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“Click” by John Barth Essay

Barth insight on the worlds technological advancement with computers gave him a good start on an interesting story. By incorporating today’s living with literature he turn out Click. “Click” some hated it, but some liked it. I think the lack of understanding of this story is what caused those people to dislike the story; the fact that the story was very long also had something to do with it. I will present the in-depth thought that made me understand and really like the story. Also I will put some points from the elements of fiction. I really like the concepts “Click” presented when I read it. There were some thoughts that the writer expressed, then there were some that was more in-depth and you had to think about. So lets begin the argument.

One explicit theme to ‘Click’ is told best by Barth, “The Hypertextuality of Everyday Life”(73). Where each word can take you further and further into a maze of choices. The choices can go deeper which defines the terms of what you read. Those terms travels along side the paths of day by day activities. Until you get to an endless sea of terms, “given time and clicks enough, you will have ‘accessed’ virtually the sum of language, the entire expressible world. That’s ‘hypertext,'(75). I understood the combination of these words that are expressed to the fullest extent to be part of this story. The author gave so many side notes in parentheses or any other expressible notation that it could have drove the reader to throw the book against the wall. So, as Barth does so when he goes to express himself with the following “(because all these digressions, suspensions, parentheses, and brackets are setting the Narrator’s teeth on edge….)”(77). The text will be to long to show an example from the story.

Lets try it anyway “(Parenthesized elements in this case = amplification that might indeed be cut, but might instead well be ‘hypertexted’ behind the bare-bones description, to accessed on demand, just as further amplifications [not given, but perhaps hypertexted] might lie behind {any highlighted/underlined words})” (76). With this quote you can click on the word that you want to get the information on. If you haven’t figured it out yet hypertext is usually used on a computer thus comes the title “Click”. Where the computer is the gateway to many passages to more information than any one human brain can handle. Where someone well rehearsed can crack the highest of security codes with the whelms of their thought; all the way through to the illiterate who use two fingers instead of ten. Wait I’m getting sidetracked, which brings me to my next point of the story.

Where “the flashy home page of their Web-server program, actually encouraging her (the character) to sidetrack here and there in the What’s new? And What’s Cool? Departments” .(78) Where the web give you so many options to go down. I don’t know if any one person can honestly navigate through the entanglement of “the World Wide Web (WWW), [without] the deployment of ‘bookmarks’ as shortcuts through that electronic labyrinth, the black hole of leisure and very antidote to spare time.” (77) It would have been to frustrating and so over whelming to be focus on one particular thing. Although once you start the journey that’s all one has is time when getting on the internet. Clicking is an action with a choice in a computer’s world. You can get lost with that massive instrument.

You can also get lost with the twists of everyday life too. If you assume “everybody knows, after all (or believes that he or she know,) what ‘everyday life’ is, different as may be the everyday lives of , say, Kuwaiti oil sheikhs and American felons serving life sentences in maximum-security prisons without possibility of parole”.(74) You just deal with all the little conflicts and dilemmas. Where some one’s life can be painstakingly slow. While another’s is speed right through. The point of view of life will always be held by that individual. Where the authors point of view in this story varies. It goes from the third to the first then to the audience. The story is letting’s us experience the everyday life of each character. It is how their lives intertwine that make the story.

A good story is drawn on many basis. Barth bring ups the point if a story has “this constant sidetracking, this what’s-the-rush digression, can take the edge off the main event by the time one gets to it, the way some restaurants lay on so many introductory courses and side dishes that one has no appetite for the entrée”. (82) This concept with drain the life out the story or overly stuff them with tedious details. The audience will lose interest which will distract them from what the author wants to get through to them.

If the story holds the “full agenda [which] was a single item, [the] top priority always and only the bottom line, [the] eternal (and infernal) Let’s get on with the story in fact a Let’s get done with the story, for the reason”, (83) of a means to an end. The story will be so short that you won’t have much to go on to understanding the story in the first place. These two concepts alone causes a story to tarnish and be a waste of paper in some since. It is the combination of the two that makes a great story. “Its between fundamentally opposite views of and modes of dealing with the infinitely complex nature of reality” (87).

