Sunday, November 16, 2014

House of Leaves Final Paper

In the book House of Leaves, the randomly changing hallways comes across as an unsolvable riddle.  The reader can view the hallways as the unknown regions of technology and the journey to find the solution.  Focusing more on the computer side and implementations similar to how the hallways change form.  People are trying to find ways to improve speed and make abnormal into reality.  It could also show the crude instruments we are using and in a way blindly investigating.


Rutovitz, D.  Pattern Recognition by Computer.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.  Series B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 184. No. 1077.  A Discussion on the Value and Automation in Health Services (Dec. 21, 1973) pp. 441-454.  Print.

This mainly gives reasoning for pattern recognition.  The amount of data that the computer processes is far more than a human could withstand.  Rutovitz goes on to list several examples in the health field where pattern recognition is used.

Kaiser, Marcus.  Brain Architecture: A Design for Natural Computation.  Philosophical Transactions: Mathmatical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. Vol. 365, No. 1861.  Chemistry and Engineering (Dec. 15, 2007).  pp. 3033-3045.  Print.

Kaiser includes attributes that a product would need to be similar to a brain.  A couple of his main points include description of the connections, wire constraints (energy loss and length), and the idea of evolving the product rather than designing a product

Dempsey, Kari, David Ciudad, and Christopher Marrows.  Single electron spintronics.  Philosophical Transactions: Mathmatical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 369, No. 1948, New directions in spintronics (13 August 2011).  pp. 3150-3174.  Print.

This article talks about the background of electronics and spintronics.  They talk about the current direction of hardware getting smaller and how nanotechnology influences development.

-Going to include more sources if older journals are acceptable.

Brief Direction

The characters in the book come up with ideas on how to reach the end.  The author briefly mentions that a labyrinth can be solved by putting a hand on the wall and walking the entire maze.  This is the brute force and exhaustive way.  For easy problems this could be used, but on  more complex problems the solution could take years.  The amount of time it takes the characters to investigate the hallway makes it seem like they are using this method.  Although their progress could be hindered by their insufficient tools. Their radio cuts out, flashlights don’t reach the max distance, and the string isn’t long enough.

Technology in general has limitations for performance.  Examples could be the hardware, software, design, inventor, and the list continues.  Society is looking for a direction to push which would revolutionize everyday life.  Computers are being implemented with branch prediction and other types of programming to improve speed.  The only real way to bypass all restrictions is to make something that can change on its own.  The question of how far this can be pushed and if we will be lost in the process similar to the characters getting lost in the hallway.

-Use different forms of data and computer communication other than electricity, such as the light spectrum or direction of electron spin.
-It is hard to say where technology will be in the future and if it will be as linear as today.  If two different outcomes can be produced from one action.
-Section where he puts penny down, goes left, then right, and then penny is still below him. 
-Could view his earlier actions changed the outcome, even if the outcome is something that is not normal.  Similar to a program that will branch to a certain function if it meets a criteria.
-The limit of coding is there needs to be structure.  The overall structure can change, as seen in different languages, however within that language it is predictable.


  1. At first I thought you were trying to suggest computers as a solution to their problems to the hall, but reading more into your ideas it seems like you are planning on writing an essay connecting the problems they face in the maze with problems of current computing technology. Is this correct? It's a little difficult to tell exactly what your thesis is, so I think you need to refine that introduction to be a bit more clear. It's really nice that you already have three sources and plans for how you can integrate each one. As for those ideas for pushing your general direction, I like the last two with programming problems. Earlier actions changing outcomes and the structure of coding. I personally don't know too much about computer coding, but I hear a classic problem is finding the most efficient route getting to multiple points while hitting all of them- a little similar to them finding their way out.

  2. Rebecca is right that your exact thesis is a little unclear. However, your general direction is quite interesting. You're in good territory: Danielewski (especially through Z.) is deeply concerned with the direction of technology, and the impact of technology upon meaning/interpretation. Your research agenda is fine, and your general territory is excellent. Finding a specific focus and isolating relevant material in the text so you can make a specific argument about pattern recognition/computation will be the challenge. Prioritize the text here - you need to figure out how you can *use* your interesting research agenda, and not get bogged down in telling us what that research agenda is, which will be the temptation here.