Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where Have all the Humans Gone

In the beginning of her graduate career, N. Katherine Hayles encounters another student who tells her, “‘the trouble with you is that you think you are solving problems’”(Hayles, 15). Although she agrees with the student about her behavior, her entire book seems more like a quest to find an answer and be right about the answer she finds as opposed to an exploration into the realm of writing. Although Hayles does go on a personal quest throughout different styles of writing, she hardly mentions the human agency present in what is being read. She does mention how context can effect the way you look at a picture; however, she does not delve into the context of ones own schemata and how that may effect the reading of a book whether it be in print or hypertext. Throughout the entirety of her book, I kept wishing that Hayles would push the envelope of her thinking as opposed to citing how well read and therefore intelligent and well read she is.
Hayles seems blinded by her want to find an answer that she does not address the questions that she sets forth. I am not convinced that literature is transforming itself. Similar to the video in which the man needed a help desk to teach him how to use a book, every human is relearning how to express themselves in different ways. The limitations present in expression exist because of the medium, the person crating them, and the person receiving the expression. It is impossible to control what a person receives from what you have created. After this drawn u rant, it is obvious to restate my obvious assertion that there is a world of agency that Hayles (maybe purposefully) does not examine thoroughly in her book.

-Ashley R.


mike's spot said...

I agree Ashley- Hayles work leaves more than few holes. Though we focused on different aspects in which we each felt her work was lacking, the theme is the same.

to much egotism to get the job done effectively.

Lance Strate said...

But to the point about human agency, I would counter, in Hayles's defense, that we more often tend to overemphasize human agency, precisely due to our own egos, and overemphasize our ability to control the forces we let loose, our technologies.