Only Revolutions-On Constraints

Although the book, Only Revolutions is meant to be creative and in many ways free from the constraints that limit other books, its complex structure in turn limits its content in numerous other ways. Some of these structural constraints are extremely noticeable.

Firstly, each page has the same number of lines to it. Including both the roles of Sam and Hailey, there are 36 lines on each page. Although the number of lines per character changes with each page, if you begin with Sam he has more lines than Hailey and vise versa, this idea of a total 36 lines is still very restricting to the author. He must develop his prose for 354 pages with each page only containing 36 lines.

A second constraint regarding how Danielewski limits his writing style is in the idea of having the book meet in the middle on page 181. Here Hailey and Sam intersect at an exact midpoint. The text for each character functions the same. Danielewski is forced to arrange the prose from each character previously in the book so that this point on page 181, where the texts are exactly the same can occur.

A third constraint in Only Revolutions would be the idea of the two columns of writing. As we discussed in class the first day, two columns often draws the reader’s eye to skip back and forth between sections. However since the main section is bigger and appears as the main text, many readers might skim over the smaller text buried within the binding. Regardless, the author has subjected himself to making one text appear more important to the reader than the other possibly passing on the notion to the reader that the first column of writing is least important.


-Kezia Wong


~ by ksw15 on February 17, 2011.

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