Old Media vs New Media

A question that has often been asked quite frequently within the literature world is, “Have new forms of digital media replaced the traditional methods that have been so predominantly used within society for the past few decades?” In the short digital movie “Lost and Found” by Jeff Leinaweaver, Jeff, an orphan, describes the connection his family has had with a particular aircraft known as the 1958 Piper Tri-pacer N8722D.

Storycenter, the platform on which “Lost and Found” and many other short digital fiction stories are told upon allows the producers or authors to create short clips and allow aspects within their works such as voice and imagery to play a role within their story. It invites the viewer to make a connection with the author and truly experience the story from his or her viewpoint.

Though this emotional attachment may be beneficial to Storycenter, there are many more drawbacks which deteriorate the value of this type of platform. The length of the movies is of particular interest as they do not allow enough time to understand the full story and does not allow for a complete connection. The characters of the Storycenter clips are very underdeveloped compared to a book, which makes it difficult to genuinely bond with the characters of the tale. The brief and compact digital stories also have no real introduction or conclusion for the story itself, leaving the viewer often feeling as if there is no beginning or ending to the story, just a series of images pieced together hastily in the form of a 2-4 minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reOeaqTb42Y

Story Gallery. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.storycenter.org/story-g allery//lost-and-found-by-jeff-leinaweaver

Jett, Travis. 1958 Piper Tripacer. 2006. New Hampshire. Airport Data. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/000008363.html.

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Gaming: The Newest Form of Storytelling

Gone Home by The Fullbright Company, is a short story created in the form of an interactive first-person game. The game narrates the story of the return of Kaitlin Greenbriar as she returns home from studying abroad. Each character throughout the game is dealing with his or her own issues. Initially after playing the game, many players would believe that the story ends with the theme of sadness. Through further examination, it is evident that the theme of happiness is present during the final stages of the game.

At the beginning stages, Terry is depicted to be an alcoholic with all the booze that is lying around in his work space and we realize that he is slowly losing his job since his books are not selling. Janice, Terry’s wife is having an affair and is quietly slipping away from her family. Even Sam has her fair share of issues as the move to Portland has troubled her with her social life and she finds it difficult to share the details about her relationship with Loonie with her parents.

After further analyzing the game and solving some of the mysteries, it is realized that the characters are doing better than they are initially portrayed to be. Themes of hope and happiness are present during the latter part of the game as Loonie and Sam resolve their issues and Sam goes off to meet her lover. Terry has established himself with a new publisher and is writing books with a different outlook on life, making his new publications successful. Janice and Terry are also resolving the issues that they have with their relationship by attending the couples retreat, and it is evident that the couple are making a considerable effort towards fixing these problems through the advice book that is found in the washroom.

https://gonehome.game/

Gone Home. The Fullbright Company. January 12, 2016. Video Game.

Company, Fullbright. Gone Home. N.d. The Fullbright Company. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. https://fullbright.company/gonehome/.

The Power of Images

 

“How to Solve a Murder” by Jill Hilbrenner is a podcast analysis about a 29-year veteran detective named Tim Marcia who is attempting to solve the murder case of Kari Lenander, a teenage girl killed in Los Angeles in the 1980’s.

The first picture I chose titled “Unsolved Murder” is representative of the central idea of the podcast analysis. Through the letters spelled across the image, the picture helps provide an overall message and concise idea about the main topic the story will address.

The image titled “A Bloody Mess” and the bathtub with the luminol forensic detection light represent the DNA used within the analysis. DNA such as the one described in the images would not have been available in the past when the murder first took place, but have now been instrumental in convicting many individuals that would have previously gotten away. It has also played an important role as mentioned by Tim Marcia as he states that they were once really close to condemning the individual that they believed to be the murderer, but DNA evidence proved otherwise, and led to the release of that person. Additionally, DNA now helps assist investigators in pursuing accurate convictions, decreasing the chances of an innocent man serving time in jail.

