Analysis of Chapter 6 (pages 74-79 footnotes 79-82)

Chapter VI Analysis: Animals

Main themes: Animals and perception of reality

-Quote from the book The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. More full version of the quote here. Ernest Becker had a theory about death “Becker came to believe that a person’s character is essentially formed around the process of denying his own mortality, that this denial is necessary for the person to function in the world, and that this character-armor prevents genuine self-knowledge. Much of the evil in the world, he believed, was a consequence of this need to deny death.” source This lead to another psychological field Terror Management Theory.

-cant find the source for the second quote but its interesting in that it talks about how man hasn’t instincts as how to orient one self in a world where hes aware of his own death as an inevitability because it reminds me of a bit from the terror management theory about how world views and cultures are made to help orient a person to how they’re supposed to act with the knowledge that they’re going to die. (ie most animals are unaware of their own morality and thus have no reason to fear it much less deal with it)

-Here’s a bit about Christian Norberg-Schulz but there’s a little more information on him in the Norwegian wiki page

What’s more interesting to the over all theme of the book and the house’s dynamic floor plan is Norberg-Schulz’s theory of architecture and phenomenology particularly the idea of genius loci where he believes that the construction of a place, one should consider the spirit of the place or how it will be presented to the inhabitants based on use (ie taking considerations of floor plan, materials, textures, colours, beyond pure pragmatism). Source

-take note how genius loci is almost a western equivalent of Fung Shui

-note that both animals are male but have female names (Malory and Hillary)

-Need to keep note of what happens with the animals. The dog has been left mentally scared in some manor that makes him weary of strangers and the cat disappears with no mention made of the event. Its interesting that no further mention is made of the cats disappearance just as the dog pays no heed to the missing presence of the cat, neither does the family (or Zampano for that matter).

-Not much to be said for the meat of the chapter, but I will take this place to postulate why the house’s more mysterious dimensions won’t support the pets: the idea of genius loci and Norberg-Schulz theory on architecture and Fung Shui and all things that play into and support these religious beliefs and psychological theories are all human made concepts made for the human psyche. A cat nor dog hasn’t the capacity to measure (at as far as they’ve shown us yet, maybe dogs are secret psychologists and cats brilliant architects, I won’t rule out the idea since we have no way of communicating such ideas with them given the language barrier, but I’m not holding my breath either since elephants, dolphins, and some birds are the only known species to have self awareness and none of which show the capacity for theory of mind.) area, volume, and conflicting dimensions. Therefore, the hallway in the living

room dumps them out into the back yard just as it “should” (according to the “5 ½ minute hallway”).


Footnote 79: Selwyn is a very odd name to be sure but it’s interesting to note that it breaks down to “Sel” (house/castle) and “wyn” (friend) which then roughly means “Friend in the house.” source

However I really can’t find anything for Hyrkas other than “Erik Hyraks” (could be a writer friend of MZD’s maybe. God knows this book is full of obscure references.)

Footnote 80: I believe it was Freud who said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” So it will be me to say “Sometime it’s hard to see a porch when you’re not expecting it.”

Footnote 81: I found this book “The Black Echo” which the premise is about a dective who finds one of his Nam war buddies dead and has to hunt his killer down a maze of dark sewers and fight enemies with in his own apartment.

Jonny’s Story (footnote 82 pages 76-79)

Page 76

-FUN FACT TIME: The phrase “go out on a limb” comes from the idea of going out on a limb of a tree to reach a fruit. The idea was to risk “life and limb” for a greater reward. The phrase was first used in 1895 Steubenville Daily Herald October: “We can carry the legislature like hanging out a washing. The heft [main part] of the fight will be in Hamilton country. If we get the 14 votes of Hamilton we’ve got ’em out on a limb. All we’ve got to do then is shake it or saw it off.” source

Page 77

-”…great black sail of rods and cones…” referring to the cones and rods on the retina that help interpret colour and depth source

-”kilkenny-disappear” is a reference to a limerick about two cats from Kilkenny, it goes like this:

There once were two cats of Kilkenny

Each thought there was one cat too many

So they fought and they hit

And they scratched and they bit

Till (excepting their nails

And the tips of their tails)

Instead of two cats there weren’t any!


“ – Where Have I Moved? What Have I Muttered? Who Have I Met? – “ Might be obvious to others but it took me a second or third look to catch this (look at the first letter of every question: WHIM? WHIM? WHIM?”

the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs” seems to have a colourful yet slightly gross (least the most probable source according to the author) history/origin. However one particularly interesting but unsupported origin is that Odin was the god of storms and his animal was wolves and that Witches would take the form of their familiar (a cat) and ride the wind (I guess this theory was proposed before Witches perfected broom aviation technology). source

-note on Therefore symbol (∴) was first used in 1659 by John Rahn in a German algebra text book. source

-Rahn was also the first to use the obelus symbol (the division symbol ÷) source

Page 78

-(in reference to the unexplained claw marks found near zapano’s body)”…four of them, six or seven inches long and half and inch deep…” reminds me that there was 4 dead bolt locks placed on the hallway door, each with a different colour key.

-”…awe-full…” the etymology of awe turns up “dread mixed with veneration” from the Biblical reference to the supreme being but awful (source) (comes from the etymology of awe-ful which then turns up “worthy of respect or fear” source) as to why he wrote it a “awe-full” instead of (at least the more proper) “awe-ful” or the more modern “awful” isn’t known. Best guess is it’s an additional clue to readers to research etymology of some words for deeper meaning (first obvious one being Jonny’s mention of Zampano’s “snaking etymologies” in the introduction).

-“Where I Left Death” = “WILD”

-”…another place I’m here to avoid…” using this book and drugs and the like to escape memory of his step father.

-”…though not on Franklin & Whitley…” intersection in Whitley Heights, Hollywood, Los Angles, CA


Analysis of Chapter 5 (Pages 41-73 Footnotes 46-78)

Chapter V Analysis: Echo

Central themes: Echo, Truth, History

-”Raju welcomed the intrusion…” An quote from the book The Guide: A Novel Context (source) Raju had just been released from prison. His first act was to get a hair cut then occupy an abandoned temple. He was one of India’s most corrupt tour guides. The quote is the first sentence of the first chapter where a impoverished man stumbles into the temple and mistakes Raju for a priest. Raju decides to play the part.

Judging from the title (specifically “A Novel” part), this could possibly be the reference in the last chapter to the volume chosen (“…reaches for the largest volume he can find. A novel. Just as Karen…”) to act as a door stop.

Page 41

-”…Pan, being the god of civility and restraint, tears her to Pisces…” Its interesting to note the wrong word mixing “pieces” for “Pisces”. Apparently this is a common theme in the book (source). This is also the second mention of an astrological sign in as many chapters chapter IV “I’m a Virgo. What about you?”. This chapter also features footnote symbols chosen by Zapano, all of which are Greek in origin and 6/8 are planetary signs and the remaining two are mathematical signs (infinity an omega).

-its also worth noting that Zapano mentions Pan being the “god of civility and restraint” when hes the god of the the wild (primal side of humanity), eroticism, and wine. (source)

-another note worthy point is pan didn’t tear echo to pieces himself, he actually caused a “panic” among a nearby group of shepherds who then did the deed for him (source) (this is also the etymology of the word “panic”. Pan was blamed for causing loud/startling noises in wooded/wilderness areas when one was a lone.) (source)

-”…her repetitions are far from digital, much closer to analog.” Digital v Analog. Digital sound transition breaks down the sounds into binary numbers which allows for more accuracy in the final result where as analog translates sounds into electronic pulses (or electrical vibrations) which many times transmits a less than perfect rendering of the original transmission.

