A short, enclosed path leads into a drive; turn right, and from a stile on the left a path leads across a field to a road where you turn left for a few yards, past one house, to an iron gate under an arch.
In the road behind the hedge turn left and ignore all lanes to left and right until a house is reached on the left. Immediately opposite is a stone stile and a track, which you take through a wood. Avoid paths to the left until emerging from the wood, then keep to a hedge on the right along two fields and so skirt a farm on the left to the farm approach, turning right to the gate.
- Footpath Guides, The Wye Valley by Arthur Clarke.
The authorial voice is projected into the future, providing immediate and specific information from a temporal and physical distance. Overall this gives the text a dark, watchful and controlled undertone. The authority of the invisible guide puts the reader in a particularly obediant role, following out instructions given by a person not even present, and this relationship is reinforced by the reader's environment seeming to corroborate the author's instructions. When he says that there will be a track opposite, it is sure to be there.
Taken down the path of psychology, one could further infer that this relationship reflects that of a parent and child, one being lead/guided by the other in blind trust, but I'm more inclined to read a sexual undercurrent in the text. This is due to the fact that a dominant/submissive relationship has been established and one party is controlling the bodily actions of another. Of course this is not inherent in the text, just an already weighted reading on my part, but this style of writing lends itself well to the theme of sadomasochism and brings to mind the writing of Alain Robbe-Grillet.
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