Throughout the book Danielewski constantly leads the reader in different directions. During the fastest points he is slow, the narrowest points he is thick, the loosest points he is dense. To understand this book you must not only understand the words, but also what the author is visually conveying.
On page 425 when Navidson is cycling down the corridor toward the begining of exploration 5, the author begins with this strategy. Traveling down the corridor Navidson finds himself traveling down hill. He is having very little resistance from his bike yet the text seems to be strangling itself.
"For the next five
from 240 to 300
miles at a time,
though on the
fifth day, in what
amounts to an
Navidson logs 428
As he bikes what seems to be nearly 2000 miles in five days, the text comes together to merely a single word per line. The author is not trying to convey the journey, he is trying to let the reader know how lost Navidson is. Although he is traveling farther and farther, he is really getting squeezed tighter and tighter in his head. The text strangling itself symbolizes how much of an understanding Navidson has on where he actually is. Furthermore, how much of a grasp he has on the corridors.
At the top of this page he turns around thinking that he had been disoriented, but this move just makes him more disoriented as he falls upon the same slope he started on. This is when the text starts to come together and his idea of where he is gets smaller and smaller.
A few pages later on 428-429 as he continues down the slope but the text does the opposite. As he finally gets to some sort of a checkpoint, when he is able to see the ceiling come down to him, the text is going down. As the ceiling rises the text is rising. It is easy to see how he is using the text to portray the ceiling movement, but it is not as clear to see that Navidson is finally getting a better understanding of where he is. He is finally passing some sort of landmark.
Danielewski is using the text not only to show physical features of the corridor, but also to show the emotions of the character. On the following pages when he travels across the plateau the shape of the text gives the reader the idea of a plateau. However, when he changes direction to the right, expecting some change. He ends up traveling down the same hill. This is where the text comes back together, although the land is still wide. This symbolizes his idea of where he is getting smaller and smaller.
While there are obvious intentions of the author to portray images and convey messages, there is also less obvious symbolism. Danielewski is able to express obvious messages and hidden ones at the same time.