[This is the fifth installment in a series. The whole series can be found here.]
In the fourth chapter of Ship of Theseus it almost seems as if the events taking place within the book take a secondary stage to the seemingly more important story of the two commenters discussing the chapter, but also revealing details about events in their own lives and their developing relationship. The female commenter wants them to finally meet in person and see if they have more in common other than Ship of Theseus and V. M. Straka, while the male commenter pleads that he is simply too busy with his work, though it is clear that while he would very much like to meet her, he is also extremely nervous about it. The female commenter addresses this by discussing a future job prospect and how she will be graduating soon, which the male commenter then takes on by trying to get to her confirm she will definitely be leaving the area.
In this chapter reader learns that the notes being made in the margins by each of the characters are not all within the same time frame. There are intense discussions between them on a couple pages, which is not continued but just ends, because that was as far as they reached with the reading at that time. Is a little unusual to deal with as a reader, but once the reader understands the construct of the margin notes, it becomes more acceptable. This is further confirmed when these characters reference discussions made at an earlier points in the book and what bearing it has on the current context.
Learn that the names for the margin characters is Jennifer and Eric.
Events begin to have a stronger bearing on their lives as there are a series of fires occurring near to Jennifer, scaring her, while she becomes distant and estranged from her roommates, as well as at times she wonders if there is an intruder in her place of residence. Lends an air of tension and fear with the idea that with the more of the book they read, the worse things seem to become in their lives, with supposed people knowing what they are doing and wanting to terrorize and stop them.
As things continue to get weirder in their lives as they continue the reading, learn that there have been a series of “S” symbol sightings throughout the world, being collected and tracked through specific websites. Eric believes most of them to be hoaxes, while Jennifer is not so sure, especially when they continue to be discovered in unusual places, including recently excavated caves. Seems clear that Straka was unaware of the occurrence of the Ss during the author’s lifetime.
It was in read this particular chapter that I realized the sort of code to the different colored margin texts that may have been apparent to other readers earlier on, which is that each specific color of text is done during a specific time and specific read through. Eric read the book the first time when he was a teenager, which are all the notes in pencil. Then the specific color texts of Eric and Jennifer discussing back and forth are from different moments in time, some occurring closer to the present and presumably the end of the book. Therefore have points in the book of Eric and Jennifer talking about finally meeting, and other points when they have already met and are discussing the text.
This helps to add another level of drama to the overall book as the reader tries to work out at what point they are discussing the events of Ship of Theseus in their own lives and what has been happening to them. Just another level of complexity added for the enjoyment of the reader.
It was at the end of this chapter that I got the sense that S. is one of those books that could use multiple readings (much like Ship of Theseus is for Eric and Jennifer) and with further readings, new things will likely be read and discovered and appreciated.