[27] Joyce, M. afternoon, a story, Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems, 1990.

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Connotation, meaning, and the pursuit of texture

In afternoon, a story's Directions, Joyce confesses: "I haven't indicated what words yield, but they are usually ones which have texture, as well as character names and pronouns." Character names and pronoun anchors serve to direct the reader to deeper understandings about people and thus serve a different navigational purpose than texture words.

We would contend, rather, that the act of making words anchors is what gives these words connotative texture in the first place. At times, this texture is confirmed by following the link.

These connotations and themes are not consistent throughout the work. On "everything rhymes" (Everything rhymes/<You think of me as brown, not ice> I said), the non default anchor is "brown" which leads us to the node "brown." But the texture of the word ends here, as brown on this node leads only to the default node. So the brown is not a textured word throughout afternoon but only in a specific place and context.

If anchors are what yield, then what is an anchor when every text yields?

afternoon uses the Storyspace [13] default of non-distinguished anchors, but also provides a default link for every node, so that the node is an anchor in itself. The main difficulty in following these hidden anchors is that every click provides a yielding: either to the default text or to a textured text. Where every word in Reach [28] and Charmin' Cleary [16] is part of an anchoral lexia, only a few words in afternoon are actually anchors. However, readers can click on a non-anchoral word and will get the next "default" node. In a sense, then, everything in afternoon is an anchor.

The only way to determine whether the word you clicked on was "highlighted" as a textured text or was a default link is to jiggle back and forth on one page to test all possibilities. When first starting to read afternoon, a story [27], this jiggling is almost straightforward, and there is a default sequence that "eases the new reader into afternoon. [122, p. 112] ." Jill Walker explains the introductory sequence and finds that "from this last node ("I call") I can only move by actively clicking on a word. [122, p. 111] " Actively clicking on a link triggers guard fields that guide the reading so that the same anchor can lead to different nodes, depending on what the reader has or has not seen. Jiggling to determine the anchors that yield at this point becomes impossible as the reader may be guided to another node after going back--even if she clicks on the same anchor.