Page 44

“Athanasius Kircher’s Neue Hall – und Thonkunst” The full title of this book is “Athanasius Kircher: New Hall and Thonkunst secret or mechanical connection of art and nature.” I can’t find any information on the book it self or much of Kircher’s thought’s on the machine. Doesn’t seem like it’s a work that’s been translated into English and I don’t read German. Anybody with knowledge of the German language and access to this book who wants to find the bit where he talks about his interactions with his “artificial echo machine”

What I have been able to find is that Kircher devised a theory on acoustics called “Magia Phonocamptica, sive de Echo” which (very) roughly translates to: Magic phonetics or the echo. (source) which he fleshed out in his book Musurgia Universalis. Despite the book’s age, I can’t seem to find a public record version so this is the best I could do: source and this.

“…or perhaps even Prometheus…lamp in hand…” this puzzled me at first since Prometheus isn’t a messenger nor a god of communications like Mercury but the “lamp in hand” bit got me thinking about the story where he stole fire from the gods to give to humanity. This then makes the “…descending on a fortunate humanity.” bit make more sense.

Page 45

-”…difference between the Hebrew davhar and the Greek logos…” Hebrew davhar (davar?) are commandments and the Greek logos are “a formalized thought, account, report, word, speech, argument, story, etc.”

logos and davhar are difficult concepts for me to wrap my brain around (at the moment anyway, but here’s my try: logos more expresses the reasoning or meaning behind something. More like the connotation and denotation of a word/concept where as davhar is proof via oral wisdom/tradition of the existence of god. So logos is more the explanation for something existing, not necessarily for the reason of god or coming from god and davhar is the word of god and therefore proof of god.

-”The Figure of Echo contains a startling error…” the following passage taken from the book The Figure of Echo in HoL with the “error” is not factual in the version of The Figure of Echo I found as on page 19 it properly reads “caves” making the following part an error in and of it self.

-here’s the full poem the insert was taken from: The Power of Sound

Page 47

-Next to both the equations is the Greek symbol for sun

“As Gloucester murmered ‘I see it feelingly.’” At this point Gloucester has be tortured and been blinded. In Act IV he seeks to commit suicide and Edgar (his son in disguise) assists him but fools him into believing he has survived jumping off a cliff by the grace of god. King Lear enters the stage and implores Gloucester who is now blind to use his ears to see.

Michael J. Buckingham – a physicist who specializes in underwater acoustics. However if he is the one who came to the conclusion that sight is neither an active nor passive function, I am not sure.

– “The blind must rely on the feeble light of finger tips and the painful shape of a cracked shin.” Not entirely true, research has shown that the brain can redistribute the efforts of the parts of the brain that control vision to do other functions for senses that still work, such as language. (source) Granted this study is based in people born blind or who become blind at an early age and I don’t have a study on hand to show that this happens in people who go blind at a later point in life. Also in this 2010 paper, it has been documented that blind people can actually learn to use echolocation to navigate. Of course it’s not as sophisticated as it is in animals who have evolved with this ability but it is possible. (see page 2). This story covers the techniques for developing echolocation in humans more thoroughly (apparently the blind can be trained to make click noises with their tongue, similar to how dolphins use bio-sonar) (source). Very interesting stuff, well worth a read.

Page 50

– “…translates sound waves into heat.)” I had no clue what he was talking about here, so I did a little searching and found that this is how sound adsorbing technologies work. They adsorb the the sound, the sound vibrates the walls, the walls sheer together (instead of reflecting the sound), which creates heat until the wall has processed all the vibrations. Apparently the heat is imperceptible but I’d be interested to know how much decimals it would take to make notifiable heat. Hell maybe if you got one of those super amp car stereos and put it into a room made of this stuff if you could heat the room. Maybe I’ll write mythbusters. (source)

– “At 68 degrees Fahrenheit sound travels at approximately 1130 ft/sec.” This got me thinking, how much does temperature affect the speed of sound. Apparently this is a rather elementary experiment that my school never bothered to cover, so I could only find “kiddy” sites explaining this phenomenon but it’s still pretty interesting to read about for those of us whom went to publicly funded schools. (source) (I won’t spoil the results. :-p)

-”There is only silence.” Its interesting to note that if one considers the state of Zapano’s original text (minus Jonny’s foot notes) here, what proceeds after this are blank pages or visual silence until page 55

Page 56

– “Remember kids…Don’t shoot each other. Aim at the fragile, expensive stuff.” I love Tom, he reminds me of an uncle I had.

“news of Oliver North’s annulled conviction…” July 20th 1990 (source)

-”with superb cross cutting…” this scene is excellent in capturing the continuing theme of echoing and reverberation. The growing silence between Navy and Karen is physically setting them at opposite ends of the house while the kids are continually drifting further apart which ties us back to the phrase on p 50 “where there is no echo there is no description of space or love. There is only silence.” Then the echoing of the childrens’ cries travels out from the center of the house (in the new hallway) to reach Karen and Navy who are on the outer extremes of the house and causing them to come rushing back towards the original source of the sounds which then physically brings the family back together and emotionally reunites Navy and Karen emotionally “Whether it is the lasting flush of terror still in Karen’s cheeks or her absolute need for him, so markedly different from her frequently aloof posture, Nadavidson cradles her in his arms like a child and promises.”

Page 57

Strong women writers

Kate Chopin

Sylvia Plath

Toni Morrison

LA Based writer

Francisca Block and her books Weetzie Bat series

Psychologists focusing on gender identity and female developmental psychology

Mary Pipher and her book Reviving Ophelia

Carol Gilligan and her book In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development

all of these women have in common: they’re all writers and strong feminine characters (not all feminists though)

Page 58

-This entry by a fellow wordpresser on the subject of “Reviving Ophelia” perfectly captures the forces that have shaped Karen Green from adolescence to what she is at this point in the book. Thank you, eyeblinkfiction

-On a related note (Denis) Diderot is a rather interesting character, a philosopher in the 18th century; his most notable (read: relevant) work is “Letter on the Blind” which he explores the relationship between reason and knowledge acquired empirically/through sensory input.

-“the excerpt from the fictional Posah’s book, describes a vibrant, intelligent, confident, and athletic young girl who at the age of 15 turned into a shadow of her former self with a newly emerged streak of introversion and a emotionally detached demeanor paired with a perfectly practiced smile. This reflects the Cayenne case study in Pipher’s book Reviving Ophelia. It should also be noted she practiced her smile in front of a blue handled mirror.

Page 61

-All the books on Feng Shui are real books and because of this, I don’t feel the need to provide links. Only noteworthy bit (which is so minor I’d attribute it to being a genuine typo, but Interior Design with Feng Shui the author’s name is actually Sarah “Rossbach” with 2 “s”s. However, I found Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching

-Kua Number: here’s how to calculate your Kua Number (Apparently mine is 3. I guess it’s lucky that my desk faces south, other wise this project would DRIVE. ME. IN-SANE! Or I’d just power through it. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t particularly subscribe to superstitions, but that’s not to say that they’re horridly boring or have nothing to offer the human culture.)

-”how about secretary of Defense?” Karen’s continuing her war against the enigma with her pursuit of tactical Fung Shui.

– “…but the cry just flattens and dies in the narrow corridor.” The space must have shrunk because just a couple of weeks prior when the children venture into the hallway, their voices echoed (which means that the hallway must have been at least 56 ½ feet deep at that point [even if one considers the temperature inside the hallway 32 degrees Fahrenheit +/- 8 degrees, the hallway would still have to be a minimum of 50ft] and now it doesn’t echo, implying that it either warmed up significantly [not likely] or it’s dimensions have changed)

– “…creates an unexpected and very unwelcome echo.” And again it grows.

