience the full effects of the book.


Joy said...

I completly agree. I found that when i read the bood i was acatually moving my head in a jerking manner when i felt like something in the book was calling me to do so. It was like i could feel the door slame, and feel the air move as a bullet seperated the space in front of my face. I acatually found this to be one of the best features of the books form so far,not to say that i dont enjoy the passages shaped like tools we need to understand the concept of the

Adam Johns said...

I'm interested in what you're doing here, but let me point out that the first paragraph set you up for a completely different blog entry: one on the failure to understand, rather than understanding. That would have actually been an interesting approach, since part of the book's subject is our inability to understand it.

As it is, your discussion turns to a particular kind of interactivity (I'd call it the visceral character of the book): it tries to somehow activate various senses, rather than just sight: it doesn't want to be all Apollo, all the time.

So you do well describing the visceral character of the book at several moments - but don't really even get a start talking about what some of those visceral moments mean.

P.s. - good comment from Joy. Do other people have this physical of a reaction?

Yomi said...

I actually didnt experience the head jerking while reading the book, but its probably because I'm human and Joy is a android. I do find the books visceral character to promote a heightened sort of interaction though my interactions with the book were more human; my support for this claim is; I have empathy for the animals. According to Nik the book is an animal so it follows that I empathize with the book. Therefore all my interactions with the book are innately human. (wtf? lol)

Tim said...

Honestly, the only thing this book does for me is give me migraines. Well, no... that's a lie. I can't say that I hate this book, but it isn't one of my favorites.

It may have something to do with the fact that at the end of a chapter, I feel lost. I mean... I get the point; the house is confusing. Doesn't mean your book needs to be! Damn you, Danielewski!