Response to “I always thought Braille was for blind people” by lheyman

I loved this post by lheyman! It really made me think about an idea I had in class the other day, and it ties in with the “theory” I have thought of! The Braille in The Familiar is very unique to Danielewski’s style of writing. (Braille has always intrigued me, so I immediately recognized it when I first saw it in the text.) Just seeing the dots themselves creates a whole new layer of meaning to the sections it exists in. The dots imply that there is something else going on in the text that we may not be able to understand at first glance. Just like there are sections of the novel in other languages (Russian, for example), Braille is another code that may be placed there by Danielewski for us to unlock.

In class on Tuesday, we discussed the idea of circles of power within the novel. Is VEM in control of the narcons? Are the narcons in control of the main characters of the chapters? Where do we fall into this power relationship? On page 629, I think we might have a clue to answer that question. The orb is shown on the page, but is completely made up of question marks. In other places in the novel, the orb shoes scenes (or scripts) of events we think to have taken place in the past. What if this specific orb is supposed to display future events? What if all of the blacked-out text in the novel reveals events of the future that we are not ready to read/understand yet? If this is the case, then it becomes clear that we are under the power control of the narcons if they are responsible for blacking out the text. After thinking about this for a while, I made a conclusion of what I think Danielewski’s plan is! Maybe the question marks, foreign languages (including Braille), question marks, and blacked out text reveal the future of the next 26 volumes in this story. This could be an intricate plan he has devised to keep his readers interested and locked-in to the text for the future–what a great plan!


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