Restrictions in Only Revolutions

This has been edited.

The first constraint is that it’s in a left bound book. The decision to print this in a traditional book format is interesting. This can hardly be called a novel, in my opinion. I can’t quite understand why the author produced this in this format, as opposed to an electronic one. The only answer I can come up is to more widely distribute the work.

Another is that every letter O in the book is printed in a color. Green for Sam and Orange for Hailey. I don’t know if it’s possible to discern what the author’s intention is for this, other than to color code the “voices” of Sam and Hailey. (Later I learned that flipping through the book makes a pattern appear. I don’t think there is any literary significance to this.)

The third is that all of the plant types in Sam’s half are in bold. The animal types in Hailey’s half are in bold as well. Perhaps animals are important to Hailey; plants are important to Sam.

-Clayton Mathis

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~ by Clayton Mathis on February 17, 2011.

2 Responses to “Restrictions in Only Revolutions”

  1. For the first constraint, you could have gone into more detail as to how writing in a left-bound format influenced the way Danielewski wrote, particularly in reference to the revolutions, or the fact that the reader can, if he or she pleases, read the last few lines of the book on the first page. I think this is what you were referencing with your comment about it being better suited for an electronic format (in e-literature, perhaps peeking at the ending wouldn’t have been an option.)

    For the colors, you could expand on why Danielewski chose green and orange (although it’s arguable whether it’s possible to determine an author’s intent with something like this.) Or maybe you could find a bigger pattern with the o’s and 0’s.

    For the plants/animals, maybe question why and how the author uses these proper names quite profusely in the book. What is their greater significance, other than that Hailey and Sam may like them? How do they balance/reflect each other?

    And I know it’s hard to keep our biases out of these (I struggle with that too), but it could help you to look at it with a more open mind.

    You obviously didn’t post any that other people posted, because you were the first. Kudos on that!

  2. I think the above comment very accurately addresses some the shortcomings of the original post by Clayton. Originally, it was stated that Only Revolutions might be better suited for electronic format – the comment provides an explanation for why that might actually hinder what the author was intending. The fact that this is an left-bound format does carry some relevance as to the intent and manifestation of “revolutions,” since an e-format might not handle that as poignantly.

    I think Kayla was looking a little too intently for some deeper significance to the colors. That is, there might very well be some method to this color choice, but it is extremely difficult to derive. Perhaps brown represents the earth pure and green represents its burgeoning life, with connections to character personality, but that is speculation. Then again, perhaps this color choice was intended to invite speculation. Who knows!

    The comment above was written in a very straightforward manner, critiquing Clayton’s critique without being overly harsh. All insights offered were beneficial to create a fuller understanding of the piece and the possible reasons behind the author’s choices. It’s important that she addressed the obvious bias in Clayton’s post (despite how many of us may agree with him), since this makes his post somewhat aggressive sounding.

    Good work, everyone! *high five*

    -Victoria Lang

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