The center of narrative gravity pulls us to the perception of reality on this story. Without the ying there is no yang that holds the boundaries of a story. “Their tendencies represent contrary narrative impulses of equal validity and importance.” (90) The opposites of each other that counterbalance themselves. Give us “[a] satisfyingly told story requires enough [Ying]—that is, enough detail amplification, and analysis— to give it clarity, texture, solidity, verisimilitude, and empathetic effect.” (90) The detail terms that can be taken out of the parenthesis sometime with give that require information (that hypertexted).

“It [also] requires equally enough [Yang]—that is, efficiently directed forward motion, ‘profluence,’ on-with-the-storyness– for coherence, anti-tedium, and dramatic effect.” (90). The story has to keep to a single track, because if you split it up to much you have multiple stories with no ending. Where “CNG’s interactive E-fiction serendipitously supply the terms ‘Expediter’ and ‘Enhancer’ to shorthand the characterological differences that erupted”,(87) expediter being Mark and the enhancer being Valerie.

Valerie the ying of the story. The one who you need to fill the story in with enough details to help the reader understand what it is all about. Where Valerie validates what Marks role have to do with the story by saying his concept is “who gave a damn?–[Mark’s] idea of living life was the same, Let’s get done with it, [an example of her situation] every time she saw him ready and fidgeting in the car a full ten minutes earlier than he knew as well as she they needed to leave for work, she was tempted to suggest that they drive straight to the funeral parlor and get done with it.” (83) That is what the expediter can’t help but do. Val’s statement ” ‘I thought you were the big moving-onner and I was the over-dwelling-on-things.’ “(88) The author gave us a foreshadowing uncharacteristic of, the intrapersonal relationship with Mark, Valerie where “(Val ‘s better than Mark, we remember, at shrugging off their infrequent blowups)”. (87) Although by the end of the story you have “Val (who, decidedly herself even after deciding to be more Marklike)”, (91) Which we will confront of Marks behave.

Then there is Mark the yang of the story. You need him to get to the point of the story and not to lead you to different paths that are available to access in the story. Where his thoughts were “having no timetable or deadlines doesn’t mean having no agenda or priorities”, (82) to give and example “Expediter and enhancer in the Supermarket, he with grocery list in one hand, pencil in other, and eye on watch, she already examining the (unlisted) radicchio and improvising new menu plans down the line…”, (79). Where that is the Enhancer for you, the person who comes up with more of the story and gives you a better “taste” variety. Where his uncharacteristic foreshadowing is shown with, “He’s less ready to take offense, but slower to put their occasional tiffs behind him.” (81). Also “(Val’s better than Mark, we remember, he tends to forget that and to project from his own distress [of dwelling on their argument longer ])”, (87). When toward the end “Mark (inescapably himself even when determined to be more Valish)” (91). The contradictory of the two characters gave the story its base.

The “anonymous oddball whose homepage [was] http://www.epiphs.art” (78) alias CNG “who happened just then to be passing by and sympathetically so saw and heard them [at that horrible Saturday quarrel], or a couple not unlike them, toe-to-toeing it, and who then subsequently was inspired to imagine.” (84) Created and gave us the fictional story of Irma and Fred, who are the replacement to Valerie and Mark. They where part of the beginning (of the end) of the story.

They along with millions of other names in the world are made up identities in order for its users to surf the web freely. It could also represent the wants of that individual to be someone else other than themselves. Although we are not going to get into that ordeal. The setup of the story begins with the near ending which in Marks case is “Lets be done with it” morality. CNG who is the supposedly author/narrator of the “Click” story. Kind of at first threw me off, because I thought the story was going to be a third person point of view. Well once the ideal of the end of the Irma and Fred story here comes the bulk of the actual story, where the Val morality is used.

When the end of the end came it left me wanting more. “Valerie lifts one [long] [lithe] [cinnamon-tan] leg up and with her [left] [great] toe gives the Mac’ master switch a” (92). WHAT? I would have yell if I wasn’t in a crowded area when I read that last page. It leaves you with the daunting of the hypertexts of choices. Since this is a book you wouldn’t be able click on any of the above words to get the ending. You left tittering on the edge of a cliff that drops for days on ends. The taunting the author leaves you by not using the Mark in any good story. Yet that was his aim even for the ending to turn out to be happy and open to imagination.


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