Page 62

-”But the division between them is not just physical.” the following paragraph of Navy and Karen’s video diaries echo each other. The first echos from Navy and Karen are accusatory “Karen: Doesn’t he see I don’t want him going in there because I love him.” “Navy: She hasn’t even given a thought to what I care about.” The second echo’s are sorrowful “Karen: …if he goes in there, I’m outta here.” “Navy: If she keeps up this cold front, you bet I’m going in there.”

Page 64

-”…a new doorway to the right. It was not there before.” The space is longer than normal, nice touch between the action in the movie and the text.

Page 67

-”…flashlight scratching…” reminds me of the scratches left in Zappano’s apartment floor

Page 68

– “…briefly catching hold of the -om’s as they too start to vanish…” the “om” bit reminded me of OM in mantras. Om was suppose to be the first word in existence. In the beginning, existence (Brahman) was one not dual and then creation questioned why it should be alone and willed it self to split and then the question made the sound “OM”. (source)

Neologism: the coining or creating of a new word or phrase

Chapter V Footnotes

**A note of footnotes** the Zampano footnotes are signified by astrological symbols and two mathematical symbols. The planetary symbols are Grecian in origin and are deeply tied with mythology (here’s a list). Then the last two are mathematical symbols, first being infinity (a foot note pertaining to time) and the the final being omega (I believe the omega is ultimately a double entendre being that it’s Zampano’s final foot note in this chapter and its the final letter in the Greek alphabet). The ordering and or reasoning for choosing each planetary symbol for each foot note is yet to be discovered. It may have something to do with their belief that the earth was the center of the universe (and why it was the first symbol to be used) and then “echoing out” from there to hit Pluto (the next symbol used) as the outer edge (think of the universe as a pond. Earth is a rock being dropped in the pond and Pluto represents the outer banks of the pond)(source) the lack of Venus representation might be due to the fact that in ancient Greece observation of Venus was not consistent and many times believed to be two different satellites. However it raises the question why Pluto was used when it wasn’t a naked eye visible planet (source)

Page 41

Footnote 46: David “Eric” Katz, author, photographer, music journalist (source)

Footnote ⊕: First off, I cannot find a translation for the phrase “adonte ta melê”. It’s gibberish in every language translator I’ve tried. But, taking our “translation” at face value:

I had issues finding how to explain the word choice; what do limbs have to do with singing? Finally I found in the etymology of melody which comes from the word “melisma” I found that the use of “limb” is a pun on words in that limb means “parts of a song” and her voice was the only “limb” not buried.

Footnote 48: biloquist – n. A person having the ability to speak in two different voices. Biloquist is play on words in that a biloquist can echo him self as if he were two different people (if we remember, this is the premise for the existence of Echo: One person says something, and Echo repeats it back to them) This could also be a double pun that the word “metamorphoses” is a Greek word (source) but it was written in Latin about Roman history. It’s also worth noting that Ovid’s Metamorphoses book III does cover the story of Echo and Narcissus: (see lines 356 – 410)

Page 42

Footnote 49: In order to understand the context of the following quotes we need to understand 2 things.

First, the first quote is from Don Quixote which it self has a unconventional premise as follows: Miguel de Cervantes insists that his novel is based in true events and that Don Quixote is a real person and that the adventures Don Quixote have been recorded by others and he (Cervantes) is merely adopting Quixote. So given this when we come to chapter 9 in part one (from which the quote about truth comes) we find that in context that the truth of the story being told is from a pamphlet written by a fictional author (Cide Hamete Benengeli) and so all the truth being spouoted is really just a manifestation of the author’s imagination which is no doubt a show of great irony. (here’s the book Don Quixote for original context)

Now we are presented with the work, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges in which Pierre Menard, a fictional author, translates Don Quixote in such a way that he immerses him self into the work so deeply that he walks in the foot steps of Cervantes and actually recreates the book word for word in greater depth and context than the “original”. The entire essay is Borges’s literary criticism of Menard’s “creation”. (confused yet? Read about it here or read the essay it self here. As ridiculously frivolous as it must sound, its actually quite hilarious; the back story of Pierre Menard, Author of Quixote is just as comical being a product of Borges’s head injury induced hallucinations (source). At a total of 6 pages it’s well worth a quick read.)

Basically the main reason these passages were chosen is that the work of Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote is a form of intellectual echoing. One person says the passage the first time in one context and then a second author comes along and repeats the same ideas word for word but in a slightly different context. This piece is a perfect example of recontextualisation which can be argued to be a form of an epistemological echo.

Page 43

Footnote 52: John Hollander’s The Figure of Echo isn’t available on public record yet, so no further info.

Footnote 53: “Glorious Garrulous Graphomania” isn’t a real book (and Kelly Chamotto isn’t anyone I could find) but it could be a joke about Hollander’s work since this book’s title roughly means “glorious excessive ramblings of a graphomaniac [one who writes compulsively]”

“T. N Joseph Truslow” I couldn’t find a “Joseph Truslow” but did find a James Truslow Adams who was an uneducated historian who wrote a three part history on America (which the first volume won the Pulitzer prize). He’s the first to be credited with coining the phrase “The American Dream”. In his works he was very critical of education in America, being a writer in the 1930’s he was very ahead of his time. His lack of formal education coupled with his writing career and the “book” he edited “ Glorious Garrulous Graphomania” reminds me of Zampano. (source)

Footnote ♂: I have a problem with these translations. “decem iam annos aetatem trivi in cicerone” translates to “now at the age of ten streets in Cicero” where the proper Latin for “I’ve spent ten years on Cicero” is “decem annos habeos Cicero”. However I do not speak Latin so I am no true authority. Please correct me if you know more about Latin. (note: ♂ is Mars’s shield and spear)

And the Greek word for “ass” is “γάιδαρος”. And “one” doesn’t translate.

Footnote ☿: “dia” also doesn’t translate to anything in Greek. (note: ☿ mercury’s winged helmet and staff)

page 44

Footnote ☾: This quote comes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. However the translation of Metamorphoses I provide has the wording Narci: “May I die before what’s mine is yours.” and Echo: “What is mine is yours!”. (Ovid book III 391-2)

Footnote 55: The context of this quote is that Satan as a serpent has lead Eve to the “prohibited” tree and is trying to seduce her into eating from the tree of knowledge. (Fun Fact: The first letter of each line from 510-514 spells “Satan.”(source) (Paradise Lost, Milton)

Page 45

Footnote 56: Couldn’t find a “Hanson Edwin Rose” but I did find that “Hanson & Edwin” were actors in the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” as Leatherface and Hitchhiker respectively. (source)

“Pneuma Publications” Pneuma is the Greek word for “breath” (spiritual)

Page 46

Footnote 59: This quote comes from a poem in said book, the poem named “The power of sound

I found a letter from Alice May Williams to the observers at Mount Wilson (source) but I couldn’t find a CAT. #0005. For further information.

Surprisingly “Society For the Diffusion of Useful Information” is a real thing and is the in house publisher for the Museum of Jurassic Technology which is who ran the Mount Wilson Observation centers.

Page 47

Footnote 61: King Lear, act IV, scene vi, page 147, Shakespeare

Page 50

Footnote 63: The math and physics bits here are beyond my scope. Input would be appreciated.

Page 57

Footnote 68: Not sure of the significance of the hallway changing directions/locations. This is something to be paid to attention though, off the top of my head I can remember it being on the North, South, and East walls.

Page 59

Footnote 69: I doubt this is the Steve Sokol MZD is referring to, but apparently he was the “original Fittest Man

Julia Carter is a doctor, but as a ophthalmologist (an eye specialist) she’s far from a psychologist/relationship author.