The photo of the police station and the interrogation room represent the tactics and strategies used by detectives throughout their murder investigation. These buildings serve as key aspects for investigations as most of the research and interviewing is done in places such as these. The interrogation room also serves as a great platform to record and question individuals as they are being interviewed, and in addition, the room creates an intimidating atmosphere where individuals are more likely to tell the truth and divulge what they know, compared to the home or the street, where an individual may feel more comfortable and reason that lying to the investigators would be acceptable.

https://www.theguardian.com/how-to-solve-a-murder

“How To Solve A Murder.” Interview. Audio blog post. The Guardian. The Guardian, 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 25 Mar. 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/how-to-solve-a-murder.

Pinterest. 2014. Library Square Museum Street, YO1 7DS United Kingdom, London. York Explore. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/event/save-your-ideas-with-pinterest/.

Like Father, Not Like Son

A Disenchanting Reunion

John Cheever, an American born writer from Massachusetts, was among the many who struggled during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. At 17 years of age, Cheever published one of his very first works, known as “Expelled.” After travelling through Europe with his brother, Cheever eventually came back to America and settled in New York, where he got married and worked as a writer and editor for numerous movies and newspaper companies (“John Cheever,” Encylopedia.com). In 1962, Cheever’s highly appraised short story “Reunion” was first published in The New Yorker.

“Reunion,”  is voiced in Richard Ford’s podcast, and tells the story about a young boy named Charlie who reconnects with his father at a train station in New York, after three years apart from each other. Due to time constraints, Charlie and his father decide to find a place to dine near Charlie’s train stop. By associating with each other, Charlie quickly discovers the type of man his father is, and learns the reason they have spent so many years apart from one another.  

By modelling themes of disappointment and rudeness throughout the story, Cheever successfully mocks the idea that reconnecting with a loved one will result in a positive or pleasurable outcome. From the beginning of the story, Charlie is excited to meet with his father and restore their relationship. After initially meeting his father, Charlie states “I wished that we could be photographed. I wanted some record of our having been together” (Cheever, 45).  However, Charlie soon realizes that his father is not the man he expected him to be, as Charlie does not get much of a chance to speak and actually connect with his father. The father does most of the conversing throughout the story, often yelling at waiters rather than speaking with his son. Speaking impolitely and in an ill-mannered fashion also portrays that the father is a jerk and does not care much for other human beings, which could be the reason why he had avoided seeing his son for quite a few years.  

Furthermore, alcoholism plays a role in the rudeness depicted by Charlie’s father. Sitting down and having a drink with another person usually symbolizes people connecting with one another, but in “Reunion,” alcoholism disconnects Charlie from his father, leading him to be dissatisfied with the time they spent together. Interestingly, Charlie’s dad’s name is not revealed by Cheever at any point. Since the story is told in Charlie’s point of view, the father remaining nameless could represent Charlie’s opinion regarding his father, as one who is no longer an important figure in his life.

Listening to Richard Ford tell the story “Reunion,” was a different and unique way of learning and understanding a work of literature. Though many people prefer the traditional method of having a book in their hand and reading the actual text, listening to the story as a podcast helps add emotion and comprehension that may often be missed or overlooked while simply reading a book. Additionally, listening through the podcast can help one focus and not have one’s mind wander elsewhere, which may happen to someone when they are reading a text that they may find difficult to engage with.

Works Cited

Cheever, John. “Reunion.” The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 1962: 45. Print.

“John Cheever.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Encyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2017. http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/american-literature-biographies/john-cheever

“Richard Ford and Deborah Treisman read John Cheever.” The New Yorker Fiction Podcast from Condé Nast Publications, 10 May 2016, http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/ reunions

A Tale of Deception

Critical Analysis of Theme

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl is a short story about a woman by the name of Mary Maloney, who is married to her husband Patrick Maloney, a police officer. Mary is characterized to be the stereotypical 1950’s housewife, as she stays at home, makes food for her husband, is always respectful, and cares very much for her husband. However, the plot quickly takes a turn as Patrick tells Mary that he is leaving her. Patrick does not physically say this as dialogue within the story, though it is assumed by the reader that this is what he had meant. This leads Mary to kill her husband Patrick by hitting him in the head with a frozen piece of lamb and then playing it all off by visiting a local grocery store, acting surprised to the police, and feeding the investigators the lamb used to kill her husband.

