Class Review

I just want to touch on a couple things that I really liked about this class. When I first signed up for this class I really thought that it was going to be like the other literature classes in which we would have to read a lot of books and write countless papers. I am glad that this wasn’t the case in Craig’s class, I really enjoyed most of the books we covered in this class and the reading assignments were fair for the load of the course.

On the last day of class we spent half of the class talking about what worked well in the class and what didn’t. One thing I liked that I feel we didn’t cover that day is the website. I think the website Craig created is just fantastic, I really like the fact that everything that had to do with the class was there for us to access at any time and practically from any device that has an internet connection.  Having the readings, the schedule, assignments etc. does make it easier and more convenient for us and its better for the environment and our wallets because we don’t have to be printing as much paper. I also think that this websites along with the Pinterest and the Wiki notes really ties in with the main topic of this class which is literature across various mediums of media.

I would also like to talk a little about the way the content was chronologically set up. I liked how we started with the invention of writing and then moved on to different time periods that showed the progression of writing and media.  This allowed me to relate and understand the readings better. I was able to relate main themes and ideas from the readings to the writers respective time period. It was very interesting to see what events were going on that might had an effect or caused the writer to write about it.  One example of this would be Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. This book was written in the romantic period in which a lot of people valued nature over science and reason. They had an interest in the sublime and the unknown. Frankenstein is a perfect example of this because it contains themes that relate to the romantic period. This allows us to see why Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein and how she was influenced by romantics.

Out of all the readings we read I must say that my favorite is definitively Frankenstein. This was the book that we spend the most time on and I definitively can see why. It is truly as great piece of literature. I had never read the book before this class and was always under the impression that Frankenstein was just a about the scientist and the monster. It is much more than that; I liked how the story develops and how Mary Shelly uses frame narrative to show different point of views of the characters. I also like how the story had different layers to it. In other words, how the story dealt with Victor’s obsession, the monsters story, science vs. nature and Walton’s story.  I think it also helped how at the time we were reading this novel we covered the romantic period and the story of how Mary Shelly got challenged to write this book at Lord Byron’s house in Geneva.  Some could say that Geneva’s mountainous landscape and beauty inspired Mary Shelly to make this the setting for her novel. Overall I enjoyed this book and I am glad that I was able to read it and relate it to the era it was written in.

My favorite section of class by far has to be the one where we talked about glass and technology. I enjoyed the videos of the Google glass and project glass. I feel that technology is now moving towards creating a more interactive world. We can begin to see this with the invention of Microsoft Surface, the Ipad and others. Everything is becoming about touch and the experience that these devices bring to us. I also found the videos that predicted how the future is going to be very interesting. I always had a interest in this area and I think it’s exciting how some of the prediction that these companies make could become a reality in the near future. I watched a video a couple of years ago of an AT&T commercial from the 90’s that predicted a lot of the technology we have today. I think it’s crazy how almost every prediction in this commercial came true and how this was only 20 years ago. This also got me thinking how fast technology is advancing and how sometimes we take the technology we have for granted. I can only imagine where will be in 20 years from now.

This is a link to the AT&T commercial >> AT&T You Will (1993)

Lastly, I would like to say that overall I really enjoyed this course. I am glad that I got Craig as a teacher. He taught us material that was interesting and relevant to the readings. I also liked how he connected the class topics to a lot of aspects of life that we deal with on a daily basis.  The structure of this class and the way that it required us to interact with the material through different mediums really made the class interesting. All in all I think this was a great class.

 

 

 

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Teen Mom Review

I chose to write a blog post about the Reality TV paper on the show Teen Mom.  I chose this because this was one of the reality television shows that I thought sent multiple messages to the audience.  The show young teens who become pregnant while they are in high school.  It really highlights the consequences about getting pregnant in an interesting way.  It produces interviews with the teens and parents highlighting how hard raising a child is at such a young age.  An interesting tactic I felt the directors were using was how they were portraying the message of getting pregnant.  They never always come out an explicitly say that getting pregnant is bad.  They just use different scenarios and scenes to make the situation seem dramatic.  They leave much interpretation up to the audience and they do a very good job of it.  I know many people after seeing this show get worried about the possibility of teen pregnancy.

I’ve always wondered one thing about this show.  Reality TV shows are on television to obviously make money and this one does just that.  I’ve always wondered if there is some sort of contract between the family of the girl who is pregnant and MTV.  By being on the show for a greater audience, the family gets money to help raise the child.  If this is true, which I feel in some way it is, I think it takes away from the overall aspect of the show.  I don’t think people will start getting pregnant to be on the show, but it does take away from the impact.  Television and entertainment these days are all about making money.  It’s fascinating to see what ideas cable networks are coming up with for new shows so they can make more money.