Footnote 70: Exhibit Six is on page 535.

Page 60

Footnote 71: I really hope “Drew Bluth” is some sort of reference to Arrested Development. Such a funny show, if you’ve never seen it (it was aired on Fox and caught “Fox syndrome” [Fox: Wow, what a original, well written, and overall fantastic show pulling in decent ratings…CANCELED!!!!]) get yer self a free trial to Netflix or acquire it in some other way and check it out.

Footnote 72: Bodhi is an ancient tree in which Buddha was said to have reach enlightenment while meditating under.

I’m Going to guess Bix is a reference to the Jazz musician Bix Biderbecke.

The best I can get with “oikofoe” is that “okios” is the Greek word for home and foe doesn’t translate. So…maybe it’s saying home enemy? Coupled with the “Bad Bodhi Wall” it makes some sense in that maybe a Bad Bodhi tree would inspire unrest and discontent (rather than a good Bodhi tree which should exude peace and tranquility).

Page 62


Footnote | _| : symbol used to denote this foot note is actually found in Appendix II-C exhibit #1. The symbol is on the ground-air emergency code chart meaning “aircraft badly damaged” which is funny due to the fact that the first book mentioned in this foot note is about fear of flying. Here’s a chart (which was surprisingly hard to find).

Apparently Erica Jong did write a novel named Fear of Flying which is about a woman who has an affair because of her unfulfilled marriage. (source)

Anne Hooper’s The Ulitmate Sex Book is also a real book. Not much information on it available.

“X.Y.’s Broken Daisy-Chains I’m assuming “Daisy Chain” is being used as a metaphor along the lines of “broken commutations”

And Chris Allen Wrote both 1001 sex tips books.

An entire list of books that are entirely real books by their respective authors. Quite surprising but probably here for the purpose of character development via intertextuality.

Page 63

Footnote 74: Purely as a thought experiment, I filled in (in pencil, normally I exclusively use pen but I didn’t want to commit in this case) “Mr.” in the first blank and “Mrs.” in the second, then by context tried to fill in “Mr.” and Mrs.” where seemed appropriate from there out. It didn’t make much difference but it did make reading it a bit easier.

Page 64

footnote 75: long list of names has seemingly mostly been tackled for me already but not completed here. I intend to comeback to this at some point. Scope too vast for the moment. More importantly though for anybody looking into these parallels (echos) Nadavidson’s trip through the hallway where each name is another corridor, dead end, or lead tie into another name on the list.

Page 67

Footnote 76: “Alison Adrian Burns” As usual couldn’t find this person but found a jazz artist “Adrian Burns”. (I just assume that all the names who link to relatively obscure musical artists are friends of MDZ or his sister’s band POE. Even if they’re not intentional, hopefully I’m helping these artists by providing links to their sites.)

And we have a two fer one! “Alison Burns” is also a Jazz artist and Canadian at that! (I hope you’re enjoying the surprise enthusiasm, I blame it on the excessive coffee and good jams on 88.1 KDHX)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 50 pages 42-43)

Page 43: ”…I started to taste something extremely bitter, almost metallic.” Reminds me of a quote from Hemingway (possibly from the book “old man and the sea”) about how a man tastes something metallic (copper?) in the back of his mouth. I’m currently unable to find the exact quote.

Page 43: ”…amaurotic…zonules of zinn…” both references to complete blindness (amaurotic meaning complete loss of vision and zonules of zinn being connective fibers in the eyes. (source)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 62 pages 48-49)

Page 48: ”…Samuel O’Reilly @ 1891…” Samuel O’Reilly invented the tattoo machine in 1891 (source)

Page 48: EKG

Page 48: QRS complex

Page 48: infarction

Page 48: ”…before the coming of that great Whale…” could be a reference to his mother (ie Whalestoe letters) explanation/analysis of this part explained more thoroughly here.

Jonny’s Story (footnote 65 page 50-54)

Page 50: ”…getting violently ill…” this guy (Jonny) vomits a lot. This is like…the third time he’s vomit in so many pages.

Page 51: rood: a cross or crucifix

Page 54: “blue streak” I was never sure what this meant other than being a movie but apparently it means “moving fast, continuously” (source)

Page 54: until I was doing this edit and double checking everything, I just assumed “idyll” was a misspelling of “ideal” but it actually refers to a form of poem or art pertaining to everyday activities/rustic subjects. (source)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 67 page 55)

Page 55: “Frosh” I was curious where this abbreviation for freshmen came from. The best I can gather is that Frosh is German for “frog” and I’m guessing it’s a cultural nomenclature (such as chiding a younger kid “squirt”).

Jonny’s Story (footnote 77 page 69-72)

Page 69: Margaretha Geertruida Zelle was a very pretty exotic dancer in the early 20th century. She had a rater colourful life coming from a rather affluent family that went bankrupt to becoming an exotic dancer to eventually being accused of espionage and dying by firing squad.

Page 69: “…my friendly haze…” I’ve never taken notice of this, Jonny and Tom Nadavidson have the same ritual and even call it the same thing (take a drink or 2 and smoke a bit to achieve this “friendly haze”. This is probably where the whole “Jonny is Tom” theory comes from. I personally don’t subscribe to it but I also have yet to read a convincing argument for it.)

Page 70: “…to be sterilized later in the ultrasound or Autoclave.” I know an ultrasound works on vibrations (digital sonar) but I can’t seem to find evidence that it can double as a sterilizer…just for the sake of thoroughness here’s an explanation on Autoclaves.

Page 70: “moither” to talk in a rambling or confused manor. Quite a strange word. Apparently its a British word that hasn’t made it over here very easily. (source)

Page 70: “…the rapid pulse of its bandwidth.” rapid pulse is a reference to purples relatively high frequency (source)

Page 71: ”Letters too.” reference to Whalestoe letters (I’m sure)

Page 71: ”Known. Some. Call. Is. Air. Am?” phonetically equivalent to “Non sum qualis eram” translates to “I am not as I was.” (source)

this reminded me of the pentecostal tradition of “speaking in tongues” (fun fact: the commonly accepted term for this is “Glossolalia” which is a Greek term meaning “to speak in languages”) which in this case is closer to Xenoglossy since he wrote these words rather than spoke them. Which then gives better context to the next lines “Incoherent – yes. Without meaning – I’m afraid not.”

Page 71: ”Another Maldon…” almost certainly refers to the battle of Maldon which was a loss for the English to the Vikings (there’s also an olde English poem about it) (source)

Page 72: ”my face has been the ghost in he way…” there’s been a lot of mention of ghosts and haunting in this chapter. Further thoughts on the subject needed.

Page 72: “splattered with purple…granting contrast and thus defining me…preserving me.” Purple is the colour used to denote Palenfina. If the colour defines him, this could be a point in favour of the entire work being written by her. The purple preserves him from the engulfing blackness. If purple is his mum’s colour then he ‘s being preserved and saved by love which saves the body from complete neglect.


To my readers

I know there aren’t many of you, in fact I think there’s only one of you who checks this blog regularly, but to all of you I greatly appreciate your patience.  I write fast but edit slow.  Bear with me, I’m starting school this coming Monday (not today but Aug 20th).  This being said, I’m buckling down this week and going to try to have chapter 5 and 6 posted before the weekend. (For those interested, I’m beginning my EMT training Monday, so excited! :D)

After the school year starts I’m going to try to keep to a schedule of posting once a week until I’m caught up with my self.  I have analysis written for the introduction through chapter 9. (NOTE: about chapter 9, as you should know [since I did advise you to read the book before following this blog but that’s not quite my concern] chapter 9 is all fucked up.  After many hours of experimentation [and many cups of coffee] I finally came up with a way to organize chapter 9 for analysis but I have yet to actually tackle the analysis part. However it shouldn’t take too long since many of the footnotes and “paths” overlap.) Once I reach chapter 8 I will probably take a hiatus to clean up chapter 9 for posting and after chapter 9 things will  slow down since at which point I will then be writing and posting in real time.


