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October 7, 2008

"Faith has a higher faculty than reason."

The poem "Faith" by Robert Kendall is a compelling account of what faith is, as opposed to logic and how faith can be redefined through new uses of technology. Kendall is able to make all of this work through the use of style of words, animation, audio, and the text itself.

First talking about the visual style of the words, on the index page of "Faith" the viewer can see that the typeface of the words and the illustration is imminent of what older versions of the Bible looked like. Also, the viewer can see that the word "Faith" is in a different type face than the other words, on the main page.  Faith is in a typeface that looks similar to those that were commonly used in older versions of the Bible, as well and with that Bible typeface look, gives Kendall the ability to show the common idea of faith relating to the Bible and how Christians are able to have faith in something that is not scientifically proven or that is always logically sound. With this tie to the Bible, we can see that Kendall is referring to that out on a limb, all or nothing, kind of faith in his electronic literature.

Furthermore, the animation of "Faith" shows the poem in five stages; the first stage shows the word "logic" continually falling down, hitting off of the word "faith" and then falling off the page, next the viewer sees the sentence "logic can't bend this," through this animation and view of this first sentence, the viewer sees that Kendall views faith as a higher faculty than reason, or logic. By using the line "logic can't bend this," (this meaning faith) shows that Kendall feels that faith is stronger than logic and logic is unable to shake (or bend) faith.

Along with the animation of the first stage; the animation of the second stage adds words to the first sentence to make a more developed idea of logic being less powerful than faith. The next stage adds even more words to farther this idea, but to do so, this time the words are not just added to the text that was there. The new words bounced and blinked on to the screen, in to place and they stretched out some words to add more letters to make new words and more sentences. Along with that, the next stage shows more words being added by fading them in, but all the while still enforcing the same idea that faith is higher than logic.

In the fourth stage, the viewer sees the line "off the rocker," and the word "leap" take the form of the action they create. "Off the rocker" tilts off the straight lines that the animation has formed and the word "leap" grows to take over the page and then leaps off the page. The final stage of the poem is all of the text falling to the bottom of the page, but leaves the sentence "just to sum up:" left, as the title, "Faith" falls as well, landing on top of the other words leaving the viewer with the final sentence, "just to sum up Faith."

Along with the use of animation, electronic literature is able to use audio to make the text more relatable and interesting to the reader. This use of audio sounds like what random keys on a church organ would sound like if someone was just playing around on it. The audio being that of a church organ that is typically used during worship services, reinforces the point that Kendall is relating his poem to the faith Christians have in the Bible. Also, the audio use of chimes in this electronic piece of literature furthers the point of the church's use of musical instruments during worship because many churches use chimes to start the services and during special occasions, use chimes as an addition to the use of music in worship. Another form of audio that is most prevalent in the second stage is that of the harp. The harp is another tie to the Christian faith belief because in some Christian art, harps are used in pictures of angels to show harmony and peace.

Through this use of Kendall's choice of word style, animation and audio in his electronic literature, the viewer is able to understand the idea of the poem, "Faith" being that faith is stronger than logic. Though the use of logic is meaningful in some instances, through Kendall's poem, we can see that though faith does not always make the most sense, it feels right and leads us to some of our best conclusions. The way Kendall used word style, animation and audio in this piece, we not only are led to read the text to understand the idea, but also read everything else that goes on, on the screen to get the full meaning of the word and Kendall's definition of faith.

1 Comment

The electronic element of these texts makes them more difficult for me. Not only do you need to read and reread the text, but you also have to pay attention to sounds and animations to get the full meaning. It adds another layer that to the already thick English language, but that does not necessarily detract from the works.

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