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.



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