Breaking the Script: Dress Code Strictly Enforced

The prisoner wearing a green uniform on the right and accompanying phrases on the left.

               Tona Wilson takes advantage of the codex with spiral binding for her book, Dress Code Strictly Enforced. The purpose of the book is to spread awareness of the biases, negative effects, and injustices of the American culture and dress, particularly in the court. Most of the pages consist of monologues on the left side of the page and a character on the right. However, these pages are split horizontally in two places across. Each “page” is actually three pages that can be viewed simultaneously. By using the spiral binding, a reader can flip through the different pages mixing the monologues and sections of characters. When flipping through the pages in the manner that we would normally, the characters we perceive do not strike us unusual. For instance, the image of a man wearing a prison uniform is one such character. The monologue on the right says, “The sentences are to / run consecutively, / so you will run the sentence after your original sentence of 35 years to life.” The monologue directed at the prisoner is also nothing striking. However, by flipping through the pages in the middle and bottom, we can create an unusual character: the head of our original prisoner, a torso with a shirt that reads, “I’m a party waiting to happen!” with the hands bound by zip ties in the front, and legs dressed in a knee length skirt and heels. The monologue now reads, “The sentences are to / be represented by counsel (and by that I mean an attorney) if that’s possible, Your Honor.” The image now presented is a bit non-sensical, but it serves a purpose in that it reminds us of the biases we hold perceiving people as stereotypes. Additionally, the script we adhere to in our discourse is ruptured reminding us to review how we speak and also of our programmed phrases.

A rearrangement of different pages forming a nonsensical monologue and an unusual character.

3 thoughts on “Breaking the Script: Dress Code Strictly Enforced”

  1. I think this book is ingenious. The cutout in the middle to create three separate sections is very interactive and brings into perspective. Although it is only three sheets of paper, it still has an order in which to read the poems on the left side. Although it was written by the author, it lets the reader choose what they want to see and with each page, there is a new message to interpret.

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  2. I think the style of this book absolutely helps share the books meaning.

    Plus, the fun interactive three halves setup almost reminds me of like children’s books, very easy to understand, or games like telephone. Something that at first may seem straightforward and normal can easily be altered and change your entire meaning and perspective on the story.

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  3. This is a brilliant way to keep s readers’ interest in a controversial topic. With many ways to manipulate the monologues and the illustrations adds an element of re-read value, arousing the readers’ intrigue in what each combination inspires for the corresponding page, and allowing them to put the pieces together for other combinations by use of repetition.

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