It Has Windows

The idea of originality. How is this affected by our consideration of Tree of Codes and The Street of Crocodiles? We can’t exactly say that these media are working “together,” as Crocodiles was not aware that Jonathan Safran Foer would be dissecting the book and forming it into a new kind of art. We can’t say that Crocodiles informs Codes, because it is more of a literal “taking from” rather than being “inspired by.” We could maybe say that Codes informs Crocodiles as a look at this “sculptural object” (as called by the publisher) could work towards a deeper understanding of its mother story. We can’t deny that Foer’s book is separate from Crocodiles in its idea and intention. So what do we do with the knowledge that Foer’s words are the same words as Schulz’s? How does Codes function as a work of fiction? Is it poetry?

I think these are musings we need to consider in depth, as the answers are important to the questions we’ve been pursuing in class this semester: What is “literature?” What does a change in interface do to our understanding of a work as “literature?” How is this effective as a means of storytelling?

For my part, I would say that Codes seems to be more poetry than prose. Is poetry fiction? It can be fictional, but what is the separation? Pitt offers the English Writing major in Poetry but also separately in Fiction. They are different fields, so are they different for this work? Is it a novel? Perhaps Foer meant to force us to ask questions like these. On the outside, Codes looks like a novel. It is bound like a book. But on the inside, it is not the interface we’d expect from a novel. It reads like poetry. It has windows. It is interface confusion. But we’ve been taught to read when we aren’t used to the access. So what is Codes? How do we gain meaning from it? Maybe again the medium is the message.


~ by kristinvermilya on March 31, 2013.

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