Again, thanks much for the views! (and don’t forget to tell your friends about this site and/or to read House of Leaves)

-S. G. Miller

chapter 4 analysis (page 24 -40 footnotes 32 – 45)

Chapter IV: Navadison

themes for chapter 4: uncanny, paradox, riddle, egnima

page 24

Faith, sir…”

-The context in which this is taken is, from the short storyRip Van Winkle & The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving under the psuedo-name of Diedrich Knickerbocker. DK has just finished telling this story to some mates in a drinking hole and one salt and pepper man goes to question him, “What is the moral of this story? What is the purpose of the telling?” to which DK responds that the story is only to be taken with a grain of salt and on faith. And he goes further to say that, he him self, does not believe in one half of it. Meaning that to even him the story which he has told is a folly and/or a lie.

(FUN FACT: The phrase “take it with a grain/pinch of salt” is an ancient Greek term meaning meaning “take lightly but with a bit of skepticism”. This came from the notion that food is easier to swallow with a pinch of salt. (source) Given it’s origin I may try to get “take it with a spot of hot sauce” to catch on.)

-this Quote being about faith perpetuates the running religious them but ties into the over all theme of the chapter about finding “advantages and pleasures” (also from the context of the legend of sleepy hollow: “That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and pleasures…” Where all sorts of odd and uncanny events happen (the Nadavison’s coming home to find the hallway, Jonny’s growing agoraphobia (for lack of a better word) But of these strange and uncomfortable events (even as ridiculous as they are, just as the story teller explains that the protagonist of his story raced with goblin troopers) positive things came of them: because of the strange hallway, navy found the discrepancy of dimensions which reunited him with his brother which he hasn’t spoken with in years and Jonny through Zapano (which through Zapano’s writings he met Amber), and thus amber is able to begin to work out with him self the traumas he’s held onto from his child hood of witnessing his father die in a trucking accident.

Familial reactions to the “hallway”:

Navadison: “…acting almost amused…”

-Navadison’s reaction to this shows that he is probably the most disturbed by the nature of the situation being that he’s not the type to hide behind humor to avoid dealing with deeper issues, quite the opposite judging from his career’s portfolio, and yet instead of a serious approach as we would expect of him he seems to take it in stride as a very unusual prank (as is their first conclusion later in the chapter)

Karen: “…as if she were about to pray.”

-unconventional response to an unconventional horror

-asking a higher power for help or clarification. This is an interesting reaction out of Karen as one bringing their hands up to their mouth in the face of a horrifying and/or disturbing scene is natural, but the fact that she brought her hands up almost as a prayer rather than just covering her mouth, like it was a practiced reflex, is ironic since given the implications of her past, she has not been the most faithful person in this family (both in respects to adultery and religious belief. However as we will see later Karen seems to be the type who in the face of adversity, turns to superstitious aids such as using Fung Shui and Tarot Cards)

The children: “…just run through it, playing, giggling, completely oblivious to the deeper implications.”

-being children, their concepts and perceptions of the world are relatively free from bias and preconceived notions so naturally they’d just accept the new “hallway” with naive ease


Etymology: Originating from the word “Oblivion” ( ) with it’s original meaning “even out, smooth over,” from ob “over” (see ob-) + root of levis “smooth.”” (source)

-this is a particularly appropriate choice of words, with the modern meaning serving its purpose with the obvious ease but also to original meaning of “oblivious” meaning to smooth over, since the walls of these uncanny annexed hallways are described as “perfectly smooth and almost pure black” (p28)


-the strict definition of this word, and ideas around this word are fairly interesting as follows: ” the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize.” (source) which directly relates back to the theme of riddles and paradoxes of this chapter and the idea explored on page 33 “the adult world, however, produces riddles of a different variety. they do not have answers and are often called enigmas or paradoxes.” and by page 39, uncanny becomes synonyms with paradox: paradox, after all, is two irreconcilable truths.

Page 25

-Talk about a bitch. If you so desire to copy and paste this block of German and find outside translations for piece of mind, have at it. I sought out 3 different translator services and every version amounts to the same thing: one overcomplicated, lost in translation mess. Clarification as a sum by bits in the last translation.

“Daß die Angst als grundbefindlichkeit in solcher Weise erschließt, dafür ist weider die alltägliche Daseinsauslegung und Rede der unvoreingenommenste Beleg. Befindlichkeit, so wurde früher gesagt, macht offenbar >> wie einem ist <<. In der Angst is einem >> unheimlich <<. Darin kommt zunächst die eigentümliche Unbestimmtheit dessen, wobei sich das Dasein in der Angst befindet, zum Ausdruck: das Nichts und Nirgends. Unheimlichkeit meint aber dabei zugleich das Nichtzuhause-sein. bei der ersten phänomenalen Anzeige der Grundverfassung des Daseins und der Klärung des existenzialen Sinnes von In-Sein bestimmt als Wohnen bei…, Vertrautsein mit…Dieser Charakter des In-Seins wurde dann konkreter sichtbar gemach durch die beruhigte Selbstsicherheit, das selbstverständliche >> Zuhause-sein << in die durchschnittliche Alltäglichkeit des Daseins bringt. Die Angst dagegen holt das Dasein aus seinem verfallenden Aufgehen in der >> Welt << zurück. Die alltägliche Vertrautheit bricht in sich Zusammen. Das Dasein ist vereinzelt, das jedoch als In-der-Welt-sein. Das In-Sein kommt in den existenzialen >> Modus << des Un-zuhause. Nichts anderes meint die Rede von der >> Unheimlichkeit <<.”

Bold is author’s (ie S.G. Miller) interpretation.

In anxiety one feels uncanny. (Anxiety is a feeling of fear. Many times this feeling is about fearing “not knowing how” which is what “uncanny” boils down to [“un” not + “canny” know how to {source}]) Here the peculiar indefiniteness (paradoxical phrase: peculiar indefiniteness, almost like saying specifically nothing) of that which Dasein (“Das” the + “ein” one] there for, meaning “The one” or Dasein is not a person which explains why this character is refereed to as “it”, probably more meant to be read as “one self”) finds itself along side in anxiety, comes proximately to expression: The “nothing and nowhere”. (This entire sentence is hard to read as is, here’s my interpretation: Here the specific perception of uncertainty is close to the feeling of anxiety and comes close to the expression: The “nothing and nowhere”. [“the nothing and nowhere” is also paradoxical phrase implying by the article “the” that “nothing and nowhere” are a specific thing and location.) But here “uncanniness” also means ‘not-being-at-home.” [das Nicht-zuhause-sein]. (My interpretation of the “not-being-at-home” concept is basically “not being in a familiar environment” rather than the specific implication of “home” as ones place of residence, (usually being a hause). The only way “home” can be interpreted here and fit contextually is if you’re referring to “home” as in “existence as we know it”.) In our first indication of the phenomenal character of Dasein’s basic state (basic state – “being-in” )and in our clarification of the existential meaning of “being-in” as distinguished from the categorical signification of ‘insideness’, (This is basically reading: We first indicate the distinction between familiarity and physically residing in…) Being-in was defined as “residing along side…”, “Being-familiar with…” This character of Being-in was then brought to view more concretely through the everyday publicness of the “they” (they meaning other people/outside environment) , which brings tranquilized self-assurance—- ‘Being-at-home’, with all its obviousness — into the average everydayness of Dasein. (In this sense then, “Being-in” becomes a familiarity of how one fits into the collective, or “they”, of their everyday life and then brings a “tranquilized self-assurance” of the average identity of oneself). On the other hand, as Dasein falls, anxiety brings it back from absorption in the ‘world’. Every day familiarity collapses. Dasein has been individualized, but individualized as Being-in-the-world. Being-in enters into the existential ‘mode’ of the “not-at-home”. (This reads as the other distinction of basic state or “Being-in”: On the other hand anxiety brings one self out of the collective and makes oneself uncomfortably aware that it has been individualized as a person who physically resides with in the world, but not apart of the world. In this then, being removed from being apart of everything familiar, one enters into a feeling of uncanny, or “not know ing how to” fit into the world or relate to the world.”) Nothing else is meant by our talk about ‘uncanniness’.