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Review of Our Readings

I think this class did a great job of making me interested in the literature chosen for us. Initially I didn’t think I would like Frankenstein but the in depth analysis we did in class made it one of my favorite books. I think the trip to the University of Iowa Special Collections helped to maintain my interest in the book. Getting to see firsthand some of Mary Shelley’s letters put the book into context. It is impressive that a book written that long ago can still resonate with someone my age today.

I think my least favorite book of the semester was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It moved a lot slower than the rest of the readings for me. I expected to dislike In the Cage but it was actually fun to challenge myself and have to read into Henry James’ “flirtation on the page.”

The stories chosen for this class also ran together very nicely. They never strayed too far from the major themes we were discussing, such as: technology, romanticism/the sublime, evolution, class, gender dynamics etc. Every book we read touches on at least one of those subjects. The ordering of these stories chronologically also helped to place them in the context of time. The short stories we read complimented the longer readings nicely. I like that this class had an open discussion format making it easy to share ideas with classmates and see readings from different perspectives.

As we reach the end of the semester I can see how each reading and assignment worked to prepare us for the final exam and the final paper. When it came time to write our final paper I felt better prepared to compare The Story of an Hour and Frankenstein because we had already pointed out several common themes.

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“Pawn Stars” Review

This was a very accurate portrayal of the reality show Pawn Stars. I like how you emphasized that this show is for viewers of all ages. The fact that this show is so viewer-friendly and educational sets it apart from all of the other reality shows.  I watch this show with my family as well, and we all learn new, interesting pieces of information every time we watch it. Even though the methodology of each Pawn Star episode is the same, it never gets boring because (as you mentioned) the thrill of guessing each objects’ price is intriguing and it keeps viewers coming back for more. Also, I like how you stated that the program brings in different experts relevant to specific objects. I think people fail to realize that this adds a lot of credibility to the show as well as the owners’ character; the owners are not simply trying to “get over” on customers, they are quoting fair prices for the customers. The generated credibility also exemplifies the “real” in reality. Experts’ opinions motion that this show is not the typical, staged reality show. This show is about real customers coming in to pawn their objects- the only payment that these customers receive is the money earned for their pawned objects. Customers do not receive monetary incentives, unlike many other reality TV shows. The most important factor that you touched upon was the effect of voice-overs; voice-overs allow for a better understanding as to why the owners make the decisions that they do. Overall, this was a great assessment of Pawn Stars.

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“The Spark of Life”

 

“What separates the living from the dead? What is the “spark of life” that animates the living?” This was a concept that many scientists were aiming to uncover during the composition  era of Frankenstein. Galvanism, named after scientist Luigi Galvani, was a widely-used tool in the quest for the “spark of life.” With Galvanism, electrical impulses would be sent through the tissues of recently deceased animals and humans, producing unpredicted effects such as tongue movement and muscle contraction. When these demonstrations were performed in front of crowds in the early 1800’s, audiences were shocked. I can only imagine the thoughts that were provoked in Mary Shelley’s mind when she attended these Galvanism demonstrations.

 

There are powerful allusions to Galvanism and the power of electricity in Frankenstein. As for the greatest allusion to Galvanism, the reader is led to believe that Victor’s inanimate monster is brought to life by the harnessing of an electrical impulse. We learn of Victor’s fascination with electricity on page 70 of Frankenstein when he explains his first enlightening encounter with lightning: “As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak…the catastrophe of this tree excited my extreme astonishment.” As the reader can deduce, Mary Shelley was strongly influenced by the possibilities of Galvanism. Shelley’s influence ultimately helped shape the everlasting story of Frankenstein.

 

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Lit class review

When I first signed up to take interpretation of lit I was expecting it to be a lot of reading and writing papers. I liked how this class was based online and we got to write blogs instead of writing a lot of short papers. It was a lot different than I expected it to be. I also liked most of the books that we read. I would have to say my favorite was Frankenstein because it was a book I wouldn’t usually choose to read but it turned out to be pretty good. My least favorite was definitely In the Cage because it was difficult to read.

I thought each class was useful because we covered a lot of topics and Craig always led a good discussion. He asked questions that made us think a little deeper than usual, and helped us to understand the material we were reading in a different way. I thought the weekly roles were a good idea to get the class more involved. I liked the Wiki class notes because they are taken from the class point of view, and not a text book. Having those notes be the source of most of the test is a good idea. My one criticism of the class is that Pinterest was kind of pointless. We didn’t do much with it, and I don’t think anybody looked at them after pinning their own things. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good class, and I’m glad I got into the section that I did.

