Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English (M.A.)

Department

English

Abstract

At the center of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves is the narrative of The Navidson Record, the story of Will Navidson’s struggle to understand and conquer the mystery of his labyrinthine house - a mystery that is profoundly connected to Navidson’s guilt over Delial, a dead Sudanese girl whose photo made Navidson famous. Navidson’s preoccupation with Delial shapes the house, lending it the characteristics of globalized space as it would have been experienced by Delial and others in her socioeconomic circumstances (whom Zygmunt Bauman has named vagabonds), in contrast to the experience of tourists such as Navidson. The vagabonds’ experience of globalization, specifically with regard to space and their ability to occupy it comfortably, aids us in understanding the behavior of the house, and the exploitative relationship between tourists and vagabonds further explains both Navidson’s obsession with the house and the lesson he learns inside that allows him to escape.

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