The section of Danielewski’s House of Leaves appropriately known as the labyrinth is a considerably distorted and confusing amalgamation of words in various forms arranged in skewed arrangements which can be challenging for the most well prepared reader to follow. The labyrinth, being a section which details the manipulation of images and the perception of reality through technology, uses this same type of manipulation to throw off the general perspective of the reader, creating a hopeless mess of words without meaning. However, the section starts with a little more than a subtle clue detailing a potential path to follow through this section in order to gain meaning from the labyrinth of words constructed into high walls designed to mislead. This clue being of course the myth of king Minos and the minotaur, a script conveniently “recovered” by Johnny which appears among other statements in bright red, strike-through text.
The myth, which is outlined on page 110 describes the origin of the minotaur and the use of the labyrinth to hide this monstrosity where it waits for the sacrificial Athenian youth. Zampanò, whom we’re led to believe originally detailed this section then removed it, inserts his thoughts on the minotaur and the labyrinth as not being a social construct of destruction and necessary control, but instead describes a conspiracy to mask reality. The labyrinth, as Zampanò writes, is actually a way for the king to repress the face of his son whom he believes to be unfit for eyes of society. Following this idea, it seems that Danielewski is hiding a message within this section, perceived on the outside as a maze leading to no good end, but in reality a misunderstood lesson which requires the proper audience for true appreciation.
To find the truth behind the labyrinth, whether it be the mythical monster to be slain or the misunderstood outcast thoughts of society, one must first make it through the text to find an answer to this question. A thread to follow out of the labyrinth is put in place just as in the myth with Theseus. This thread is actually the myth itself along with the other red strike-through text appearing throughout the section. The red-thread which ties the text together appears in points of the labyrinth where there is an important connection back to the myth while the myth itself provides an understanding for the connection.Using the red strike-through text as the connecting thread for the main idea to take from the labyrinth, one finds that the vast majority of pages containing this thread refer to the use of technology to manipulate perception, much as the labyrinth manipulates and perpetuates the mythical minotaur. The almost ironic connection here is that the red strike-through text is only made possible by the technology of modern computerized printing methods and is itself part of the manipulation. In the end, following such leads as this brings the reader to the conclusion that after deliberately following such technological threads of manipulation, we shouldn’t trust them because they can potentially distort reality in such a way that truth can no longer be discerned within the text.