“Now You See It…”: a Critical Analysis of Natalie Hamilton's “the a-Mazing House: the Labyrinth as Theme and Form in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves”

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The article, “The A-Mazing House: The Labyrinth as Theme and Form in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves” by Natalie Hamilton is a scholarly journal entry which has an interesting take on the novel House of Leaves written by Mark Z. Danielewski. The article’s main focus is on labyrinths and the examination of the use of them as the theme and form in House of Leaves. In order to examine the theme and form, the mode of approach Hamilton takes is to “provide partial blueprints for [the] house by examining the foundations for which it is built”(3) as well as exploring the Danielewski’s use of labyrinths throughout the novel. The thesis in this paper is the idea that House of Leaves is all about labyrinths and that everyone involved in the novel, including the reader, is faced with their own personal labyrinth which they must overcome. Hamilton is able to support this argument by pointing out that the novel is a “four level split”(4) by saying that Will and Karen, Zampano, Truant, and the editors are all on different level and that “Each level of Danielewski’s text involves characters attempting to navigate the maze of self.”(5) To bolster her argument that everyone involved with the novel on all levels faces their own labyrinth, she quotes Wendy B. Faris who says:
The labyrinth is no longer a special dwelling constructed for a particular monster, but rather a house where everyone lives.” (Faris p. 181, 1998) Once it is made clear that each person has their own personal labyrinths they must face, Hamilton then goes into great detail and gives meticulous descriptions of the labyrinth that all of the characters face. She starts with the lowest level of the narratives with Will and Karen Navidson. The labyrinth that she says that Will and Karen have is their relationship. Hamilton’s explanation to what must be worked on in their relationship is Karen’s insecurity…...

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