-Basically whats being said here is: Uncanniness brings up feelings of anxiety because of the duality of its nature, being both familiar and unfamiliar. So feelings of uncanniness are paradoxical in that one doesn’t have a concrete foundation in which to interpret their feelings on the subject in question because the subject is both familiar and unfamiliar.

Page 28

-“…that which is uncanny…”

exposed and unsettling are good words to describe this recent change since the privacy between the two rooms is now exposed, to an extent, and the house is seemingly unsettled with its layout and seeks to change its self.

Its not surprising that the discovery of this hallway is none the less disturbing to the family but it is interesting that it is described as not being comforting or familiar since this strange change has actually increased the parents proximal closeness to the children.

-”we discover….a plain, white door with a glass knob…”

plain white paired with the glass knob could signify pure clarity, as in clear view between the rooms. Could have a meta meaning as to the merging of the family unit by uniting the family’s bedrooms through this mysterious hallway. It’d be an interesting choice of motivation on the part of the hause.

-“space cannot be more than five feet wide…”

the dimensions given here it has a floor space of 20 square feet

page 29

(first paragraph full) really nice image created noted:

-Hillary, the dog. 1 yo Siberian husky

-Mallory, the cat, Taby

-24” Sony TV

“…the traffic information…”

-uniting the Navadison family with the world out side their mysterious house.

“…star ship enterprise…”

cap to a well balanced scene:

Screen Left Front: Karen and Navy

Screen Right Front: Dog Hillary and Cat Malory on either side of tv

Screen Center: Hallway showing star ship enterprise night light burning like the north star. What I like about the choice of using the Star Ship Enterprise is that in my minds eye i see it in the center of the hall’s far door frame so between door frames we see deep darkness and in the center is this lone Star Ship floating in deep dark space exploring things unimaginable to this family.

– “…from the town’s zoning board to construct an ell.”

in this context an “Ell” is a “type of building extension, 1773, Amer.Eng. so called for resemblance to the shape of the alphabet letter.

-ell is also a “unit of measure of 45 inches,” or the length of a person’s

forearm aka cubit

– “…any idea who could be responsible for ‘this outrage.’”

etymology of “outrage”: “the passing beyond reasonable bounds” in any sense”

Page 30

“…puzzle over an Escher print…”

Relativity by M. C. Escher reminds me of Appendix II A – #001280 p. 570

“A reluctant Eve…”

making Nadavidson to be Adam or even this could make Karen Lilith.

“…Nadavidson continues his quest…”

Now we have a hero emerge on a warpath to slay the strange foe, the missing space

Page 31

Enter Tom Navadison

“…made up the hideaway”

guessing he means the hideaway bed in the office.

Page 32

-”…David Conte…”

David Conte is an american composer, not a scientist, but MZD being a music enthusiasts this is no surprise.

-”…unseen mitigating factor…”

odd word choice: mitigate – to lesson or to be made more mild. So an “unseen mellowing factor”

-”…warped floors…”

according to the Vanishing area paradox solution, this could account for the extra 5/16″ it should also be noted that the colours “red, blue, green, and yellow” are the traditional colours used in this puzzle (which are the 4 primary colour themes in the book and most notably the colours of the 4 keys to the 4 locks on the door in the living room)

Page 33

-Edgar Allen Poe was a professor at UVA in Charlottesvile

-”brackets and pine”

reminds me of building a coffin

Page 34

-I’m not entirely sure if I know how this works. How are the shelves attached to the wall and what wall are they using as a book end?

-”Delenda est Carthago” “Carthage must be Destroyed”

Page 37

-”…a drill sergeant than a tenured rofessor.” (in regard to Billy Reston) a man of arms and reason. A seemingly logical person to solve this riddle, being that riddles boil down to being solved by reason or arms

Page 38

-Fred de Stabenrath in April 1954: “Les jeux sont fait. Nous sommes fucked.” translated “plays are made. we are fucked.”

-”…a Leica.” a german camera making company

Page 40

-”A novel.” Strange that he felt the specific need to specifiy the type of volume chosen, espically drawing emphasis to it by stating it in it’s own sentence.


Page 25 (footnote 32)

Footnote 32: Sein und Zeit by Martin Heidegger is a real book. you can read Heidegger’s original discourse here (p 176 3rd paragraph down. It starts with “In agnst one feels uncanny.” Source) The Nadavidson Record/HoL reminds me of Sein und Zeit in that Zapano set out to write this massive tome huge in scope and just like Sein und Zeit it was never finished with a long list of things to do/write about (like the list of things zapano meant to do on p. 529 – 535) the main thing that troubles me is the “1977” date. Macquarrie and Robinson’s translation was in 1962 and the original was published in 1927. Can’t find a signifant reason why he chose 1977 other than just a minor tweak of details to encourage the ideas of fabrication.

Page 28 (footnote 34)

Footnote 34: for those who are cirious, here’s the poem “Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes.” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Page 29 (footnote 35)

footnote 35: appendix II-A #046665 page 571: the core of the number is 666

Page 32 (footnote 37)

Footnote 37: Maclean’s is a Canadian news magazine

”the vanishing area paradox” by Martin Gardner” this is a math puzzle that shows 4 geometrical shapes arranged in one way forming a right triangle and in the second picture they’ve been re-arranged and there’s an extra space/missing space. I won’t spoil the solution but it has to do with warped dimensions.

There’s an interesting but very complex theory on the codes in this book floating around the house of leaves forums: cyphers and codes (bacon’s codes article by martin gardner). As this sounds very intersting and extremely complicated/time consuming, I’m going to leave this to others to fiddle with while I take the Occam’s razor thin path.

However for anyone who has the time and desire to follow this theory and who isn’t a human computer, here’s a tool to help translate text into Bacon’s Cypher/code: source

Page 34 (footnote 38 – 40)

Footnote 38: Amon is a demon of sorts. Strange but mostly irrelivant.

Sphinx Press in Chicago isn’t a real company but this does remind me of the story of the “Sphinx Riddle

Footnote 40: “When in doubt…” I can’t find War and Peac on google books and I don’t have a copy to find the context.

Page 37 (footnotes 42 -43)

footnote 42: It should be noted that the general translation is “then in fact all of Ilium seemed to me to sink into flames.” Ilium is the ancient Latin name for Troy. (source)

The context of this phrase is that Troy has fallen “just as when foresters on the mountain heights compete to uproot an ancient ash tree” (Aeneid II 626-7) and our narrator finds that his father has chosen to remain in his house as it falls to the flames and the Greeks. And it is here that he makes a stand against man and god after all the suffering he’s been forced to witness. Ultimately Aeneas flees Troy with his family for the sancturay of Carthage. At the time that Aeneid was written Carthage was just being founded and had yet to become Rome’s arch-rival.

