Rhetorical architecture / architecture of rhetoric

Longform fiction literature is often analogized to cinema, but a more apt point of functional correspondence would be residential architecture. In a domicile, there are no cues, no score, the eye is the camera, and the time one spends within such spaces before egress is greater than feature length, even of sprawling works like Shichinin no Samurai (discounting pieces like Empire that aren’t stories).

One acclimates to the engrossing novella or novel as to a new abode. None acclimate in any comparable fashion to films (especially in theaters) due compression of the entered world to the box of the screen; i.e. the spatially flat and broadly non-participatory nature of the moving picture experience. The film acts upon the passive viewer, the reader acts upon the book, the resident acts upon the house. Therein lies the symmetry between architect and novelist, resident and reader.

So one may regard each chapter as a chamber within the structure (the narrative text), and each chapter end line as a point of transit from one room (scene) to the next, a doorway, a staircase, a lift, a ramp, et cetera. The question then to ask (and the utility of the analogization) is: Should the reader be eased to the next chamber, as by an escalator, or thrust to it, as one falling through a trapdoor?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s