 

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Class Review

Because we mainly focused on the critisms in class, here are some positive things I thought about this class.It was an very interesting way to set up a literature class. I’ve never used so many multimedias in an english course before, and it was kind of cool. Using Pinterest I feel could be incorporated more if it was to be used again. Or replacing the weekly role completely with the blogs as an assignment. I liked doing the blogs, it was hard enough to make me think beyond what we talked about it in class, but likable because it was informal and I got to put my opinion out there for all the topics we discussed in class. It was als helpful to glance through othher people’s blogs and see what they were thinking about the lessons. The class notes are extremely helpful as of right now because it is a fantastic study guide and because everyone took it seriously, there are really good notes to go through. I liked the books we read too, some more than others, but they were all intriguing. Frankenstein was my favorite because of all the angles we looked at it through. What was your favorite book? Favorite part of the class?

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Dance Moms

I chose to review the reality TV paper on Dance Moms. This is a topic that is foreign to me but my sister danced competitively all throughout high school so I have been around it a little bit. I have also briefly viewed the show before if she had it on at home.

I thought the author did a great job explaining the show to give a good idea what it was generally about. I agree with how it was said that it may be a hard show to fully understand if you are not familiar with the ‘dance world’. From the times I watched it I found that I understood what was going on but didn’t get much of the detail or the terms that were used. The author also explained how it is such a competitive show and I can appreciate that due to my experiences with sports in the past. No matter what sport it is, it seems like the competitive nature is generally the same if the people are passionate about it.

Finally, one thing about this show that the author touched on was how the moms fight. From the times I have seen the show this has been by far the most entertaining part. It seems crazy that they bicker the way they do and it seems that it draws attention away from their daughters. Maybe this is somewhat staged, I’m not sure, but it seems kind of foolish to me how they go overboard.

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Blog Assignment

I think that this class was set up very well. I liked how we used and experimented with different forms of technologies. The blogs gave us an outside voice, where we could state our opinions and even continue class discussions. I think that having 10 blogs over the course of the semester was just fine. I think that increasing the length and having us only do half the amount would not be as beneficial. They were not hard to write at all.  People just wanted less because they didn’t want to do more work. If the blog assignments had specific due dates and topics, then why should it be a blog? If every one of them is the same, it might as well be submitted as a paper. When I was doing my last few comments for the blogs, it occurred to me that I had the ability to read through many different blogs before find the topic that I wanted to comment on. There are a large variety of blog topics to read. Also, students would not be able to continue with the class discussions as some chose to do. It would be a boring blog site. I think that the point of blogging has to do with writing what you want. It can be a short informal post. With the post minimum being 250, it lets us focus on one specific point the entire time, like blogs for example. The blog can then be specific paragraphs, not set up like a paper and multiple topics. In summary, I think that the blog assignment should stay the same because there is nothing wrong with it.

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The Biggest Loser

Because I have never seen The Biggest Loser, I thought it would be interesting to see how people feel it can be manipulated when the show has such a strong, helpful message. My my minimal knowledge of the show, I figured there would be little critique of the show since the main point of the show is to help American’s get healthy. After reading that the show encourages double-digit weight loss for a single person in one week, I was really surprised. These supposedly really healthy trainers are helping people to lose weight but in an unhealthy way.

That also affects how viewers get discouraged at home. If a viewer isn’t seeing a double digit loss they then are disappointed in themselves. I found this essay to be interesting because I had never seen the show and I was shocked to learn that what is supposed to be a beneficial show to America is actually using just as much manipulation as reality tv shows strictly made for entertainment. I think for a more genuine message, there would have to be more realistic weight loss numbers to get people at home more interested.

I found that reading everyone else’s reality tv assignments was interesting because you learn so much about other shows and how scripted or manipulated they actually are. This definitely gives us a different outlook on tv when we are watching it now.

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Class review

I just wanted to comment on the class in general. I feel as if the content of the class was on track with other Interpretation of Literature courses based off of what I heard from friends who were  enrolled in the same course, but with a different teacher.

I agree with everyone else in the class that Pinterest was of no use, only because there was no extension to it. I believe that if he had some sort of alternative assignment, which incorporated Pinterest, then it would have made it more useful. On the basis of blogs, I would of made a few things differently. For example, as pointed out in class, maybe make half as many blogs but twice as long. Along those same lines, instead of being able to blog about anything, there could be a set topic that everyone has to write about. In addition, everyone should make their blog posts just a draft so others can’t see it and copy their ideas until the due date. So, the due date could be at the end of the week on Friday as an example and after this point everyone can make their blogs visible. Then people could see others and would be welcome to comment on theirs just as we did this semester. Another minor change that I would recommend for the books we read is, don’t get rid of Henry James’s novel totally, but just replace it with a similar novel that touches on the same subject. Other than that, overall the class and its objectives seemed reasonable.

