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

oblivious”

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)

“uncanny”

-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.

Footnotes

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

 

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