Monday, November 10, 2008

House of Leaves

When reading House of Leaves one cannot help but notice all the confusion on the pages. How should I read it you have probably asked yourself. I know I did and i still contradict myself when deciding to read it one when but then end up doing it differently. Sometimes I even read the story with the footnotes on accident because I lost my focus. With the writings clustered onto the pages as it is, one cannot help but screw up while reading this book. Now this is not what my blog entry is going to be about, I just had to state my opinion and see if anyone else agreed with it.

What I am really writing about is the underlying tone in the book that I got. I feel that this book coming into its own as a dark, deep, deathly hallway. What I mean by this is that the book itself is drawing us in closer and closer. Danielewski grabs the attention of the reader and makes us toss and turn our thoughts with every page. Just by looking at the way the book was laid out you can see how it would draw us in. With the footnotes being Johnny's words and the rest of the text being Zampano's, Danielewski brings us to the attention of two males. Each male has a story to tell. Johnny is telling his, all while finishing Zampano's. Talk about a clash in male dominance. Which brings me to my next point in what I feel is the tone of this book: Male Confrontation.

In class, I brought up the part in the book when we are first introduced to Holloway Roberts. He is a professional hunter and explorer, overly masculine, always toting a gun. Now, he was hired by Navidson to come and explore Navidson's own house. Navidson, who is a famous photographer, has a lovely wife and finds her to be flirting with Holloway. He does not like this one bit and becomes quite jealous of Holloway. Male Confrontation! Now, when we read on as to how Navidson reacted to Holloway touching Karen, his wife, we see a dark side to him. Being a photographer we would think that he is a fairly calm, collected person, very secure about the love of his life. Well, we were wrong. Navidson says, in regards to Holloway, "I can't tell you how much I'd like to deviate that f*cker's septum." WHAT????

This right here is a prime example of characterization. This shows us that Navidson really is a dark, seriously disturbed individual. Holloway is your 1980's stereotypical male action hero from the movies, usually portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone. He is more of a straight shooter, won't take crap from anyone kind of guy. This is a conflict between two alpha males, competing for dominance.

But then what does all this have to with the book you might be asking? It is the same message over and over again, at least in my mind. Navidson wants dominance over the house. He also wants dominance over his wife, Holloway, anyone or thing that opposes him. Holloway wants dominance as well, but his comes from exploring the world and killing animals. The house wants dominance. The house will kill for dominance unlike Navidson. The book itself wants dominance and gets it. and the book gets it because like anything that will intrigue us, it sucks us in slowly and before you know we are wrapped up and consumed by the House of Leaves

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

I have a deviated septum, incidentally.

The idea about male dominance is a great starting point for an argument; the only issue here is that you don't seem to know what to do with it. How should we read the book differently with this theme of male dominance in mind? What do you *do* with it, in other words? You have an interesting theme, but an underdeveloped argument.