One of the purposes of this story was to get you to grasp a picture of Brian before you started and then to subvert that picture by showing you what he really looked like. When you read the newspaper clipping it was likely that you pictured a big, brutish son who terrorized his family, not the short, boyish kid that Brian really is. Did your picture of him change any when you found out that he was gay? Did it make you sympathetic to him? Or did it make you spite him even more? Whether you read the poem at the beginning or not, definitely would affect your reading of the text. Your answer differs with respect to your background. You bring your experiences, your beliefs and ideas into the text with you. Your answer probably also differs depending on the way in which you experienced the story. If you followed only Brian's story in a linear path, you opinion of him is going to be different if you got his mother's opinions of him interspersed in your reading of the text. In this way you became the author to the way in which you experienced the text. The line between you and me and Brian becomes somehow blurred by hypertextuality. There is, a "plurality" given to the text. It has many layers and can be read in an infinite number of ways.
You aren't allowed the breathing space in hypertextuality that the printed text allows you to have. Printed mediums allow you some leeway in your interpretation and reading of the text. This leads to misinterpretations, for the reader, because he is not implicated in the text, is allowed to pick and choose what ever he so pleases. But because the hypertext work branches, and forces you, as the reader, to dictate the direction with which the narrative takes shape, it smothers you, disturbs you in its ability to subvert and redefine precepts that you hold as truths.
The narrator no longer controls the reader, as he does in the linear text. This notion is very unsettling to the reader at first. For he is accustomed to maintaining the voyeuristic relationship to the text I refered to in the lexia about Bakhtin. With this added responsibility the reader is forced to invest more of himself, he is forced in a sense, to read for the gaps, to be critical rather than unconditional in his evaluation of ideas in the text. This is a good thing, and should be applied not only to literary or critical works, but to all forms of print medium. For this is was one of the intentions of this work. To make you realize that you must question everything, to stop accepting the writen word as fact. There is the old adage which says that somthing is made valid because "I have it right here, in BLACK AND WHITE," Just because something is on paper does not mean that it is truth.
"The presence of multiple reading paths, which shift the balance between the reader to the writer, thereby creating Barthes' writerly text, also creates a text that exists far less independantly of commenary, analogues, and traditions than does printed text" (George Landow from Hypertext 2.0)
( cyberspace overview | hypertext overview | hypertext literature overview | go home )