I plan to argue that Zampanò’s life work, House of Leaves is his perception of his own life as a blind man suffering from mental illness. A counterargument for this could simply be that Zampanò is just a normal blind film critic or that Johnny is the one who is truly suffering from mental illness. This argument is important to the interpretation of the work as a whole because it explains for the whacky behaviors of Zampanò during his lifetime and why House of Leaves turned out the way it is, colors, empty spaces, rotated text pieces, and all. This is relevant to the reader because it will impact their understanding and interpretation of the text, resulting in understanding rather than confusion.
Zampanò chooses to spend his last days in his home where all light, sound, and smell are blocked to the best of his ability as he spends all his efforts scrambling to scribble down more and more phrases for House of Leaves. This is not the expected behavior of an old man who is dying, but of a man who has spent much of his life suffering. As a reader, we may not know what lead Zampanò’s mental illness or why he chooses to express himself this way, but we can decipher his actions to understand where he is on the spectrum of Psychotic Disorders.
· DSM IV-Psychotic Disorders. I plan to compare Zampanò’s behavior to those described in the DSM IV for Psychotic Disorders to tentatively diagnose him with Psychotic Disorder.
· Psychotic Disorders-The Encyclopedia of Neuropsychological Disorders. I plan to use this to support the claim further that he does indeed have Psychotic disorder and what the scientific background of this disorder includes. I will further use the science behind the disorder to further explain Zampanò’s actions.
· Different Seasons-Apt Pupil by Stephen King. Though not a strictly academic source, I find this appropriate to use because of the horror aspect of the Navidson Record. I plan to compare Todd and Dussander’s behavior to Zampanò’s. Although the three of them may differ in what they are suffering from, they all can be argued as mentally ill. Their actions in result of this are similar and I will use this to argue how Psychotic Disorders differ amongst different individuals.
· I plan to use Kandinsky along with House of Leaves to further analyze the colors (red, blue, and black) used throughout the text.
Draft of Introduction:
Zampanò chooses to write an extended film review, as a blind film critic, on a movie, The Navidson Record, which ultimately does not exist. The house that he crafts is representative of his skewed vision of life, as he never really knows what life looks like. With no family and no connections to anybody in his life besides an excess of cats, Zampanò is stuck in a world of loneliness. The loneliness and artificial view of life that he has ultimately drives him to insanity. His struggle to understand life and himself is depicted in the Navidson Record by his inclusion of the complexity of the house. The ever-changing blackness that Zampanò includes is his perception of life. The unyielding darkness in Zampanò’s life is one of the factors that ultimately lead him to developing a psychotic disorder. According to the DSM IV, “The major symptom of these disorders is psychosis, or delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs that significantly hinder a person's ability to function.” Zampanò spends so much of his time crafting his masterpiece of a review on the Navidson Record that he believes the film truly exists. The constant editing and researching for this imaginary topic is a constant delusion that Zampanò lives in. Without his work, his stability as an individual with a mental disorder would be nonexistent.