Stream of Patterns

I feel as if i am not getting the full understanding of this book each time i read a new passage. Not only is it difficult to understand any purpose, but a large portion of the references are to events or people i do not know about.We have not progressed into the years i have lived in yet so hopefully that will change. It just seems as if the author is trying to frustrate anyone trying to find meaning from the text, which is causing me to dislike reading this.


The first pattern I found was the use of italics to signify another voice or spoken words in the text. Sometimes it could be reading or another person talking, but its often not  the narrators. The narrators may comment on the italicized words, but they dont actually speak them. Sam actually tells you who the speaker is sometimes, but Hailey never does.

There is also a constraint in the lack of any type of historical mention in the actual accounts of the narrators. We may not be defined by every important historical event around us, but its hard to live a life disconnected from important events. But i could not find any situation that referenced any of the events in the side bar of each page. It was as if the author was trying to purposefully disconnect the story from anything around the narrator.

Finally, there is also a correlation between the years and the slang being used. There are a lot of what seem like outdated terms or expressions in the older dates, but around the 1980 you begin to see terms like ‘chillin’,  ‘funkified’, and ‘cigs’ that, while old for me, are definitely more modern than the earlier word choice.


-Adam Steffy-


~ by adamsteffy on February 21, 2011.

2 Responses to “Stream of Patterns”

  1. According to the Wikipedia article provided to us last class, “Constrained writing is a literary technique in which the writer is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern.” After referring back to this definition, I believe what Adam posted above is not actually an example of constraints, but rather a habit or tendency. Because Adam admits to not being fully knowledgeable about the historical references, he cannot make the claim that the narrators are purposefully disconnected from the timeline in the sidebar. Maybe the author was being subtle with his allusions? But moreover, I do not believe that a disconnect between narration and the timeline is an actual constraint in itself. There is no evidence of something forbidden or imposing…yet. Maybe a constraint will be evident when the entire book is completed.

    Adam is right in noting that there is a correlation between the time period and the slang Danielewski chooses. To make this a more sharp analysis of a constraint — and not a tendency — Adam might have wanted to consider tracing the evolution of slang over each decade in the sidebar. “Earlier word choice” … for example? This observation has potential to be expounded upon, unfortunately a member of this class, Kayla, already had noted it in her blog post on February 19th: “Secondly, the cultural references on each side at first correspond more closely to the time period of the historical/political section…”

    To make a stronger argument for the next round of constraints (if that is the topic of our next post), I would suggest researching what actually constitutes a “constraint.” That being said, Adam still raised interesting points and wrote about them in greater detail than just a bullet point list. I look forward to what he will have to contribute next week.

  2. ** survivingshanghai = user Jen Hirsch

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