Expressing an Emotion through a Stories Form

In classic literature the idea of the story, the message and emotions the author wants to convey are contained entirely within the text. What is to be taken from the experience of reading the story is laid out within the narrative and the narrative is arranged based on the conventions for the language used to write it. Compared to this post-modern literature has an edge; it can attempt to convey an emotion through the way the story is presented.

One example of this paradigm is the story Girl’s Day Out. In the poem section of this tale we first see a short story of two young women riding horses on a trail. On its surface this short narrative contains little more than a decently conflict oriented dairy entry. However when the reader clicks, as to signify further interest, this layer is peeled away to slowly show a poem about a host of unsolved murders that took place in the same area as the young women’s riding excursions. As pointed out by Victoria Lang in her blog entry “Powerlessness in the ‘Interactive’ Girls’ Day Out” the way the reader learns about the tragic murders taking place near to where the author spent portions of her childhood mirrors how the author herself first came into this knowledge. The author learned of something so nearly intimate to her in such a detached way, through a news paper article years later. The reader learns about the hidden tragedy through the slow reveal of phrases that draw in attention while making the way the information is transmitted plainly obvious. As such the reader feels the intimacy of a slow whispered message, but is experiences forced detachment due to the shifting locations of the relevant phrases.

A more drastic example of this method of forced empathy is Mandrake Vehicles, which as far as I can tell gives its meaning across only through the way it is told. In Mandrake Vehicles a poem is transformed via the movement and removal of letters to form a new poem, and then this process is repeated to form a third poem. Two other poem series are included on the Mandrake Vehicles page. I feel that each transforming poem series is meant to convey the feeling of coming to understand an idea. The process starts with a nearly incomprehensible page of text; the reader recognizes it as English and may even be able to understand snippets of the dialogue, but overall the whole block of text is nonsense. By clicking ahead through the page a layer of information is removed leaving something even more nonsensical, just like when you try to comprehend a problem only to find that your initial questions beget more questions. From there the process isolates and removes a variety of terms from the block of text, some simple words, and others proper nouns from famous literature. This portion of the piece maps to the portion of understanding where you look for things you already understand in a larger picture. Finally the information is synthesized to reveal a new, more comprehensible poem. Then this entire process is repeated, representing further research or contemplation, until finally much more understandable poem is discovered.

Rory Coble

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~ by rbc12 on January 23, 2011.

One Response to “Expressing an Emotion through a Stories Form”

  1. While you managed to hit each of the expectations for the blog posts, you did so in a very rambling, disoriented way. Next time try to focus your thoughts more specifically on what you want to say. Don’t write at the chosen message and hope it ends up on the page. Also giving the entry the benefit of a second read through a few days later is a very good idea.

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