Illusions, Delusions, Reality?
(As I was writing this, I think my personal feelings started to combine with aspects of a close read...)
At first impression, this text reminded me of the style of writing in Girl, Interrupted or Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Like these texts (or at least my interpretations of these texts), The Body is blurring the lines between what is real and what is not. The author's use of the first person, and this narrator's personal interaction with the seeming contradictions in the world, are especially helpful in establishing an idea of fluidity about the world; nothing is concrete, nothing is what it seems. Take for instance the eyes, how they can each reveal "two completely different worlds." And although the author chooses one “world” over the other, he has "ever since...been haunted by the feeling that this world is insufficiently real." Similarly, the nose establishes a sense of contradiction: it can perform many different, contrasting tasks, as the narrator says: "I can wrinkle it in distaste. I can wiggle my nostrils rhythmically. I can 'make a long nose.' I can thrust it into small, tight places. I can nuzzle things softly. I can blow streams of bubbles underwater. I can make a loud reproachful sound, like a krummhorn." But in another world, from another view, there exists a world without noses, where all the helpful tasks of the nose are absent, and the nose is reduced to a "blemish."
And because this text is written in hypertext form, unlike The Bell Jar or Girl, Interrupted, its sense of blurred reality and surrealism comes effortlessly; whereas the other texts had to fight against the traditional, linear mode of the novel. In The Body, a complex, almost multi-dimensional world flows effortlessly from the hypertext. At the same time, however, I think the author is able to establish a sense of interconnectedness and coherency with the opening page; the use of the picture of the body and its links is the one constant running throughout the contrasts and the oppositions of reality that comprise the rest of the text. This, of course, would be ineffective in traditional text, if not altogether impossible to recreate.
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