Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Golden Ratio Spiral Vs. the Maze

So, this book pretty much shatters every preconceived notion I have about how a book should be formatted, as well as how a plot should be narrated. In class last week we talked a lot about how the we reacted to the format of the book and how that impacted our reading of it. In fact, this discussion was the basis of the entire class. It is hard to get into this book without really considering how it is visually and spatially set up, as well as how the multiple narratives alter the story. To me, what is interesting about this is the way in which Danielewski uses the formatting of the book to add meaning to the story itself. A book is often set up in the way that makes it the easiest for a reader to read. In this book, it is set up in a way that makes the reader understand the narrator and the story itself more (well maybe…).
We talked a little bit about the cover in class and I think that this provides a fair example of how the book itself functions. In class we talked about how the spiral on the front is a mathematical sequence that occurs in nature. This represents natural order and beauty, the things that are predictable in the world. On the outside of the spiral is what looks to be a maze. A maze is almost always filled with uncertainty, confusion, and possibly even fear of finding the way out. These very different representations are an indication to what will be found within the book. There is this weird sort of academic and reasonable undertone contrasted by the confusion and even hysteria that is incited by this house that nobody can understand. It almost seems as though the house leads people away from the natural order of things into the more confusing and less certain. This can be seen in the way that the format becomes less linear. We also see this in our main narrator, Johnny, as he learns more he becomes more confused and uncertain.

1 comment:

  1. It is so easy to get lost in the visual structure of the book. However, this is the first time I am really okay with not knowing what is going on. There's a certain flow of this book that I let myself be swept within. However, if I knew that I would have a paper on this book I would panic. Definitely. There is some strange whimsy to having to hold a book upside down and towards a mirror in order to read it. This book is really challenging the notion of what a book is and what a book can achieve. Although I am a big fan of printed books, I would love to see someone trying to read these wonky pages with an E-Reader.

    I absolutely love when you said that "it almost seems as though the house leads people away from the natural order of things into the more confusing and less certain." This seems like the golden rule of the book and something we should keep in mind while we read and discuss it. We are invested in a book where we are certain that nothing is certain (if that makes sense).