Response to “Unmarked and Marked Literature–A Clemson Class Discussion” by tlbenne


I actually took a picture of the whiteboard after class. I found our discussion very interesting. We started off by discussing unmarked and marked text. Unmarked text is traditional. There is a uniform font and text size. Unmarked text is less likely to be taken out of context. Marked text, however, leaves room for much interpretation. When an author plays around with typographic styles, the reader is given an opportunity to think out of the box. Danielewski gives us, as readers, a role in the novel. However, what is our role?

In class, Professor Thomas drew a circle with all of the characters names inside. Since the Narcons seem to have control over the characters, we put them outside the circle. We put VEM outside both the Narcons and the characters because we agreed that VEM has control over the Narcons and the characters. We are left wondering where we fit in the circle. Do we have any power at all? Are we being controlled by the Narcons? by VEM? or by Danielewski? We are left with so many “what ifs.”


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About icarlyrose

Hey, my name is Carly. I am a New York native, but graduated from Clemson University down in Clemson, SC with a degree in Sports Communication. I am passionate about sports, especially baseball, and also enjoy video editing, graphic design, and photography. You can follow me on twitter: @icarly_rose

One response to “Response to “Unmarked and Marked Literature–A Clemson Class Discussion” by tlbenne”

  1. klhinto says :

    I really agree with how interesting this was to discuss. I think that although the novel is very complex, it was relatively easy to figure out where the various layers of the characters existed. However, it was very difficult to figure out where the readers landed in the chart. I think that this was so confusing because we initially thought that we were reading a book about a certain set of characters, then we found out that really we were reading a book about a set of characters that were created by narcons. But, since they exist within the realm of the book, are they also characters? This whole idea becomes even more confusing when we bring in the idea of VEM. Initially it seemed that this was simply some far off company mentioned within the book, that is until we found out in class that VEM is something that has been referenced in other of Danielewski’s books. In my mind this raises even more questions about all of his books. Is VEM related to the narcons in any way? Does it control the narcons or do the narcons control it? What does this mean for the characters in his other books? What does this then mean for the reader? Does this mean that all the books are in some way related? It definitely lends to many unanswered questions.

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