In her post, Vanessa mentioned noticing the plot was becoming easier to read, questioning whether she was adapting to the text or the text was simplifying as Hailey and Sam become closer to one another. I also noticed this pattern in my own reading and began to investigate it.
I have noticed that while reading, I am beginning to read faster and the text is easier to understand, I however, believe this is due to the changing of the narrative. In the beginning of the novel, Hailey and Sam where both traveling to various places at rapid speed. I have noticed a trend in Danielewski no longer writing all animal and plant references in a strong, bold font, such as on page 279 of Hailey’s narrative. These words are still bolded, however, it is weaker and not as noticeable, seemingly to not interrupt the readers attention. It was actually hard to even find an example of a bolded word, however. I believe this is following a point that Vanessa brought to light in her post — a decreasing size of the characters’ egos in the book.
Danielewski seems to be weakening the characters throughout the text, mentioning death at an increasing rate as the narration continues. This is ironic because the characters themselves are not approaching death, as they are “allways sixteen”, yet Danielewski is increasing the rate of death around them through mentioning things like “Pitcher Plants die Mud Plantains die too” (Hailey page 274), and ” While Timber Wolves go stiff… Alligators & Raccoons die” (Sam page 240). There isn’t strong evidence that the characters themselves are weakening; however, this use of weakening descriptions inarguably has an effect on the reader visualizing Sam and Hailey coming to an end. This also brings to question the importance of these seemingly random phrases throughout the novel, perhaps these animal/plant phrases can be used to shed light on the narrative with further research.
In the following interviews, Danielewski describes how he wrote the book, stating he wrote the narrative of Hailey first, followed by Sam and then decided to line the texts opposite of one another on the page, moving in opposite directions. This leads me to believe that Danielewski created this format to enhance the story he was already telling. I wonder if in the original text he included the short phrases and words with changing formats or if these were invented as the characters of Hailey and Sam become concrete in his head.