Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

    pg. 563

    "Little solace comes
    to those who grieve
    When thoughts keep drifting
    as walls keep shifting
    and this great blue world of ours
    seems a of leaves

    moments before the wind"

    What does " of leaves" mean anyway?

    I tried translating the phrase " of leaves" into German, and I ran into a problem. The word "of" in English can be translated into German as von, aus, or der. This is because the word "of" can imply three different meanings, and therefore the phrase " of leaves" can also have three different meanings: A constructed of leaves (what I alway assumed and took for granted until I tried to translate it), a for (housing), i.e. belonging to leaves, like a full of leaves, or a originating (ausstammen) from leaves. All three of which have interesting implications considering the symbolism suggested in the poem and throughout the book.

    A constructed of leaves would shift. It would be fragile (?), transient, maybe almost impossible to possess, or to hold on to, so strong in a way, in the way water is strong, etc.

    A for leaves implies that is a seemingly typical one, but the things that live there (the family) are leaves, or like leaves, scattering, fragile, grieving, afraid = "shaking like leaves," easily blown apart, etc.

    And a originating from leaves... okay, this one is pretty stupid. I mean, really. Originating from leaves? from Leaves? Come on. I don't know, maybe it's tied to the origins of the , of leaves, coming from leaves in an elemental way. I don't know. I should have left this last one out probably.

    Anyway, I don't know if anyone has talked about this on here already, but I think it's an interesting little question. You know, what exactly does the title of the book mean?

  • #2
    It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

    i asked a question like this and got a variety of answers...

    my favourite theory is this:
    leaves can also be pages in a book.

    of pages. as i said, that's only one of the theories.

    use the search function (upper-right) and see what else you can find. the thread i asked this in was called "of Leaves".

    good luck, and welcome to the boards!

    Comment


    • #3
      It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

      Yeah, that's interesting. The word leaves in German is Blaetter, which also means pages, so it seems the words have similar histories.

      I'm thinking the phrase is intentionally vague.

      Comment


      • #4
        It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

        Johnny himself also mentions in one of his lengthy footnotes (I promise to look the number up later) refers to letters as leaves. Hence - of Leaves, of Letters. This supports somewhat the book as the communications between Pelafina and Johnny, although I'm not sure I totally buy into that yet. However, I figured I'd mention the point anyway.

        Happy Posting,Kat

        [ March 16, 2002: Message edited by: RedsKat23 ]

        [ March 16, 2002: Message edited by: RedsKat23 ]

        Comment


        • #5
          It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

          Hmmm, for as long as I can remember my take on the " of Leaves" metaphor was that "leaves" represent fragments. The "" to me represents not just a place of darkness where a person is constantly betrayed by the walls; It stands for various fragments of sadness and past memories. Old letters can be leaves. Pages of a book can be leaves. "It's okay, you can go now." is a leave, and to me the saddest one there is.

          To me, a " of Leaves" sounds like an complicated, and emotional place. I agree with you Writhe, leaves do immediatly give a connotation of something scattered and fragile, like (sad) emotions. In the wind, a batch of leaves can be swept up and carried over to new grounds. A "sweeping" sensation always comes to mind for me when I think of leaves.

          Comment


          • #6
            It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

            Like everything else in this book, I don't think that there is any one definitive answer for what the name means, and it would probably be a bit foolish to pick any one interpretation. All the theories offered up so far have been intriguing and it's sort of nice just to play with them all, accepting that perhaps it means all of them or none of them. I think the only mistake that a reader can make when approaching this book is hoping for a concrete single answer.

            Comment


            • #7
              It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

              There is another possibility which none of you considered, although I might be led astray by English not being my first language. So. Leaves as departures. It sounds slightly incorrect grammatically (it's supposed to be leaving, isn't it?), but I could surely read it that way too. And as for departures: speaking not only of those who died in the , but of all the human relations cracking up and unbinding within those walls. I might be very wrong.

