If you read last week’s blog you know I am re-reading some of Rushdies’s work this summer. Three texts so far; I just finished ‘Midnight’s Children.’ I am undone! What has happened to me as a reader? I find myself asking questions like who is the implied reader. I have to really think about that. Can it be me? It might be. Is this narrator reliable? Rushdies’s narrator raises the question of his own reliability. By doing so does he make me believe things that are unbelievable? Why do I believe them? Because they really are true? I am put in this provocative position from the first word to the last. This narrative technique makes me accept as true things that could not otherwise be believed. For me, perceiving these aspects of a text is a rather new and truly a marvelous reading experience.
It is a marvelous experience based upon what I call the mysterious process of reading and what might be the equally mysterious process of writing. It is wonderful knowing these things are present in the text. I want to re-read every book I have ever read to see if my experience is the same. Is it me or Rushdie’s writing? I am not alone in this text; Booth’s implied author is a gripping presence. The palpably intelligent implied author in ‘Midnight’s Children’ is a bit of an intellectual tease causing me to constantly question if I can grasp what is implied. He asks if I will deny the experience or come along with the story. Since coming along is consensual my acceptance makes an incredible world become true. I tried resisting; I am positioned as a reader and recognize when it happens. It is a different reading experience because I feel what is going on.Let me tell you something about my reading experience in this program so far. Using Approaches to Text materials with Explorations 2* texts was a revelation in the power of narrative. I got an education regarding art, society and discourse reading Renaissance Comedy* and sobbed my way through Explorations 1*. I wonder what I would now think of how those emotional texts cope with epic material, literally and figuratively. *[Unit Outlines and Reading Lists]
The epic events Rushdie makes human in ‘Midnight’s Children’ with characters like ‘the most charming man in the world’ and ‘the girl with eyes as wide as saucers,’ his narrator and the implied author gave me a startling reading experience. I recognized what has happened to me as a reader over the last three years.
It is very satisfying to understand wonderfully complex things happen as I read. It enhances my reading pleasure. I am so taken with ‘Midnight’s Children’ because of how it affects me; not just emotionally although it is a remarkably emotional story but because of my response as a reader. Now reading is an active, even intimate, experience. Barthes is right, aesthetically and intellectually this text seduces. It is jouissance and I have got a bit of a crush.