A Hazy Maze of Mirth and Muck

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Thanks to Maddie, I used an approach similar to her's in responding to these readings.  (I was unsure how and where to write what!)

My feelings:

I got the strong image of walking through a maze as a read The University of Yellow Wallpaper. At every turn, several different paths presented themselves.  Some of them lead me back to places I've already been.  Some of them gave me the option of going back to a familiar place, and some of them lead me to completely new places.  Not only did the hyperlinks in the text, in other words, the essential structure of the text, make me feel in this maze-like state, but the text itself also made me feel this way.  Some of the text seemed to be forming coherent links between one another (but I never seemed to read these texts in successive order), while others seemed completely unrelated.

Another, less metaphorical realization I had while reading this text was the inherent differences between it and the web writing suggested by Killian.  The two couldn't possibly be any different.  Kilian wants simplicity, in words, sentences, and paragraphs.  Kilian wants orientation.  This text, meanwhile, takes the notion of orientation and throws it out the window.  Readers must orient themselves, use their mind, their reasoning to make connections; but this doesn't seem essential.  Wandering the maze in complete ignorance is just fine as well.

Close Reading:

Author Caroline E. White uses multiple symbols and extended metaphors to represent the birth, evolution, and struggle of creative hypertext to break the standards of both print literature and web-based text and establish itself as a new genre.  The much repeated phrases, "I know this is a wonderful moment," and "Dwelling in this present moment" relates to the benefits of reading hypertext literature; focusing on the present text, one page at a time, free from chronology.  The use of the "infant" and the "womb" convey the novelty of hypertext, while the struggling student, written in the first person, represents traditional literature and the threat that hypertext seemingly poses, which is captured in phrases like: " I crawled through the kitchen window, where the light was on, upset and unable to move, I knew not where to go for terror brought me to my senses again and, realizing I was lost, I went back to class. " and "it seems I am right on the verge of deletion."

 

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3 Comments

Daniella Choynowski said:

What I noticed right away is the title's reference to The Yellow Wallpaper, so I had a suspicion that the text was going to be confusing. That original story is about twisting and turning, a woman's madness. The twists and turns are a central part of hypertext fiction, so it is no wonder that the two stories were able to mesh so well.

The interspersing of text from The Yellow Wallpaper and hypertext scholars reminded the reader of the connection the author was trying to make. I don't believe there was an end to this story (not one that I could find). Everything looped back to everything else eventually. Is that madness? Yes, but it's also hypertext.

I know what you mean, Jackie. I felt the same way while going through this site. I figured it would be like that, ut at the same to I expected the whole thing to make sense in the end.

I feel that it didn't. In my blog I compared it to those mystery novels that you can either keep reading it as is, or go to a different page and the story still makes sense. Only with White's website, I still found myself confused, even after going through all the pages. :(

Jed Fetterman said:

I think that you could search through the website for years and not get the complete work. I think that most of the pages could be found, but there always could be that one missing link (no pun intended) that remains unfound. I think that as long as readers understand that it is confusing and circular, then the author did a good job. Obviously, I cannot read the thing closely based on that, but it gets some ideas going.

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