Carthage must be destroyed.”  this phrase comes from the ancient roman Punic wars where Rome and Carthage were rivals. The idea is that this was a rallying cry used in speeches by emperors to the troops and the people to emphasise that if unless Carthage is destroyed it will always pose a threat to Rome. Carthage is also mentioned in Virgil’s Aeneid as the city in which Aeneas and his family is able to take solace in after the burning of Troy. (source)

There are many mentions of the burning of the book “House of Leaves” and the house it self through out the book by Nadavidson and Jonny.

Footnote 43: Other than both The Jungle Book reference and Reston’s story of how he lost his mobility taking place in India, I don’t see much corrilation.  Here’s the plot summary for those who are interested. (source)

Page 38 (footnote 44)

The footnote reads: “Fred de Stabenrath purportedly exclaimed this right before he was ki (part missing)

There’s a good possibility the sentence may have continued “-lled in Vietnam.” By early 1954, French efforts to defeat Ho Chi Minh’s forces in North Vietnam had soured. In mid-March, the French army found itself encircled by Vietminh forces at Dienbienphu. France pushed the United States to intervene, but Eisenhower eventually decided not to and the French army surrendered in early May. Despite not coming to France’s aid, Eisenhower worried that the French defeat would ultimately result in a communist triumph in Indochina–the term Indochina refers to the intermingling of Indian and Chinese influences in what is now known as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. (source)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 33 page 25 – 28)

Page 27: “…a camera lucida…” a tool used in tattoo parlors to recreate images outlines for tattooing. 

Jonny’s Story cont. (footnote 36 page 31)

Page 31: Note that Jonny mis-quotes and writes “the mourning paper” instead of “the morning paper.”

…the bowl of betel nuts…” Betel is a plant in which the nut and/or leave is chewed. It can induce a mild euphoria and is used as a stimulant. Mostly grows in SE Asia. source

…the battered shotgun bearing the initials RLB…” My best guess at RLB is the French phrase “Rencontres Ludiques de Bretagne” (since Zapano makes many French references and supposedly has an accent from a romantic language) meaning “playful Encounters of Brittany” Brittany being a providence in France.

Jonny’s Story cont. (footnote 41 page 34 – 37)

Page 35: “decapacitating seizure, I mean in-?” I can’t riddle out what is ment here if anything. What he meant was incapacitating, meaning to take out of power/action and the prefix “de-” just means “down or out” and the prefix “in-” means “into or upon”

Page 35: epiphany – etymo: “advent or manifestation of Christ” (source)

Page 36: ”…bistre & sage…” this struck me as odd. With some searching I found bistre to be a colour derived from the soot of the beechtree. Sage being a member of the salvia family, coupled with the previous mentions of soaring and the like made me wonder why mention a colour and a herb? The best conclusion I’ve come to is that the beechtree chips are used to make various beers, so I can best guess that he ment that he has fond memories of his father drinking beer and smoking salvia. Beechtree wood also makes excellent firewood and with the mention of “burning off distant plateaus of bistre & sage” he could have ment camp fires made from beechtree wood? (source)

Page 36: “…we died and condoms littered the floor…” Fun Fact – “La petite mort” or “little death” is a idiom for orgasm in French language/culture. source


Analysis of Chapter 3 (page 19 – 23 footnotes 24 – 31)

Chapter III: Outpost (p. 19 – 23 footnotes 24 – 31)

page 19

Dorothea Lange

-famous great depression photographer (most well known for “Migrant Mother“)

-two traumatic early life events

-father abandoned her at age 12

-similar to both Jonny and Navy’s father’s abandoning/not being around/dying at early ages

-on “migrant mother”

-originally thumb and forefinger of Lange were in picture but in final cut only finger was left in (parallel to 5 1/2 minute hallway with the theme of all you see of the photographer is the hand [or parts there of])

“It is no accident that the photographer becomes a photographer any more than the lion tamer becomes a lion tamer.” — Dorothea Lange

-and the choice of this quote seems particularly fitting for the reason of paralleling photographers to lion tamers. Photographers have a monumental task in that they have to capture the nature of a situation, the emotions between the subjects, and all of this has to be evaluated and captured in split seconds, a photographer has a very delicate job in which he needs full mastery and understanding of the subject he/she is working with, just as the lion tamer must understand and have control over the beast he works with. Both jobs take a particular type of personality.

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'” Exodus 3.11

-this chapter is all about setting up our characters and showing their motivations. Its reminiscent of the hero’s journey the seemingly average person being called on by some divine/greater force to do something bigger than one’s self. When it comes to Navy or Jonny or any of our other appointed individuals were shown that they weren’t necessarily hand selected for this job but that in Navy’s case it was just a matter of time and in Jonny’s case it was just the timing. This also helps tie the story’s characters into classic mythologies format of setting up the stage and characters before the beginging of the story.

“why navadison?…”

-this sets the stage for Navadison having empathy for Dante when he was chosen to go through this journey.

“…the great Florentine…”


“homer’s rival…”

-this is odd syntax because in what I’ve read Virgil was more of a rival to homer than vice versa. example as in the comedy when Virgil introduces Dante to the occupants of the Citadel of Human Reason on the first circle of hell (Limbo), they are first greeted by Homer holding a sword indicating his supreme status and the rest of the poets who follow as lower (Canto IV lines 86-88). Even when the rest of the great poets greet Virgil they call him the prince of poets, rather than king. (Canto IV lines 80-81) Virgil even respects Homer to the extent that he models the two parts of his epic poem Aeneid after Homer’s most note worthy works, the Odyssey and the Iliad (Source)

Page 21

Not even an amaurotic guide.” This is kind of funny since Zapano is the author of The Navadison record and an author could be argued to be considered a guide to the characters in the story.

-“amaurotic” adj pertaining to blindness caused by amaurosis

-“amaurosis” noun partial or total loss of sight without pathology of the eye; caused by disease of optic nerve or retina or brain

is an interesting adjective to describe Virgil. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Virgil is serving as Dante’s guide through the inferno and the purgatorio but can not lead him further for “human reason (Virgil) can only lead the soul to the gate of the divine. Divine love (Beatrice) is the only guide who can lead him in to and through the paradiso. So looking at the definition of amautotic, we’re being told that Virgil, whom represents human reason, is blind (not literally) to the “light of divine love” or “blinded by the light of the divine”.

-the Greek definition pertains to a “darkening”, ” dark” or “obscure” which lead me to a Latin term used by Milton in paradise lost (paradise lost being referenced once already in Chapter I) : gutta serena, meaning Calm; placid; undisturbed; unruffled; (all of which can be used to describe the mysterious hallway navy finds him self in in Exploration #4)

-“Alicia Rosenbaum”

-aka Ayn Rand, a Nod to the writer, philosopher and possibly a reference to her being in the movie business in the late 1920’s through the 1930’s

-also a nod to Ayn Rands philosophy of “objectivism” which has the following to say about art: the role of art in human life is to transform man’s widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally. This captures the nature of Navy’s project in that he and his wife are so far from understanding what it mean’s to be a normal family that if Nadavidson can capture the processes of a normal family then maybe they can come to understand it because they have something tangible.

-Even more directly related to the text, Objectivism states that reality exists independently of consciousness, which further supports the ideas that the house’s physical incarnations are not caused by Navidaison’s psychological pain becaue to do so reality and consciousness would have to be linked (in order to have a direct physical manifestation), so Alicia Rosenbaum’s revealing of the facts that approximately 9 people have lived in the hause ever year, she (aka ayn rand) uses inductive logic to come to the conclusion that if all these people have suffered similar trauma that the house’s physical anomalies  cannot exist solely because of conscious influence.

