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11. 20. 08 | House of Leaves [day 3] Schedule: Goal[s]: 1. Attendance & Ø Identify and evaluate the Questions? role of the reader in the 2. Twilight ‘realization’ of a story. 3. Discussion groups Ø Relate role of the reader 4. Large Group to the discussions raised by the text. 5. Discussion groups, revisited 6. HW – Keep Reading!
Page 26 -27 On page 26, Truant breaks away from his first person narrative and addresses the reader. He gives the reader instructions on what to do to better understand the terror that he is experiencing. Did you act on his advice? Did this interaction with the text make you feel more connected to Truant as a character? Why or why not? "To get a better idea try this: focus on these words, and whatever you do don't let your eyes wander past the perimeter of this page. Now imagine just beyond your peripheral vision, maybe behind you, maybe to the side of you, maybe even in front of you, but right where you can't see it, something is quietly closing in on you, so quiet in fact you can only hear it as silence. Find those pockets without sound. That's where it is. Right at this moment. But don't look. Keep your eyes here. Now take a deep breath. Go ahead take an even deeper one. Only this time as you start to exhale try to imagine how fast it will happen, how hard it's going to hit you, how many times it will stab your jugular with its teeth or are they nails? , don't worry, that particular detail doesn't matter, because before you have time to even process that you should be moving, you should be running, you should at the very least be flinging up your arms-- you sure as hell should be getting rid of this book-- you won't even have time to scream. "
• The House of Leaves clearly contains a variety of textual techniques. Let us focus on the picture elements of the text. The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” implies that pictures can create similar effects as alpha numeric text. What happens when the text morphs into a picture? • First focus on the interactivity pictures provide. Is text itself always a picture? When in the House of Leaves does the text become a picture, (page 119 windows or 198 with one word)? Could pictures become a text (page 43 symbols)? How are “real” pictures different, if at all (page 582 collages)? What role does the reader have in choosing whether the text is a picture? What happens when a reader chooses to see the text as a picture? • Then compare and contrast the interactivity necessary to engage the picture elements of The House of Leaves with the Freitag Triangle of Lost in the Funhouse’s (11). Does providing a picture create the same effect for the reader regardless of the story? How are these interactivities dependant on the storyline, if at all? Does a similar interactivity lead to the same outcomes for the reader independent of the story?
• House of Leaves is a book written in multiple perspectives consisting of radical ideas and a criss -crossed storyline. The exhibits include pictures, letters, quotes, drawings, poems, etc. lots of which make little sense or have little to do with the story. What I'd like to know is with all the different ways you can choose to read the story if it is at all possible for any two people to gain the same perspective from the story, or if everyones perspectives are different?
• • As Ryan states under part Immersion and Literary Theory: "Both VR and fiction present the ability to transcend the boundaries of human perception. Just as VR systems enable the user to penetrate into places normally inaccessible to humans, fiction legitimates the representation of what cannot be known: a story can be told even when 'nobody lived to tell the tale. '" Which means that VR and fiction are both capable of going beyond the normal human sight and sound. VR and fiction are both capable of immersion because of this. Ryan also states later down in the essay: "But if immersion alternates with an "interactive" stance toward the fictional world and the plural ontological levels embedded in the textual universe, the two experiences cannot occur at the same time. They imply mutually exclusive perspectives on the reference world. " Ryan would argue that House of Leaves is incapable of doing both immersion and interactivity at the same time, so. . . given that immersion and interactivity are the subjects of this course. I'd like to ask the question of whether House of Leaves is trying to accomplish a sense of both immersion and interactivity like a virtual reality terminal. Perhaps a better question 2 is, how does House of Leaves create immersion and interactivity at the same time outside of the VR helmet experience given that one is just reading a book and not actually using gloves and a helmet to give a virtual experience. And, finally, does it succeed even though Ryan says it's incapable of doing both simultaneously? Or maybe. . . can it succeed and prove her wrong? 1 • • Cited: Ryan, Marie-Laure. "Immersion vs. Interactivity: Virtual Reality and Literary Theory. " Postmodern Culture. 5. 1. 1994. 1 I really want to prove her wrong. . . 2_________________________________