Three constraints, fully explained to the best of my ability

As I read the first half of “Only Revolutions,” I, too, noticed the constraints pointed out by my classmates below. Though I understand that we are not allowed to list a constraint already posted, I am going to expand on one that I believe was hastily put up as a way to reserve an easier constraint. One student says that Sam and Hailey’s sections start with “S” and “H,” respectively. The student does not include how this pattern progresses throughout the remainder of each character’s section. While reading “Only Revolutions” I found myself so caught up in the book that sometimes I accidentally went over the eight-page boundary of each section. But, by my third revolution, I began catching myself on pages 32, 40, 48, etc. This is becasue Sam and Hailey’s sections don’t just start with “S” and “H.” Author Mark Danielweski continues to enlarge the first letter of each 8th page — Sam’s section spells out “SAM AND HAILEY” while Hailey’s section spells out “HAILEY AND SAM” over and over.

This constraint slightly defies a different rule. When the author wants to connect a pair of words, he uses an ampersand instead of writing out the word “and.” For example: Tristan & Isolde, Romeo & Juliet, sticks & stones, climbing & leaping, poppers & frags. The use of an ampersand to connect two words separates them from words in a list or series which instead are connected by “and.” I believe the author trying to reinforce the idea of pairs, which Hailey & Sam certainly are.

Lastly (at least for now), the author writes in all capital letters when a number is written out within a phrase. For example, on Hailey pg 18: “THESE EIGHT SCREAMERS,” “THESES TEN SORORITY GIRLS,” “THESE TWENTYFOUR MARRIED,” “THESE FORTYFIVE BATTERED WIVES.” The same occurs on Sam page 18: “THESE EIGHT BUCKAROOS,” “THESE TEN WADDIES,” “THESE TWENTYFOUR EXODUSTERS,” “THESE FORTYFIVE SOD BUSTERS.” This is not just a one page occurrence. On page 12, 13, and 17 of both sections, there are also all-capital phrases including numbers. I am not quite sure what the significance is behind capitalizing these phrases. I hope to learn more about it as I continue reading into the second half.

— Jen Hirsch

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~ by survivingshanghai on February 18, 2011.

2 Responses to “Three constraints, fully explained to the best of my ability”

  1. Although i caught the last 2 constraints i didnt even notice the first one you mentioned. I like how you provided page numbers to the instances of said constraint. I also like how you not only provided an example, but tried to explain the reason for it. Overall i dont see any problems with this post.

  2. Your first constraint is one that I didn’t notice until I was almost half way done with the novel. After reading enough 8 page sections, I realized that the First letter always happened to be capitalized. Pointing out what these letters spelled was very interesting to me. Although Adam didn’t say much about this idea, it would probably force the author to think very strongly about his word choice. This is something that would put a constraint on the author. Although your second constraint is true and was something that I didn’t notice, I do not believe it to be an actual constraint. The author would not be constrained anyway by the change from “and” to &. I believe that your last constraint is a true constraint but am not too sure about why it is a constraint. This is definitely something you should focus on as you finish the novel

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