I just spent two days reading The Dionaea House by Eric Heisserer and loved it! Here’s some of my thoughts around Point of View:
There are Many Interlocking POVs
This novel contains a large cast of characters, especially if you count the real and fake comment profiles. There’s some disagreement around which is which. I believe most are fiction. When you click profiles links, most have very meta profiles and even though some blogs seem open for comments (I didn’t take the plunge), those on Eric’s blog, A Quiet Space, are missing date stamps and in general sound too eloquent even when trying to be colloquial. Even the trolling comments seem too kind (considering modern vitriol). Characters (and commenters) interlock throughout the blogs by links and communities surrounding posts.
Most of the main characters have distinct points of view but in one comment board from Eric’s final post in A Quiet Space, hundreds of comments including spam posts become a cacophony of noise, sprinkled with real plot points. There are also POV variations with the moniker Anonymous.
Some characters are even suppressed on boards where posts have been removed. On Jennifer Levin’s blog, posts have been removed by “the author,” but on Eric’s blog, posts have been removed by “a blog administrator.” And since this is a ghost story and Eric is purportedly dead, his postmortem comments allude to either the meta nature of the novel's real author commenting on his own fiction or the house itself serving as the administrator.
Technology is a Vehicle for POV
There are various mediums where characters tell their stories: emails, mobile texts, various brands and styles of blogs, comment posts and online profiles. Some stories are pithy and strung over multiple comments posts (example: the anonymous troll posting cynicism that gradually turns into belief and aggression), and some stories are long diatribes within one comment.
In fact, complications occur with point of view where various commenters choose to identify as anonymous or, as online communication allows, misrepresent who they are. However, not all anonymous commenters are created equally. At least one of them is a recurring troll and you have to pay attention to each message to identify them.
Characters also present their point of view with the style of their blogs and the functionality they enable, for example the babysitter’s use of emoticons to express her mood after every post. Blog themes, font styles, subject lines, blog titles, what time of day they create posts all reveal possible character traits and POV. Some of this has been compromised now that parts of the novel has been taken down from the original domain and archived on Creepy Pasta (with part(s) missing).
The babysitter's blog
The journaling functionality of the blog elicits very confessional and intimate thoughts from the characters to varying degrees, the teen babysitter being the most divulging and Loreen the most guarded.
Blogs Are Naturally
Characters comment on the medium as they email, text or blog. Bryan Alexander calls
this self-awareness (50). Point of view is also revealed as the characters reveal their comfort levels with the technologies they use to tell their stories. Their distancing from technology also places their view points within an earlier era of the Internet when people were still acclimating to the internet’s tools. “I don't know how to do HTML,” Connie says. Not something someone says with easy WYSYWG interfaces today.
POV is also confused by the fact that the character of Eric, who disappears in the story, has the same name as the author of the novel and the author uses his public persona years later to continue commenting on Reddit about this fictional house, as if it was true but not alluding to the complication of his own disappearance.
To Blog or Not to Blog
Some people blog to communicate their existence in a noisy world. This story takes that idea to the extreme: once these characters stop blogging, this indicates they have disappeared and might really have ceased to exist.
Note: I found an error in the Alexander text on page 52. The last post on the babysitter’s blog, “found you,” does not link to Eric’s A Quiet Place blog, but instead to Jennifer Levin’s blog (empty except for a treasure of comments).
The Novel (websites and blogs):
Heisserer, Eric. “The Dionaea House.” Creepypasta, http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Dionaea_House. Accessed 2 February 2019.
Ohdanigirl. Adventures in Babysitting, LiveJournal, https://ohdanigirl.livejournal.com/. Accessed 2 February 2019.
Levin, Jennifer. Missing Since Sept, Blogger, http://jennylevin.blogspot.com/. Accessed 2 February 2019.
Mathers, Loreen. loreenmathers, LiveJournal, https://loreenmathers.livejournal.com/. Accessed 2 February 2019.
u/HIGHzurrer. “Information I'm dumping here for safekeeping.” Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/2hi7e6/information_im_dumping_here_for_safekeeping/. Accessed 2 February 2019.
The New Digital Storytelling. Bryan , Praeger,
2017. Santa Barbara