The first time that I read this reading, I had no interest and struggled to finish it before losing interest. After reading it for the second time I have understood the reading and can find it quite enjoyable.
My first impression of the reading was because I read it in the wrong format. Although it is called ‘An Essay in Definition’ I tried to make it flow as a poem or lyric. When that failed I approached it as a narrative to no success. The main reason for this I believe was the layout. The layout of the reading is broken into small paragraphs, has no thesis and no linking statements. It therefor does not meet the traditional essay format that I am familiar with which was explained to me in high school. Once I re-read the reading and took it to be a snippet of an essay, evidence of different definitions for ‘blanket’ is when it all made sense to me. The reading is an interesting one when taken this way. It also has some humorous lines that give insight to the author.
As I stated earlier, I tried to read this text in numerous different ways, which shows in a way that it is an open text that is open for interpretation. It is also left open for the reader to add some more definitions of ‘blanket’. The definitions of ‘blanket’ that are listed are closed answers, as it is definitions, but the option to continue it leaves it open. The context of the reading is in Australia (that is who the audience is), and the topic of heat rash, Aborigines and some of the language used is recognised in Australia.
I also think that the topic of ‘blanket’ first put me off. I just thought that it was ridiculous and with no real point, not worth my time. Balancing University, Work and my Daughter leaves me little time to sit down and read so if it is not on a topic that will interest me, I tend to ignore it. However as this was a university reading I was required to read it. I found that the humorous elements in it allowed me to read it fully. I found that the class discussion that happened in the tutorials were useful in allowing me to understand and decide to give the reading another chance.
Other students found the reading interesting, which made me curious as to how I misinterpreted it that I did not understand it. In the class discussion, fellow students mentioned the informative aspect of it, and how they approached it as evidence in an essay, not as anything else, which is where I realised my error. Once I understood this I was well on my way to understanding the literature.
I believe that a certain amount of prior knowledge is required for this reading. The reader needs to know what terms like ‘bastard’ mean, and have an understanding of the language used. The language and sentence structure is in my opinion ‘dumbed down’ a little, but I suppose that is to add a bit of humour or simplify it to grab the attention of a wider audience. It is almost stereotypical to simplify the language for typical Australian’s. When reading the literature, I almost imagined an old Australian man from the outback reading it.
In the classroom, I think that I would use this piece of literature to allow students to look at writing that is aimed at Australian’s. I could also use it as a starting point to writing an essay. All of the different arguments that are presented to show the different uses of ‘blanket’ in the Australian language and how they can create an essay on ‘the term blanket can be used in numerous different ways’ with each section of Graham Jackson’s essay as a basis for arguments. The literature could also be used as stimulus for students to identify some of the textual elements present and what experimental fiction is.