Hailey doesn’t have shoes and she is very concerned about this. Sam doesn’t have a hat and he is very concerned about this. They are both obsessed with their respective items. Sam went and got shoes for Hailey when she was missing them, but Hailey doesn’t return the favor to Sam by going and getting him a hat. I had to consider the time frames with which both of the characters existed. In the time period that Sam lives, it was extremely rare to see a man without wearing a hat. However, many young people went around being shoeless in the early 60’s. The trend of men wearing hats died out somewhere in the 50’s. She didn’t get Sam a hat because it wasn’t seen as necessary in her time period. Yet for Hailey, or any woman to go shoeless in Sam’s time period, was completely improper and unheard of.
Sam’s maintext is filled with an assortment of animals and Hailey’s maintext is filled with an assortment of plants. I was trying to figure out what the significance of this was, and I know it has something to do with mother nature. I believe Hailey might symbolize mother nature, because when I read that she had made love and had been raped multiple times by a lot of people, I thought of how different people treat the world. Some take advantage of it and treat it like garbage, and others love it, take care of it, and protect it. Hailey’s association with plants also ties into the fact she doesn’t wear shoes; her plants are literally rooted in the earth and so are her feet. Sam’s association with animals are moving through air and they are more mobile. I think that Sam and Hailey aren’t supposed to be real people, they are more like gods or archetypes that can infiltrate different times throughout history. Animals and plants, however, are living things that die. Death is supposed to be a natural part of life. Sam and Hailey die and plants and animals die, but it doesn’t have to be scary.
Only Revolutions seemed unreadable at first because of how much information I was receiving. It was information overload. There are different letters, things are misspelled, words are different colors and different sizes, there is a chronology sidebar, and the publisher suggests reading 8 pages from one side and then flipping the book to read 8 pages of the other side. While reading it for the first time, and this was without Voyant tools, the only patterns that were obvious to me were sex, honey, the rhyming words, and how a few things were opposite of each other. One thing I found that were opposites was how Hailey describes Sam’s eyes as “Green Eyes with flecks of Gold” and Sam describes Hailey’s eyes as “Gold Eyes with flecks of Green.” The other thing was how Hailey’s description of Sam and herself made them seem head over heels in love with each other and having this amazing time with each other. She described herself as being sexy and wanted by the characters in the book. She described Sam as not being good at having sex and having a small penis. On the other hand, Sam describes Hailey as looking disgusting and being repulsed with her appearance and behaviors, but he also knew that she was his everything. Sam described the characters in the book being repulsed by her in the same way he was and that she was throwing herself at them. And of course, Sam describes his penis as being large and being able to give Hailey amazing orgasms. Each character plays themselves up and puts the other person down.
Voyant tools also did not help me come up with my theory for Only Revolutions. There are two Hailey’s and two Sam’s. The second Sam narrates the “Sam” piece of the story in which he meets Hailey. This piece commences in 1863. The second Hailey narrates the “Hailey” piece. This piece commences the exact day that the first set of Sam and Hailey ends. I believe this to be true because Hailey’s narrative starts with “Samsara!” (Danielewski 1). “Samsara” is a word very pertinent for this book in the languages of Buddhism and Hinduism. It has to do with the endless cycle of life, death, and reincarnation. According to the Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, “Samsara” comes from the word “Samsri,” which means “to revolve.” With Hailey and Sam born again, they meet for the second time. They are basically the same people that they were at the beginning of Sam’s narrative, everything that happens to them between 1963 and 2063 are somewhat similar to what happened to them between 1863 and 1963. But at the same time, nothing is exactly the same, so what is revolving is the cycle of history. History has been recycled, like there have always been power struggles, war, economic depressions, and tragedies. Is it just a coincidence that the term “US” reappears throughout the novel or is it the abbreviation for the “United States?” The United States has been through numerous wars, economic declines, and countless tragedies. Sam and Hailey are all of us. US.
The Voyant method did not open many new ways of thinking about this book for me except for noticing the animals and plants and the shoes and the hats. I’m not a machine so using a machine-assisting tool is not going to really help me. I’m a living, breathing, critically thinking scholar and philosopher and what using Voyant Tools taught me was how special and important it is to keep being that way and how I should strive to be free of “machines” or technology. I am watching the new season of Black Mirror and the first episode shows the depressing existence of a woman trapped in a society where everyone is constantly rating everybody else and it drives her to insanity. The second episode is about virtual gaming and it erases the man’s memory and identity. The show is dark but I think it highlights how our society will end up if we keep relying on technology and machines. Classic analysis, or regular close reading, will become lost if machine reading takes over. But if both are used together, then they can both be used to provide insights and novel ideas about books.
The perception of value, the flow of goods, economic exchange, payment, and wealth and poverty all come up a lot throughout the book. Values of things fluctuate and this is seen by the different values given to Leftwrist Twist. Gold is brought up a lot and it might be what holds the book together, and gold was also a form of monetary value. The Gold Leftwrist Twist in the center of the book, the one that connects S and H together like a token of love. I’m also going to focus on the motif of honey. It reappears over and over again and there is a lot of significance associated with it. Honey is the color gold and it symbolizes love. Honey nourishes Sam and Hailey, it’s sticky and it makes them stick together, but it also is tied to the ability to stop time and to value. The jars of honey they have left is also how much time they have left. Honey also presents a juxtaposition: time brings value to waste and raises waste to a cherished product. Honey is also a contrasting symbol because bee stings are threatening and fatal but honey provides Sam and Hailey with sustenance and energy.