Pattern: The Raw Shark Texts presents a pattern where different representations of text and other mediums are introduced upon key discoveries or other major realizations made by Eric.
Example 1: Pages 57-58 (Television Saying Distance, then showing close-up of shark eye)
This example shows the word “distance” in the corner of a white box. The word is shaped in a way vaguely resembling a fish in the distance. The next page shows different words and phrases that are arranged in a way that resemble the close-up of a shark’s eye. In both cases, the box represents the television.
Example 2: Pages 93-96 (Fidorous Trail creature mockups)
The first example utilizes three extremely tiny letters to represent single celled animals. The second example utilizes the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet in the shape of a circle to represent the nucleus of the cell containing biological information. The third and fourth examples use words in the shapes of two fossilized fish and a mosquito.
Example 3: Pages 328-379 (Flipbook Section)
The flipbook shows a shark made of words getting closer and afterwards simulates getting raised out of an ocean made of the phrase “Fingers clamped my wrist and forearm and dragged me up towards the surface with a.”
This pattern is significant to the text as a whole because it shows numerous instances where the interpretations of how words are presented can bring the concepts of the text to life.
With the example of the shark in the television, which is this Eric’s first encounter with the Ludovician, the shark is brought to life using words to create the structure. The first frame that’s presented with the word “distance” making up the body provides both a visual representation on the screen and a textual representation of the shark being at a distance. With the static and electric flash accompanying the next frame with the close-up, there is a real sense of motion given to the text. The use of the words to comprise the shark’s face provides the text with a body that transcends them simply being random words on a page.
The trend of bringing the words to life continues with the evolutionary stages of these conceptual creatures created by Fidorous. The change with the amount of letters that comprise each creature (increasing in sophistication as it further develops) further engrains the words of a textual medium into real life processes and organisms. This example demonstrates that not only can one bring life into the words creating the conceptual creatures, but also that life has always been intertwined with those words and ideas. The intricacies of the details in the fossil images compared to the single lettered, single celled creatures demonstrate how much range words can have when interpreted as a representation of real life.
The ultimate example of how words can be utilized in order to bring a text to life is through the flipbook portion of the novel. Through flicking the pages quickly, the reader can get a visual representation of the Ludovician aggressively swimming through the ocean and the movement of Eric’s body through the ocean. This example also uses words and phrases from the text to compose the body of the shark and the added element of movement of that body of words provides life to the words that books usually do not contain. By providing the reader with a concrete representation of the shark’s aggressive stalking and its facial/body details, the novel is transplanting the exact image that they want to convey inside the reader’s mind.
The Raw Shark Texts is unique in that it uses the layout and structure of words and phrases as a way of mimicking the concept of all of life and how it’s interpreted stems from simple letters, words, phrases, and symbols. Without the use of such visual examples, there is a risk of the reader not interpreting the conceptual creatures and the actions and history of the creatures the way that they were intended to. The ability to mimic a variety of mediums makes the medium of novels a versatile and tool that is never truly at risk of being replaced.
- What connections and differences do you observe between Scout and Clio? What is the significance of the connections and differences?
- How do the various letters and objects left behind by the first Eric Sanderson influence Eric’s perception of the events he faces?
- What is the significance of the island Naxos to Eric in the final moments of the boat battle with the Ludovician?