Chapter 9 Path 4

Chapter 9 The Labyrinth

Path 4:

Start: P. 107 : skip footnote X : stop p 111 footnote 129

Footnote 129 leads to either a dead end (path 1) or a loop (path 2)

End path four: loops to path 1 or path 2

The actual non-footnote narrative starts on page 111. It seems to be in the middle of an idea but that’s to be expected with this chapter, there’s no easy entry points (nor any easy exit points for that matter). The rest of this path has been explored in paths 1 and 2, unfortunately the bit of narrative on page 111 doesn’t seem to add much additional depth to those paths or them to this path.


Chapter 9 path 3

Chapter 9 The Labyrinth

Path 3:

Start: P. 107 : Stop p 107 footnote X

p 107 footnote X : skip footnote 135 : stop p 107 footnote 120

p 107 footnote 120 : stop p 109

End path three: Dead End (at incredibly hot litica)

This path mostly centers in on another part of Johnny’s story, starting with footnote 120. Most notable is the fact that Johnny is being forced to face his deepest wounds, even if in a psychotic-hallucination, of his father’s fatal trucking accident.

Part of MZD’s brilliance is his way of playing with words and images. Line 35 of footnote 120 “…flying through the air, no longer ruled by that happy dyad of gravity…” Dyads in mythology are nymphs particularly of trees or tree spirits (of course Ash trees have a specific dyad and name). These particular spirits, being linked to trees are well rooted to their tree (ie their home/house). So refering to gravity as a dyad and then later referring to a tree falling on Johnny is particularly clever.

The rest of this path ties into other parts of this chapter, such as “…a few notes she’d made relating to the etymology of ‘labor’” (page 108 lines 34-5) which appears on page 114 lines 29-31 and the visual joke I outlined in the chapter 8 series.


Chapter 9 path 2

Chapter 9 The Labyrinth

Path 2:

-P. 107 footnote X : stop p. 107 footnote 135

-P. 114 footnote 135 : stop p 114 footnote 129

-p 111 footnote 129 : stop p. 112 footnote 137

-p. 114 footnote 137 : stop p 114 footnote 134

-p 114 footnote 134 : stop p 114 footnote X

footnote X loops to p 107

End path two: Loop

This path builds on Derrida‘s theme of deconstruction-ism with the fork in the footnote 129 (pages 111-2), where the path diverges on line 7 with footnote 137 (page 114). The way I read it was (and I did “cheat” and read the English translation) I read up to the word “le jeu”/ “the play” and stopped there (letting the footnote play as a period). Stopping the passage here already changes the tone of the passage from being about the concept of structure to focusing more specifically on Derrida’s concept of “free play”.

Taken in context, TNR up to this point has been all about the Navidison family and the other people involved in trying to solve the caper of the mysterious 1/4” and now with this chapter (this event) the entire focus of the book has changed. Now no longer is the book centralized around the family but its focus splits off into several micro centers: now it’s about the exploration, its about the morphing of the house, it’s about the “monster”, it’s about the character’s histories, and it’s about how the house and the events that happen in the house change and morph the people involved.

Now we jump over to footnote 137 page 114 and, I was at first anyway, we say “whaa…?” For those who are rather slow, or who catch them selves wearing blinders (both apply to the author at times), this footnote refers more directly to the use of the word “labi” on this same page line 27 however we’re not on that path yet and so I’m going to examine it from this perspective for now.

At first, before I remembered “labi” appears on this page, I was scrambling to find a way that labi could fit into the passage on 112. First the literal approach: I thought that since all of these things were written by Zampano by hand (keep in mind this guy claims to be blind) if someone was transcribing his notes they may have seen his scrawling of this French passage and mistaken it for the word “labi” (wouldnt be too hard, take the “l”, and “e” can easily be mistaken for an “a” and slur “je” and you could get a “b” and if the “u” was smooshed or if the word was written in partial or full cursive, then it’d be very easy to make a “u” into an “i”).

After the literal approach I realized that it was on the page and simultaneously realized there are bigger points to focus on. So I went back and begun re-reading the passage on page 112 with the word labi (definition: to slip, slide, glide, fall) in all of it’s definitions which then begins to imply and/or emphasize the nature of “the event” or “the play” in that this chapter marks the beginning of the event when the characters begin to fall from their places of composure. Both Navy and Karen revert to a younger more familiar state where Karen seeks the shelter of family and Navidson sees an opportunity to be a hero and even better the hero he wishes he could have been for Delia; Holloway, being a man who is presented as a most capable of adventures (see page 80), finds that being forced to face his short comings too daunting (very “Void-ian”); Jed and Wax both also very competent adventurers find them selves lost (a feeling most unusual to Jed, with his “uncanny sense of direction” (page 81 line 19), abandoned and betrayed by their leader. It’s interestingly appropriate that Wax is the only one to survive (of the 3) and comes away with the remarkably little lasting damage in that of the 3 who led the exploration he was the only one who was most at peace with the danger and consequences of his life choices. Holloway approached everything as a landscape to be explored and conquered, Jed never doubted his sense of direction and it can be presuemed had no imagination for being lost however to quote Wax “a rocky face is always better than you and if you make it down alive you’re grateful you had a good trip.” (page 81, lines 42-3). To me this implies that Wax, even if its not mentioned directly, has had some serious misadventures which forced him to stare his shortcomings in the face and gave him a humbleness only achieved from such events.

Getting back to the original footnote (the rest of it anyway) the comment about labi being etymologically related to “sleep” has little relevance to the passage on page 112 but more directly relates to the reference of “labi” in the text same page line 27.

Footnote 134 is in reference to a real book refereed to it’s proper author (GASP! [I can only imagine what someone who wasn’t familiar with HoL would think reading this sentence.]) Best I can find is a review here (which as far as scholarly reviews go, is really harsh). This particular quote strikes a bit close to home though:

Remarks such as these go directly to the heart of the book here under review. Rooted in a specific text, Chaucer’s House of Fame, it identifies a salient theme so far inadequately explored, and the theme itself, not the text on the table, becomes the obsession of the author.”

And while we’re on the theme of staring into the void,

…as it is, it lurks at the heart of a labyrinth that too few will penetrate.”

As I figure is the ultimate fate of this project.