              Comment


              • #8
                It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                The way I understood it, while reading the book, was that the was composed of leaves- i.e. moving sections, like on a table. My dictionary has the following definition: "A hinged or otherwise movable section of a folding door, shutter, or gate." Not very thought-provoking, but possible nonetheless.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                  I think that the ' of Leaves' naming has several purposes. One, leaves of pages. Pretty self-explainatory. Second, there is a legend that I mentioned recently about a giant Ash Tree called Yggdrasil within my post 'Windows within Pages?'. It's fairly lengthy so I won't write it again, you can point-and-click much faster and easier than I can type. But it may shed a whole new light on the meaning, maybe not but check it out and decide for yourselves.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                    I take the title to mean Book. A of leaves is a book. Leaves and pages are commmon symonyms. A book is where pages are at home in a book: therefore of leaves.

                    But that poem above makes me think this is the wrong direction to look. When I picture leaves in the wind, i picture a small dust devil. The little whirlwind is in constant flux, yet is always the same. I picture the on Ash Tree lane the same way. Constant flux, yet never changing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                      This is an interesting thread--the suggestions are right in line with this book's love of puns.
                      An image that came to mind as I was reading it was that of the Sibyl of Cumae that Virgil describes in Book 6 of the Aeneid. The Sibyl is a prophetess who lives in a cave and writes her prophecies on leaves. She writes them in order, but she does not weight them down or otherwise shelter them; therefore, when the winds blow in and out of the cave (air pressure changes cause caves to "breathe"), the prophecies get scattered, out of order--and, of course, fragmentary. Aeneas knows all this, so when he approaches her he asks her not to bother writing down the prophecies concerning him but just to tell him orally.
                      All this got evoked for me as I read Johnny's description of Zampano's apartment--of how every scrap of paper has writing on it, and even how the various objects in it seem to have some meaning, but then again, maybe not--and did some thinking about the book's very nature (in particular, the fact that its various editions differ from each other, that The Whalestone Letters contains letters that HoL does not, that Poe's album Haunted provides yet another take on characters in the novel). Elsewhere (the thread "Exactly"), I and others speculate that the unbound-ness of HoL is by design, that perhaps MZD is seeking to (re)create the dynamic out of which myth arises--and that we readers, as we read and discuss and re-read, will be the collective source of that myth. But maybe not. At any rate, MZD is clearly a student of myth . . . he would also know that one of the central motifs of the mythic hero is a descent into and return from an underworld . . . this happens in the Aeneid, just to name one of many instances.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                        The thread starter said: "A for leaves implies that is a seemingly typical one, but the things that live there (the family) are leaves, or like leaves, scattering, fragile, grieving, afraid = "shaking like leaves," easily blown apart, etc.

                        And a originating from leaves... okay, this one is pretty stupid. I mean, really. Originating from leaves? from Leaves? Come on. I don't know, maybe it's tied to the origins of the , of leaves, coming from leaves in an elemental way. I don't know. I should have left this last one out probably..."

                        I don't know about that. I would combine these two ideas into yet another interpretation. THIS --our world, our civilization as Homo sapiens-- that we deal with here DOES COME FROM the leaves--HUMANITY-- of the past.... Why else would MZD cite so many quotes from ancient history up through our modern times?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                          I'm no linguist, but I think the title of the norwegian or polish or some translation version is Het kaarten, which I think might mean something closer to "The Leaf ." but like I said, I'm no linguist. Just guessing.

                          You can probably figure it out better than I can; here's where I found it:

                          of Leaves in a language I am unfamiliar with

                          [ May 30, 2002: Message edited by: hello? ]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                            I really agree with John B.--I think MZD has a great love for puns, and the title is no exception. Everyone's theories here are valid, and they all could be true.

                            As for from Leaves, I think that it all stems back to Yggdrasil. In my opinion, Yggdasil is the key to this book, and the is some sort of manifestation, connection or actual physical being of or to that tree. So, from leaves? Not so hard to see that one, too.

                            *s

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It seems like a stupid question at first, doesn't it?

                              It sounds to me like this relates to the stuff hidden in footnote 75.

                              And before you say "There's nothing hidden in footnote 75 - its a red herring". You need to decode the whole thing - some interesting things appear here and there that seem to tie in with this thread:

                              "She said memories mean all but they are all dead."

                              "I wait now only for the wind."


                              [ August 08, 2002: Message edited by: fatwoul ]

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X