ENGL FINAL - Tobin 1 Michelle Tobin ENGL 200 Timothy Welsh...

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Tobin 1 Michelle Tobin ENGL 200 Timothy Welsh March 18, 2008 Echoes The Greek story of Echo and Narcissus mentioned in chapter five of House of Leaves establishes the mythological birth of the nature of echoes. Cursed by a vengeful Hera, the wood nymph Echo is condemned to a life of speaking only the last words spoken to her. Despite this predicament, she soon becomes infatuated by Narcissus, an egotistical man with interest only in himself. Echo’s obsession ultimately leads to her demise as she wastes her life away pining after her love; her body deteriorates while her voice remains, echoing throughout eternity. However, with each repetition Echo imparts her own emotion, expressing anger and sorrow through words not her own. “Her voice has life. It possesses a quality not present in the original, revealing how a nymph can return a different and more meaningful story, in spite of telling the same story” (Danielewski 42). This idea of embellishment through repetition is a recurring theme throughout the book and can clearly be seen in footnote 308. Here, Zampano analyzes Navidson’s choice to make Reston the sole authority for recounting the events of “The Escape,” even though Reston wasn’t there. Navidson may have made this decision out of fear for his own recollection of such tragic events. However, Zampano introduces the possibility that he did so in order to emphasize the “inadequacies in representation.” Here, Zampano lists the many steps taken in order to record the original event, starting from Tom’s broken
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Tobin 2 hand to Navidson’s perception of Tom’s broken hand to Navidson’s description of Tom’s broken hand to Reston, and so on. “A pointed reminder that representation does not replace. It only offers distance and in rare cases perspective” (Danielewski 346).
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