The OF Blog: Short bit involving this reader's biases in reading a text

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Short bit involving this reader's biases in reading a text

Tomorrow sometime, I am going to be writing a review of Brian Evenson's Last Days. I also may be interviewing him in the near future (at least that is in the works), so I decided that I would read through some of the links on his website. I came across a French review of Last Days and although my French is very elementary (to say the least), I began reading it. Near the beginning, the reviewer talks about how the main character has lost his right hand before the story begins. It was then that I paused and I went, "What?"

Not that I disbelieved the reviewer; it is in the text (yes, I made sure). It was rather that I had somehow imagined that it was his left hand, due to all the talk of Kline, the main character, having to learn how to use his other hand. Although strictly speaking, I am ambidextrous in that I can write, throw, and kick with either hand, I have a marked preference for using my left hand for carrying objects and I seem to have transferred this preference of mine into a reading of how the fictional character was dealing with his injury. Fascinating how subtle and subconscious-like one's views of the world can creep into the interpretation of a text, isn't it?


Elena said...

huh. that is interesting. i bet we do that a lot, and most of the time it doesn't come to our attention. only if it comes up if/when we discuss our impressions with someone else (taking "discuss" in a very general sort of way :)

Lsrry said...

I also have another thought of how this occurs, but it's a much less pleasant one dealing with a post I'll be making tomorrow that'll touch upon matters of interpreting ethnic differences in fiction.

Elena said...

i look forward to it. it will no doubt be insightful and thought-provoking and probably uncomfortable.

Lsrry said...

Uncomfortable? Likely so. About to start writing it, once I check and read a few things first.

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