The Function of Animation in “Girls’ Day Out”

Here is my blog post for the week, in which I decided to respond to Girls’ Day Out.

I can think of a lot of words to describe poetry, or at least the poetry I’ve read. Innovative. Confusing. Beautiful. One word that doesn’t immediately come to mind is “animated.”

I thought that the use of animation in Girls’ Day Out had a very specific function – to enhance the reader’s experience and reenforce an overarching theme in both of the poems. So much of the meaning of a poem usually lies in between the lines of the text and requires the reader to engage with not only what the text is saying, but what it really means on a deeper level.

On the surface, these poems are about the Star Dust Trail, the tragedy that happened there, and the author’s personal connection to it. Could the author have just written a straightforward story about it? Sure. Would it have had the same effect?

Definitely not.

In my Advanced Reporting class last semester, my professor (Leslie Rubinkowski…if you ever have to take a journalism class, take her!) asked the same 2 questions about every story we worked with, whether it was one we were reading or one of our own. What’s the story about? What’s the story really about?

Girls’ Day Out is about so much more than what happened to these girls, or at least that’s the way I read it. It’s about being so close to something and not even realizing it. It’s about realizing that there’s more to a situation than what meets the eye. It’s about the naïvety that comes with not looking beneath the surface of something.

That’s why I think the animation is so symbolic. What better way to stress the idea that there’s often more to a situation than what we see than to literally expose the words that were hidden among the original text of the poem to give us a new meaning and deeper understanding of the text?

By nature, I’m an overanalyzer, so this might not have been the author’s intention. But isn’t that the beauty of really great poetry, or really great literature in general? If you could only derive one possible meaning from the works of Plato, for example, philosophers wouldn’t still be arguing about it centuries later and I probably wouldn’t be taking an entire class dedicated to it.

So whether or not the intention of the author, in deciding to animate the text in this way, was to reenforce the idea that things aren’t always as they seem, I still think it’s an important thing to keep in mind.

-Julie Howell

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~ by juliehowell on January 19, 2011.

One Response to “The Function of Animation in “Girls’ Day Out””

  1. If I were to revise this post:

    Basically, I’d go into more depth about what I’m trying to say. I discussed how I think one of the functions of the animation is to reenforce the theme of the poem. But that’s a pretty broad statement and could use some elaboration. The animation itself does a lot of things. Words move, but they don’t change for example. Colors, fonts, and the physical shape that the poem takes changes as you read it, and each of those individual things could be picked apart and analyzed in terms of what it’s doing and the relationship it has with the overarching theme.

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