Effects of Style

I have dyslexia. And a collection of other learning disabilities but dyslexia itself has become a catchall term for “I have a learning disability”. I mention this because my disability impacts everything to do with my reading habits. So my reading of The Familiar is impacted by it as well.

I wasn’t really aware of exactly how much it was being affected until I was in another class explaining my disability to a fellow student. She made the comment that her color blindness made it so that she couldn’t understand anything in a book until a translucent red sheet was placed over the text.

The point I’m trying to make is that my disability creates a way for me to sympathize with Xanther in a way that most people might not have. Dyslexia is nothing like epilepsy but it can be just as isolating. The style in which Daneilewski write’s her character is very effective in communicating her disability.

In first meeting Xanther you can see the calming effect that Anwar’s mathematical logic in saying that 1=2 has on her. Before that point in the book, as he was building up to it an impending sense of panic started to come over me. And I could almost feel the rain pounding harder.

I’m curious if that same style had the same effect on readers without learning disabilities. How effective is Daneilewski’s choices in writing each character as effective to you as Xanther’s is to me?

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One response to “Effects of Style”

  1. makaylaadamson says :

    In answer to your question, I also felt a strong connection to Xanther, even though I do not have a learning disability. We learn the most about Xanther, which results in us forming the strongest bond with her. I may not have dyslexia, but I found other ways to relate to her.
    I often feel overwhelmed, much like Xander. The way that she feels when she’s trying to count raindrops is the way that I feel a lot of the time. I also remember how much worse my anxiety was when I was her age. She reminded me of myself, which caused me to become that much more invested in her future and her happiness.
    However, I feel a far stronger connection to Xander than I do to any of the other characters, and a part of me thinks that that was intentional on Danielewski’s part. He had us fall in love with Xander by making her the main part of the story. This way, we will continue to want to check in on her by reading his future books. This tactic is often used in television, which is fitting seeing as how similar TF is to a television series.

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