By trying to classify the animals and plants based on location, I was attempting to combine a spatial idea of how “accurate” Only Revolutions was in portraying the background. As could probably be predicted, there was an end result with limited conclusiveness.


I looked for clustered animals/plants, with at least three listed on a page. These clusters were found and selected using Katherine Hayles’ Only Revolutions Commentary. Once I had 5 clusters for each thing, they were organized into 8 possible regions of the United States, each corresponding to the place where the thing lived. These areas were North Eastern, South Eastern, Midwest, Southern, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii. There wasn’t a hard and fast rule for which states corresponded to which regions, as most of the animals and plants were in more than one region, so when in doubt, the animal and plant were added to both regions. Each cluster was also compared to the region of the United States that the narrative was taking place (locations found using Hayles’ site). From there, each region was counted in the clusters, with the total number of each region used in the visual. The visual was created using, with their pie chart graph function.

Design Choices:

For a data set based on counts, a pie chart shows the relative frequency in a clear way. For the sake of my theory, I wanted to show any potential regions that acted as more of a setting, and therefore the pie chart showed the percentages in a much cleaner way. After seeing how close some of the counts were though, I decided on the irregular pie chart, as the changing radius made the differences between the regions more apparent. Each general category (Animal or Plant) is listed by itself, just for the sake of clearness.


As can be seen in the visual, very rarely does a region of the United States show dominance through the animals or plants. Even when a setting has been said (page 50 onward), the background animals and plants come from all over the country. In that sense, the “things” were inaccurate to the established setting. In a normal novel, this may speak to a writer’s flaw, but for Danielewski, this fits in with his theme of being both timeless and placeless. Some interesting patterns can be teased out as well. On pages 121 and 240 for the animals, these pie charts are the exact same because the cluster of animals is the exact same. This symmetry is not reflected for plants, as of the five plants, only three are repeated. Overall, the plants had less symmetry around the midpoint (pages 180 and 181) compared to the animals. Total References, which was the cumulative of mentions among the clusters, shows evenness between all the regions for both plants and animals. This contradicts the seemingly random placement of animals and plants, but isn’t surprising given the amount of patterns that appear in Only Revolutions.

Overall, looking at the places that plants and animals grow and live doesn’t give any new insights in to Danielewski’s Only Revolutions. They are as scattered as the rest of the narrative, and don’t particularly match up to their referenced settings. However, the small sample I looked at found a nearly even distribution of habitats, which indicates a thoughtful plan. Perhaps it was the size of the sample, but any meaning of plants and animals doesn’t use locations.