-“slept and suffered…would have to be the collective product of every inhabitant’s agonies”

-purely speculation: some of the main fears that run universal in human culture are as follows: darkness, hopelessness, and absolute isolation. Lets consider for a moment that the house is a being with a quasi-consciousness and it adsorbs ideas (fears in this case) from it’s inhabitants. Since none of the previous families experiences are documented, we are free to speculate that their experiences have differed. So maybe the first family was run out of the house because it was making moaning noises, and the next was run out of the house because it was making the place inexplicably chilly, and the next it was altering its physical dimensions forcing the family to question their perception of reality ect until it, over 270 years, it has collectively found the fears of humanity to represent those of darkness, hopelessness and absolute isolation to be the most prominent themes of its dreams manifesting in the hallways and windowless rooms, and stairs.


-This could be a reference to Baulwolf in that the laughter from the inhabitants in the mead hall is disturbed by this monster/beast called a grendle and Baulwolf confronts the monster at the door.

Page 22

-“Navadison’s troubles may not have…”

-the themes of abandonment, living in an emotionally “cold” home, and a life that consisted in moving around from place to place may help explain the shape of terrors the house chose to take on

-“Navidson’s father died…”

-another parallel to Jonny’s life where his father died (they imply navy’s dad died when he was a kid since the section starts out talking about his childhood) and his mother leaves them to prusue a career as an actress (links back to Jonny’s description of his mother as “crazy Shakespearean mother”)

Page 23

-“…put down roots…”

-again we see the use of this word “roots”

-“…Navadison wanted to use images to create and outpost…”

-More so that just documenting his families process of settling into a new home he wants to protect his children and him self from the inevatable: all things come to an end. He’s trying to prevent his career from coming to an end by continuing to film, he’s trying to keep Karen’s beauty from fading by documenting her and her behavior, and he’s trying to keep his family together by capturing those fleeting moments of candid unity on tape.


-”Pre-Adamite hypothesis or Preadamism is the religious belief that humans existed before Adam, the first human being named in the Bible. This belief has a long history, probably having its origins in early pagan responses to Abrahamic claims regarding the origins of the human race. ” 

Footnotes (Page 19-21 Jonny’s Story)


-“…club and gatekeeper at every…”

-interesting word choice, in stead of saying “door man” or “bouncer”. this is also interesting since the quote from the comedy comes from the canto that leads up to the gate of hell

-“…mother’s milk…mother’s tongue…”

-I’m not sure why he feels the need to correct him self since it is implied that LA has been good to Lude (mother’s milk) but also as he further goes on to illustrate he knows the “language” of LA (mother’s tongue)

-“Beautiful women are always drawn to men they think will keep them beautiful.”

-this coupled with the mention of photographers in the previous sentence may go to explain one reason why Karen (described as an exceptionally beautiful woman) would stay with Navy, despite his frequent and extended absences

-“Probably not even real.”

-loss of hope, keeping with the Dante theme, the inhabitants of limbo are not tormented but they’re only true punishment is to have no hope for salvation. “…with neither joy nor sorrorw…” (canto II line 84)

-“…whorehouse in rome.”

-Dante’s inspiration for his divine comedy was when he got banished from his home in Florance and then walked to Rome.

-“…it’t so hard to argue…”

-I don’t remember how he got the scars but he tells that this explination about the Japanese Martial arts Cult (“made up entirely of Koreans” makes this seem like an obvious lie anyway) and so he appologizes (the second time) almost seems like he feels guilty about lying to people about how he got the scars, disrespecting the event that gave him the markings in the first place

-“…a relief not to hear…”

-story of the scar is a painful/distrubing one (presumably)

-“my stories…”

-its interesting how he transitions from the literal reaction of people looking away from the scars (as not to be rude or what not), to the figurative “looking away” as in with the story because he diverts the attention of the truth away with a made up story.

-“we all create stories…”

-reinforces the ideas that he’s uncomfortable with dealing with the unresolved issues of the scars, just as navy and karen “look away” from their issues rather than confront them

-“It’s march now.”

-this places Jonny as originally finding the trunk in January. Beginning of a new year.


-I can’t find in any context how this relates to a trunk or even a generic word such as “thinger” (source)

-“Uticia, NY

-Uticia is a neighbor city with Rome, NY which could be the “whorehouse in Rome” that jonny refers to.

-“C. M. Clapp Company”

-I’m unable to find any evidence that the Clapp company makes tunks (they make rubber) and it would appear they no longer exist as a company or under that name (

-“…passing unmourned…”

-this reminds me of how many photographers get their start in that they witness/survive a traumatic event as children and then feel the need for preservation so they choose to do so through photography. Jonny chooses to do so through collecting.

-“‘You like that crap because it reminds you of you.'”

-when you look at Jonny’s life (and his word choice for the “crap he likes”) you find that he in his life has been “abonded, misplaced, forgotten ect” so he can take sympathy with these things because he hopes that someone will remember him for what he leaves be hind for fear of “passing unmourned” or “vanishing like shadows at noon”

footnotes (page 21)


-Adlai Stevenson (found from the fictional Adlai Publishing) used to keep a little black book/journal which he used to keep jokes and funny observations and quips. This journal would later be passed down 3 generations and would eventually be published in 2008 as “The Black Book”

Footnotes (page 22)


-Michele Nadine Goetz (a friend of karen’s) interesting to note about the name: “Götz” is a diminutive form, or pet name, of God or Gottfried vgl. Gotfrid. The word comes from 15th Century Middle High German as a diminutive form of what translates into English as a lesser god or Idol.



Introduction Analysis

Page xi

“…after a little difficulty with a landlord who woke up one morning convinced he was Charles de Gaulle…” – Probably just a simple reference to how difficult de Gaulle was to deal with.  Also one of many WWII homages.

“…I’d already told him how in my humble estimation he did not at all resemble an airport…” Charles de Gaulle Airport  not surprisingly the de Gaulle reference probably went over Johnny’s head which he immediately thought of the more modern reference being the airport.

“…Chuckie de Gaulle burnt the place to the ground…told the police a 757 had crashed into it.” this is an excellent example of Johnny’s humor. He has this dark style. It’s similar to Zapano’s humor in the way Johnny later describes as morbid jokes told between soldiers holed up in trenches to pass the time.

Page xii

nom de plume…nom de guerre” nom de plume is french for pen name. Nom de guerre is french for name of war. This is the first time we start to see a theme of war and conflict in the language of this book.

Page xiv

“Ever see yourself doing something…” This sentence sets the entire president for the book. Everything that every character has to go through boils down to this feeling of something dark looming in ones past that haunts them.

Page xv

“…they’re part of the history…” history plays a large theme in this book.

“…the cats had begun to disappear.” cats, particularly big cats (such like lions, tigers, panthers ect) play a role in the story but I’m not entirely sure what their significance is as a theme.

“…a patina upon progressive patina of odor…” here is an example of the very creative use of words MZD uses, particularly with Jonny’s entries. Patina being green layers created on bronze through age and/or use.

Page xvi

Deracinated – uprooted, fitting the theme of leaves, trunks, roots, branches and basically trees also play a theme in the book.

Page xviii

rood – a cross or crucifix. Christianity plays a theme in here too.

Page xx

Maginot line – another reference to WWII

Page xxi

Joel-Peter Witkin – MZD makes many references to famous photographers, most of which fit the same themes as Will Navidson usually takes such as war, famine, death.

Page xxii

“out of the blue…” Johnny says this more than any other turn of phrase. Blue is one of 4 colours repeatedly mentioned: blue, green, yellow and red.

“Zampano had seven names he would occasionally mention…” prepare for a lot of references to mythology and religion, this being the first about the seven mythical Pleiads Sisters.