Coming Full Circle – Diana Huang

The first constraint is that when Sam & Hailey use the word us, they capitalize both letters (US). The history on the sidelines of the main story refers to U.S. history often, also referring to the United States as US. This connection could be related to the subtitle on both copyright pages (“The Democracy of Two”), saying that Sam & Hailey are their own democracy like the United States. This also makes sense in the context of the title “Only Revolutions,” where revolutions refers both to the need to revolve the book as you read and the political revolutions described in the historical sidelines. I’d like to think that this means Sam & Hailey’s story somehow reflects the development of the United States, but I haven’t been able to make any clear political connections yet.

The second constraint is that each half of the story on every page is precisely 90 words long, so excluding the history sidelines, each page has 180 words. Taking two pages into account, Sam has 180 words and Hailey has 180 words, together giving 360 words. Using words in a story as a analogy to degrees in a circle, Sam and Hailey are each half of a circle together making a full circle.

The third constraint is that the size of the main text changes as you progress through the book. Starting on Sam’s side, Sam’s text starts out large and gets smaller throughout, while Hailey’s upside-down text starts out small and gets larger throughout. In the center of the book (pages 180/181) the text of both stories is the same size. The convergence of font size reflects the convergence of dates in the historical sidelines. The dynamic font size also makes the book come visually alive as you read through it.

-Diana Huang

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~ by Diana Huang on February 19, 2011.

3 Responses to “Coming Full Circle – Diana Huang”

  1. You were the seventh poster, and your three constraints were not mentioned by the posters before you. The constraints you noticed were particular to Only Revolutions. In most works, “US” would not be a world singled out for attention, it is only in the context of the pair of characters that “US” becomes important and can comment on a relationship in the way you noted about democracy. The number of words is also a true constraint – the number works in line with the repetition of the image of a circle and its association with revolution. The change in text size being tied into the convergence of dates is also specific to Only Revolutions, which places there separate parts of the text side-by-side. There might be more to say about convergence in terms of the main story, rather than only with regard to the accompanying history. You mentioned that the changing size effects the book visually, but it could also be examined in terms of whether the change in text size matches any change in the story.

  2. Your comment was thorough and clear, and well written. I especially like and agree with what you had to say about Diana’s third constraint. It’s always helpful to address things that the writer could elaborate on if they go back and edit the original post. Maybe you could suggest a way in which Diana could examine the font size in terms of changes in history. Is there an example of this that you noticed?

    I think that there’s a lot to say about all three constraints mentioned, especially the first one. I realize it’s hard to speculate the relationship with the word US to U.S. history and the history of two characters, but I would definitely suggest coming back to this constraint when you finish reading the book, as I’m sure it will become more clear.

    In my opinion, if I were the writer of the post (Diana), this comment would be very helpful. You clearly answered the question of whether or not she picked 3 original constraints not previously used, stated whether they were constraints, and suggested things that she might want to think more about regarding them. It was apparent that you read through and thought about her post, and the comments you gave were insightful and I think they’ll be very useful in editing the post.

    -Julie Howell

  3. Kevin’s response to Diana’s blogpost was one I also agree with. As mentioned all three constraints were not previously stated so this blogpost was helpful in regards to reading Only Revolutions. I feel Kevin pointed out that these constraints were only specific to Only Revolutions as this novel uses a form of writing unlike any I have seen.
    I like that he used his own ideas about the third constraint mentioned. I agree with both posters that the change in text size has to do with historical events and possibly changes within the story.

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