Tuesday, April 7, 2009

“Unlike the real world, Navidson’s journey into the house is not just figuratively but literally shortened.” This is the lone sentence that appears on page 168 of the book. It occurs just after Navidson, Reston, and Tom set off for the rescue mission. Navidson has made it to the bottom of the staircase in ten minutes and Reston in a mere twenty minutes. The next 5 pages are spent discussing how the house in some way is configured to the mindset of those that enter it. I found this quote immediately interesting because the same thought had crossed my mind about the morphing of the house when Navidson had made his first venture into the hallway. It wasn’t until I reread the the pages a few times and realized that there had to be some other significance to this passage, not only because it was on a page on its own but that it references a missing footnote. This information sparked my interest and made me wonder what was missing from this passage that no doubt has a double meaning.

Navidson has just done what Holloway’s team could not. He has reached the bottom of the staircase in minutes what was expected to take hours. By simply understanding that the staircase had a finite existence, the house was able to morph into a feasible task. Navidson’s journey is shortened tremendously. This represents the literal sense because the staircase literally shortens. Navidson has mentally accepted this dimension of the house as being finite so it is figuratively shortened. This was my initial interpretation of what was being explained on the prior pages. What is ironic though is the first four words on page 168: “Unlike the real world…”
It has been established that Navidson’s psyche effects this dimension of the house, yet it is distinctly set apart from the real world by this quote. It suggests that the hallway leads to a dimension of the house that isn’t real. This is backed up by the previous assumption of the workings of the house. The house has been referenced as a whole but up until this point it has not become as apparent that within the house lies this sub world that one enters through the hallway. In essence the house represents the real world but this hallway that Navidson escapes to represents some type of fantasy world. It is as if he has found a physical manifestation of his mind and can run from the rest of the house or real world into this dark part of his mind.

It is evident that the rest of the house doesn’t physically change as the hallway does. It is concrete and physical. It is Navidson’s real world. It is a world in which not everything is subject to how he wants or expects things to happen. His family life is crumbling and even though Navidson may not wish that to happen, it still is. The real world will not change through his mental endeavors, he will have to change his life through actions and physical changes.
Even after this I still feel that there are many more ways to read this sentence. The fact that the footnote is missing just confirms my assumption.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

Krystal - although you didn't get a chance to revise, this is a still a good piece of work. One of the many reasons I give assignments focusing narrowly on specific passages in this book is that inevitably I get to come away with at least a somewhat different understanding of the book myself - you're making me think here. What you're suggesting (to put it in my own words) is that the house is both real and unreal, both extensible and fixed; your reading is that parts of the house (do you mean the parts above ground, or also portions below ground) are fixed/real and that parts are changing/unreal. Myself, I wonder if it all isn't both simultaneously; if the reality is an aspect of the unreality, or vice versa. Regardless, this is a good narrow focus with a solid exploration of the implications of that narrow focus.