Monday, October 6, 2014

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According to my dear friend G, “· · · – – – · · ·” this weird Morse code in chapter VIII (from 97p to 106p) means S.O.S, which is Save Our Ship, more easy way, anyway SAVE ME! While I was reading chapter 8, 9 and 10, I also wanted to yell “HELP ME!!!” to everywhere. The section was very confusing and it was hard to focus on the basic plot; which is Holloway Robert and other two members’ scary labyrinth excursion. 

I had to encounter several obstacles while I was reading as if I was one of the members of Holloway team. The book leads us to go somewhere in the book.

However, when we follow the footnote, we will confront these missing signs.


Now, I know printed books can physically distract me. Furthermore, when I start to focus on Zampano’s narrative, Johnny writes the footnotes over one page to interrupt me concentrating one plot. When Wax gets shot (I was very serious at this point and wanted to know what would happen to Wax and Jed), Johnny suddenly cuts the middle, and tells his childhood ghost story. Danielewski introduces the house’s labyrinth not only using structure but also rearranging plots of this book. Besides, random blue boxes are filled with juxtaposition of random nouns, and some letters in the box I could not read without mirror. Readers will feel overwhelming and even want to get out of this chapter. In the strange and scary hallway, Holloway members feel exactly same. 

           This book breaks the prejudice that we might have about printed literature. It mocks how books are supposed to be. Footnotes have to give useful information to readers. However, among millions of footnotes, either Zampano or Johnny does not explain what this Morse code (· · · – – – · · ·) means and you cannot finish this book without holding upside down and using mirror. Besides, some footnotes distract readers to concentrate rather than help to understand the story. In addition, we usually think reading books give various indirect experiences. However, the printed books give both direct as well as indirect experience. When I was in the elementary school, my teacher almost forced us to read books during summer break. She explained if I read books I could experience various things indirectly. However, while I passed through this crazy labyrinth, I was seriously confused and annoyed. It does not belong to only indirect experience anymore. How it formatted makes you feel really intricate. This entire format challenges traditional structures of printed books.

1 comment:

  1. At this point, I feel like, "of course this book has Morse code." The strange will now and forever be accepted, thank you House of Leaves. The SOS message seems to me to be a distress message for the men who are searching through the depths of the house. Their exploration was the creepiest part of the story for me, but also the most fun. I was so wrapped up in it, waiting for something disastrous to happen. The strange formatting of the book only builds up this suspense for me, as you can not entirely know what will be on the next page story wise and visually. This book is one of surprises.