In HoL, Johnny’s mother’s name is Pelafina H. Lievre, and if you switch around her last name as an anagram, it comes out “livere” which is latin for bruised with, and also anagramed with german can be “vieler” which means many. Her full name can come out as “Half-alive piner”.
Interesting things, but I find myself wondering, with all this contemplating and obsession I have over this one piece of literature, where will it all lead me in the end? Will I find a deeper meaning? Or will I just find more anagrams that happen to make names.
story of my life dude. i was up ‘til five am the last two fridays just reading and going over theory after theory of it. i’ve also been going though all the old things in the house of leaves forum. i simultaneously know more and less about this book every day.
which unreliable narrator/story are you writing about? zampano (a tale of light and seeing written by a blind man) johnny (a tale of insanity written by the son of a lunatic) or p. (a tale of love written by the clinically insane)?
All THREE. Though I may whittle it down to the former two and then throw in some filler about the House of Leaves itself being an unreliable narrator in its own distorted way via the characters who enter it. Well, I would write something if I had access to a computer that doesn’t dislike me looking for sources on the subject. Sigh!
I think the story that would be strongest is the navidson record (so, zampano’s). The whole entirety of it is about images and how they frequently fail us as a means of showing this house. as seen in these quotes.
“Well that, of course, was Zampano’s greatest ironic gesture; love of love written by the broken hearted; love of life written by the dead: all this language of light, film, and photography, and he hadn’t seen a thing since the mid-fiftes. He was blind as a bat.” page xxi
(that one could even be used to show how there are three stories and three narrators writing about things they… aren’t. i don’t know how to phrase it any other way).
But there is another possibility: Navidson refuses to abandon the more perspicacious portion of his auidence. By relying on Reston as the sole narrative voice, he subtly draws attention once again to the question of inadequacies in representation, no matter the medium, no matter how flawless. Here in particular, he mockingly emphasises the fallen nature of any history by purposefully concocting an absurd number of generations. Consider: 1. Tom’s broken hands ⎯⎯⎯→ 2. Navidson’s perception of Tom’s hurt ⎯⎯⎯→ 3. Navidson’s descrption of Tom’s hurt to Reston ⎯⎯⎯→ 4. Reston’s re-telling of Navidsons descrption based on Navidson’s recollection and perception of Tom’s actual hurt. A pointed reminder that representation does not replace. It only offers distance and in rare cases perspective. pg 346, footnote 308.
Plus, there’s a passage in brail (pg 423 in the full color edition) that’s all about how nothing can be felt on the walls, another irony because brail is read by the blind by feeling. if a blind person was in the house, presumably, they wouldn’t be bothered by the absolute darkness that is the place because their life is absolute darkness (depending upon their degree of vision loss of course). Zampano just goes one further, removing all texture from the inside of the house, creating a complete void for all.
there’s also one passage i can’t seem to find right now, so i can’t give you a page number, but i can quote it from memory. It’s in TNR and Navy’s talking about photographing the house and he says ”funny how incompetent images can be.”
also on page 98 i would check out footnote 113
The fact that Navidson can photograph even the dirtiest blue mugs in a way that reminds us of pilgrims on a quest proves he is the necessary narrator without whom there would be no film; no understanding of the house.
i hope these quotes help you with your research paper. :)
“How can you ever understand the awful weight of living, so ridiculously riddled with so many lies of tranquility and bliss, at best half-covering but never actually easing the crushing weight of it all, merely guaranteeing a lifetime of the same, year after year after year after year after year after year, and all for what?”—629 (via fuckyeahhouseofleaves)
“Drugs are useless. So are crosses, holy water or 9mm guns. Sorry. About the only way I know is to find the house but since the house never existed to begin with, well, you see how that works … Still if somehow, some way you do find the house, or figure out how to make these nightmares stop, please tell me.
I’m so tired I’m just dying to sleep.”—house of leaves introduction; circa 1997.