Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tony's House of Leaves formal post

Early in the book on page 23 Zampanò writes, “Considering the practically preadamite history of the house, it was inevitable someone like Navidson would eventually enter those rooms.” (Danielewski 23)(1). In the context of the book it is stating that someone would eventually be in the house that would find the horrors and express them in a form of art. Taken out of context this passage shows a strong theme in the book that is not at first noticed.

The book is constantly about the right people being in the right place at the right time; none more so apparent than Johnny Truant. Johnny’s life was headed down a ‘bad’ path before Lude showed him the dead man’s chest(2). Now it can be argued (very well) that the path he took after discovering the manuscript and piecing it together that he was better off without it but it is clear that it at least gave his life meaning. It was only a matter of time before someone like Johnny came across the chest.

This idea further amplifies through all parts levels of the story. One important thing that happens is that Navidson and his brother reunite in the story when he begins to finds the abnormalities in the house. In the sense that that passage was written about Navidson discovering the house in the first place, but his discovery itself was something that was bound to happen to reunite the two. Also it is discussed how Navidson was at the right place at the right time while photographing the UVA professor as the power line fell on him.

These examples really show how important the idea of fate(3) is to this story. Through the four main levels of structure of the story fate plays a large role. Whether it be the many ways in which being in the house ending up effecting Navidson’s life, Lude’s neighbor bringing Johnny the meaning he needed in his life or even anyone’s interactions with Zampanò which seem to deeply affect even the people who would come read to him such as Amber. It can even be seen (maybe a bit more of an abstract sense) that it was fate that the editors came across Johnny’s manuscript. Being such an interesting take on the novel it was a good find for the editors whether it is taken that Pantheon is the editors making comments on the book or maybe a fictitious company is the editors.

House of Leaves is a very complex story that is first and foremost a horror story but also can have many other meaning. Taken from the short passage on page 23, I think the idea of fate is largely intertwined into the novel and must be considered to fully appreciate it.

(1)Danielewski, M.Z., House of Leaves, Pantheon Books (2000)
(2)I almost went off into a pirate and treasure chest metaphor here but I feel it would be tacky and take away from my argument …even though it is a perfect a place as any…a treasure of meaning for his life….
(3)fate - that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny(4) []
(4)While writing this blog post I was also imaging some samples and finishing up my senior thesis presentation and found I created a structure that I have been trying to create for 2 ½ years now…was it fate that it happened the last day I was working on the project? Very eerie.

I cannot quite remember how to make superscripted text using html so I just put them in parentheses...hopefully it doesn't bother anyone.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

One alteration I'd propose to this post would have you focusing more directly on the passage itself: your passage seems to indicate that Zampano believes in fate. I think you're right that fate on various other levels of the manuscript follows reasonably from there, but it radiates outwards from Zampano, at least at this moment.

"Preadamite" = pre-human. Creepy; a house that people _didn't_ make. A house that is not a home.