Tuesday, November 11, 2008

House of Leaves vs. The Beatles

At the beginning of the book, there is a quote by the Beatle’s song “A Day in the Life”. I found this interesting because I recently started to listen to more Beatles and this song before reading this book intrigued me. It is one of the most influential songs according to many lists (Rolling Stones, etc.). But why would Danielewski include this quote in the beginning of his book? I think there are discrete reasons why. The structure and the attitude of the song are a lot like the book. There are many similarities that I want to consider.

In “Day in the Life”, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are monophonic (Bona). This means that there is never anyone singing together. It is always separate from each other. There is also no chorus. I think that “House of Leaves” is monophonic, too. Zampano’s story is different than Johnny’s story. If it was a song, Zampano and Johnny would be singing completely different tunes. This is also like John and Paul. John starts out the song singing about things from the newspaper the day he was writing the lyrics, etc. When he talks about the man in the car, there was actually an article in the newspaper that talks about a man being in a car accident (Bona). Johns part is informational and factual. Paul’s part, on the other hand, is completely opposite. In fact, Paul’s lyrics were made for another song and they just decided to add it. Paul’s lyrics are about his day. For example “Woke up, got out of bed/ Dragged a comb across my head”(Bona). I feel like Johnny’s story is like Paul’s story. Johnny mostly talks about his times at the bar or more personal experiences, precisely like Paul did in this song. John’s part is more like Zampano’s part. They both are factual and have substance and are trying to inform us about a topic they are curious about.

Other parts of the song to consider are the very end. At the end, there is a part where they put a jumble of words together to make a weird melody that plays over and over again. I think that is like the book. The book on the actual pages can be a jumble that goes everywhere at points. The footnotes make you go back and forth, much like the end of this song. To go even further, the song itself goes everywhere like the book. It starts with John singing, an orchestra builds up, Paul singing, John singing, an orchestra builds up, nothing at all, and the ending tone and the “jumble” I was just referencing (Bona). The book can be like this, too. It starts with Zampano, goes to a footnote about somebody, which can go to another footnote, back to Zampano, then to Johnny’s long footnotes, etc.

A line that I was interested in also is the repeated “I’d love to turn you on” by John. There has been speculation that the line was about drugs references. Also, when the lyrics state that Paul goes into a dream (Bona). This could reference Johnny’s state of mind. Johnny could be or not be writing this book all himself because of multiple personalities. He himself could be having a dream just like Paul said.

I think that this song is a lot like the “House of Leaves” in several instances, and I can understand why he used it as the first quote of the book. The melody, harmony, and the lyrics all could go back to the books structure and Johnny and Zampano

Mitchell-Dalla Bona, Anda. "A Day in the Life -- an Indepth Analysis." 10 Nov. 2008 http://www.applecorp.com/aditl/origins.htm.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

Good analysis. It's interesting enough, in fact, that I hope to remember to refer people to it in future semesters. In fact, you're making me think that *I* should be listening to more Beatles, too.