Monday, February 2, 2009

Paul D. Found "I Made Tea" by Joe Davis

I chose the Joe Davis piece because it is about one of my favourite things - tea. The starting phrase "I made tea" is sufficient to tell that part of the story. Well, it is the story. "I made tea" by itself carries enough description to allow the mind to fill in the action of making tea. In the context of reader response theory, this allows each reader to interpret the activity in their own way.

There are however, additional layers of information and detail to be accessed if the reader wants to. By revealling all of the text, the ability of the reader to have their own interpretation is diminished - the "blanks" are filled in. There are some highly descriptive sections, "The kettle began grumbling fiercely", and "as I glanced outside for a minute across the city mist. I could almost taste the grey" being two examples.

While a clever idea, it seems that the amount of expansion is there only to prove the idea works. There is a "Reality Effect" at work, whereby the author is adding too much detail in an attempt to make the passage more real.


Jess said...

Thanks for posting your reading response Paul; interesting choice of work and great screen capture.

Have you ever read a work like this before?

What did you think the story would be about before you read "I Made Tea?" Did that initial idea match up with your feeling when you finished the story?

Do you think it's possible that each additional layer of information/description also provides opportunity for Iserian "gaps"? (chances for more meaning-making)? In fact, in all texts Iser sees a "superabundance of possibilities." For example, clicking on the word "taste" in "taste the grey" which appears later in the story, turns into "almost taste they grey." That's an interesting change from definite to indefinite... Also the kettle changes from full, to half-full. What about the first the narrator "looked" for them, then was "looking." How does the tense change affect the story?

You haven't said anything about the reading process itself, the necessity (or perhaps not?) to keep clicking until "all" the story is uncovered. Did that interrupt the unfolding of the narrative for you or was it all just part of the story?

Paul D. Found said...

No, I have never read anything in that style before. It's almost like watching the films The Usual Suspects or Momento though, where the story is revealed in "flashback" - when you click, more of the story is revealed.

The title of the story did give a big clue as to what it is about. Like I said, "I made tea" IS the story in itself.

The reading process itself is, I think, interrupted by having to click to reveal more of the story. To be perfectly honest, I got fed up with having to do it after a while, and clicked everything and read it all, rather than doing it in stages.