Friday, February 15, 2008

Dynamics in Diction

In class on Tuesday, we discussed the possible motives of the author and designer to include the musical graphics throughout the novel. I find it interesting that on pages 165, 168, 171, 173, and 175 the dynamics (found on either the top right or top left of the pages) intensify with the story. There is a ppp on the page where the anatomy of the human corpse is being described as square is performing an autopsy. This passage describes humans through their most common, physical components: muscle, bone, flesh, meat. Then he begins talking about the evolution of the Cro-Mags and Neanderthals and how their interactions turn violent. In one specific account, the Neanderthals throw rocks and act as beasts to try to frighten the dominant and more intelligent Cro-Mags. The violence escalates, and the dynamics, which are fff in this section, reflect the action and conflict of the episode.

One of the innovative qualities of this book is the integration of graphics into the pages. They become part of the story, appealing to the visual, aesthetic quality of the reading experience. Adding the musical notes, and especially dynamics, is perhaps an attempt to tap into the auditory sense. The story that comes to life in our minds as we read is enhanced by the graphics, and these visual elements further extend the interpretation, alluding to a melody or a level of noise. The author and designer are very brave, but I am not entirely convinced that these added elements enhance the experience rather than just distract from the story. It seems as though a lot of people have been commenting on the latter effect. Maybe this is just a style that takes reading the entire book to get used too. It is definitely a new way of reading, and although I rather enjoy the challenge, I haven't had much success trying to decipher the rather cryptic illustrations.


Miguel said...

I agree, I find that I spend more time trying to figure out what all the graphics mean rather than focusing on the text itself and the book seems to me to be much more about the evolution of names and people than Square and Circle, at least at this point.

Chris K. said...

I've interpreted some of the musical fragments as I've been reading. To me they are very much like the musical score in a movie, used to add to the tone of the novel, and sort of set the pace of different paragraphs.