The central theme developed by Dahl throughout the story is that those who may appear to be innocent may be anything but that. Mary Maloney is a housewife that is shown to be caring and respectful towards her husband, therefore no one suspects her to be the murderer. Additionally, Mary plays off the whole incident very well as she visits the grocer with a positive attitude. Though Mary is perceived by the public as a loyal housewife and an innocent widow, in reality she has a double identity which no one else is able to realize.

http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/docview/1301547458/fulltext/D28F2AB2363541B0PQ/1?accountid=13800

Dahl, Roald. “LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER-A Story.” Harper’s Magazine Sep 01 1953: 39. ProQuest. Web. 19 Feb. 2017 .

Innocent Guilty. 2015. Newson & Gapasin Attorneys At Law . Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://www.militarylawyer-defense.com/are-you-guilty-until-proven-innocent-in-the-military/&gt;.

Blogging: Modern Day’s Literature

Critical Interpretation of a Digital Surrogate

The original digital fiction of “Slice” by Toby Litt is a work of literature constructed by the viewpoints of two different individuals in the form of blogs. Within the short story, a young girl and her family move to London to begin a fresh start after having lived in America for quite some time. Though the trip was intended to be temporary, the family resides there longer as we are told that the family who originally lived there has suddenly passed away in a car accident. The young girl, followed by her parents, end up going through a mysterious hole in the backyard of the property where the story ends in an unresolved manner.

The remediation of the short story into the form of blogs is successful as it allows the reader to experience and learn new, varying aspects and personal traits for each of the narrators. For one, Lisa’s blogs contain both current moods and current music. This information allows the reader to understand the thoughts and emotions that Lisa may be having at the time and allows us to engage with the characters and the story more effectively. The dates and times on both the parents and Lisa’s blogs as well as the working links to other digital and social media formats help make the story seem more plausible, which in turn help immerse the reader into the story. The blog format itself made reading the entire piece of literature much more enjoyable as the division of the blogs help keep the reader intrigued and excited to read further, compared to a traditional short story which may have big blocks of text all on one page.

Litt, Toby. “Slice.” Web log post. We Tell Stories. Penguin Books Ltd. , 24 Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://www.wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week2/&gt;.

Disney. Rabbit Hole. N.d. London, England. The Disney Wiki. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. <http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Rabbit_Hole&gt;.

http://www.wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week2/

A Case of Affliction

Critical Interpretation of a Digital Story

In ‘Mary Gaitskill reads Vladimir Nabokov’s “Signs and Symbols,”’ Gaitskill tells the story of a Russian couple who are visiting their mentally ill son who has been receiving treatment within a nearby sanitarium. Nabokov creates a central theme of suffering throughout the story.

To start off, the couple are Russian Jews who were forced to flee Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler and seek refuge in another country. The parents are now forced to live on the earnings of the husband’s brother, who is known to be “The Prince.” Aunt Rosa was eventually killed by the Germans after facing many difficulties throughout her life such as bankruptcies, train accidents, and even cancerous growths. The most obvious, the boy who suffers from an illness known as “referential mania,” is also another example of hardship that is faced by the characters through the story.

Symbols in the story such as the helpless bird who is about to face death represent the characters of the story (i.e. the boy and Aunt Rosa) as they are also experiencing adversity and distress within their lives.

Having listened to the story “Signs and Symbols” through the medium of a podcast, Gaitskill evokes the reader’s feelings and understand the emotions of the characters.  With special appeal for auditory learners, it helps emphasize the difficulties that the characters were going through at the time. The emotion helps us to truly realize the amount of distress that there is in the lives of the characters and in the story as a whole.

http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/mary-gaitskill-reads-vladimir-nabokov

“Mary Gaitskill reads Vladimir Nabokov.” The New Yorker Fiction Podcast from Condé Nast Publications, 21 April 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/mary-gaitskill-reads-vl adimir-nabokov

Miller, Benjamin. Bird Water. N.d. Free Stock Photos. Web. 18 Feb. 2017. <http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/766&gt;.