Carving in Possibilities- from Electronic Literature

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As I moused my way over Deena Larson's Carving in Sculptures over and over again, I found myself getting closer to some sort of conclusion. But then there comes with that sense of completion, a growing doubt. Where does this doubt come from? Why does there seem to be that feeling of starting something without finishing?

That is the way of electronic literature, or hypertext fiction. From what I read on "Is Hypertext Fiction Possible?", it notes that if you compare hypertext literature with any other written form of literature (mostly on paper), hypertext breaks some of the rules of standard literature. The well-known philosopher, Aristotle, explains that a well-constructed plot can't begin or end at any point the reader likes. From my experience with hypertext writing, I like a definite plot that has one beginning and one end to it. We find that in most of the hypertext stories, the plot and the ending are up to the reader or nowhere to be found (there is usually a beginning point at least). The article summarizes that hypertext also calls into question related concepts such as: a fixed sequence, definite beginning and ending, a stories certain definite magnitude, and the conception of unity or wholeness.

The question of the author's credibility also comes into question with hypertext literature. Many readers feel that what they are reading takes away from what the author is trying to get across because essentially they are the ones making the decisions in the stories. The authors merely give the options. Or so it seems... This issue was addressed in a link from "Is Hypertext Fiction Possible?"  in a section entitled Hypertext, Fiction, and The Link . After reading the suggested sample of nonfiction literature, "Growing up Digerate", I was able to be clued in on how authors react to this theory of "losing the author". This author, Jeff Pack, says (of hypertext literature) that, "....your being drawn by specific phrases or ideas from memory to memory, following associations my mind created." The purpose is "to ideally convey an attitude." I think as readers we are too used to a linear way of thinking that we focus too much on what the content is giving us instead of how it is being given and in what context or events. So the authors are doing this on purpose to make readers think more and get deeply involved in the text as opposed to having everything layed out for us as we like it.

As a new reader of hypertext stories, I ran into many of these situations and got frustrated. However, I also realized there are several different kinds of hypertextual interactive stories. It is not always straight text with highlighted words that tends to get hard on the eyes. Many authors use creative features like imagesvideo, and interaction to get the reader more involved.

My selection of choice, as mentioned before, is the Carving in Possibilities piece. In order for me to clasp some sort of idea from the author's use of image and interaction I had to do further research. The beginning page mentioned the statue is of David from the story David and Golliath. It is Michelangelo's sculpture of David that is known around the world. I discovered that the image of his face, which is focused on in this literary text, captures his expression before the battle of David and Golliath. In the full length picture of the sculpture you can see his slingshot slung over his shoulder in preparation for the death of Golliath. As you scroll over the image of his face the words ellude to the battle preparation. It mentions how the people were scared (as they watched the giant), "he stands poised to strike", his arm is outstreched, ready like a hero. There are many words that describe the battle preparation but the author takes another spin on the actual statue and not on David as a young boy in the time this story happened. He poses questions like, where would he be if he was not stuck in the stone? "Will the stone hold your soul for ten thousand years?" "Who do you see in the corners of your eyes?"

 It's almost as if the author is trying to get the reader to identify with David. How would you feel if you were in David's shoes during the battle, after the battle, even as a statue? David's face almost looks worried or sad. The author also poses questions as to David's existence after his years as a King and hero, warning readers to "watch where they leave their ghosts." How will you be remembered after you are gone? Will you really be gone or will your existence be made entirely of stone. Also it makes us think of David's legacy. He is still remembered today but to what extent? I think the author is really trying to show us that when we are gone, we are not just gone. Parts of us live on through words, through writing, or sculptures or other people. It is just up to us to determine that; to carve out our own identities.   


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