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Teen Mom

I chose to read the reality TV review on Teen Mom because I used to watch the show and thought it would be interesting to read a critical review of it. Just as I expected, it was written about how the show aimed to show viewers that teen pregnancy is very difficult. The show is based around the lives of four girls and their parenting decisions while raising a child at such a young age. One mom even makes the difficult decision of putting her baby up for adoption. The show has been criticized for making teen pregnancy look like a positive thing, because there is a whole TV show about it. But like the essay said, I think the producers do a good job of making sure their point is clear. Not only do they have the girls meet with Dr. Drew at the end to discuss their difficult lives as mom, there are also advertising’s aired during the show that tell viewers how to get more information about having safe sex. The point of the show is to show viewers how life as a teen parent isn’t easy.

One thing the author of this review mentioned that I never realized while watching the show is the fact that all four of the girls are of the same race and of the same social class. I think that is an interesting point. The show might have been able to appeal to a larger audience if the cast were chosen a different way. They should have included girls of other races, or families of another social class besides lower-middle class and middle class. Maybe there should have been a teen mom on the show who was struggling to take care of her baby with no support from her parents. Even the show, Teen Mom 2 has a cast of four white females in about the same social class. I think the producers could have included a little variety, but they were trying to appeal to one specific audience: the average American teenager.

This essay did a good job of describing the show in a way I never thought about.

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Duck Dynasty review

I choose to review the reality TV show Duck Dynasty. The reason is because I have never seen the show or heard much of it. Although that could be due to the fact that I stopped watching reality TV a few years ago realizing it was not real. But, I feel as if this realty TV show was a bit different from the others that I have read and the author did a great job at pointing this out.

Most of the other reality TV shows that I have read involve immense amounts of public humiliation and sending immoral messages to the youth. For example, Jersey Shore, American Idol or even Shark Tank to an extent all incorporate humiliation. On the other hand, Duck Dynasty’s premise involves filming the Robertson family and giving a little glimpse at how they became wealthy by selling duck calls. A lot of it has to do with Willie and Jason, two of the characters who you would never guess were brothers. The show portrays them as continually having fun by playing tricks on each other all the time. It seems that the characters in their natural environment are presented and the reason it is funny is because of who the characters are. I don’t believe the show is scripted to any extend. In the end it all comes down to family when the fun and games are over as the author indicated in his paper. They celebrate and enjoy each show by ending it with a family dinner. As noted earlier, I believe this is one of the more authentic shows out there.

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Krapp’s Last Tape

As I was reading “Krapp’s Last Tape” I was reminded of something I use to do when I was younger. From the age of seven until I was ten or eleven I would write a letter to myself every year on my birthday and hide in a book. Before writing myself a letter I would read the previous years’ letter.

In the letter to myself I wrote about things that had happened to me during the past year such as lessons I learned, events with my family, friends I made, music and movies I liked etc. When I got into sixth grade at the age of twelve I started to keep a journal. I wrote in a diary every day from the age of twelve until after high school (eighteen or nineteen). I still have all of my journals in a box and I have not read any of them unlike the letters.

It is interesting that Krapp listened to old tapes and basically relived the memory or the event that was occurring during the time in which the tape was recorded. That in a way is like my diaries. When I am older it will be fun to look back and read what I went through and how I dealt with certain situations. It may also be a good teaching tool and a great way to understand my children as they are growing up and experiencing similar situations I went through as well.

 

 

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Jersey Shore-review

I chose to read one a reality television paper on Jersey Shore due to the fact that at one time I like those I now criticize would habitually watch this show. Although the show lacks any real premise or values what it does an extremely good job of is keeping the viewers interested through constant drama and fights.  When watching the show you don’t sit down and think about the way things would actually play out you just enjoy it for its entertainment purposes. Through reading the analysis of this show and finding out some of the back story that goes along with famous incidents we all remember I found it to be extremely interesting and disturbing.

I felt the author did a great job describing what the show was about and conveying some of the underlying messages it is promoting to our youth. I remember watching the episode when Ronnie knocked a guy unconscious in one hit and remember thinking to myself how impressive it was and that he was just standing up for himself. After reading the paper I came to find out that the producers had edited the footage to make Ronnie look like the underdog rather than an antagonizer.  This ploy is very common in reality television today.  Another aspect of this incident I found to be extremely interesting was as the author pointed out Ronnie faced no repercussions for this violent act leading our youth to believe it is cool to be violent and drunk.  I found this paper to be extremely insightful and with Jersey Shore like any reality television show we are watching scripted dramas promoting negative ideals and leading our youth to believe this is real life.  Referring to this type of programming as reality television is almost comical because what is being aired is anything but reality.

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E Literature

Even though we talked about e-literature last week, I thought I’d blog about it and give my opinion. E literature I think can be considered art because it is a form of expression and is very creative. It takes a good amount of work to put together the animations and credit should be given to the artists. There is a difference between art and literature though.
When I think of literature I think of actual books. I think of writings that we read during english classes throughout school, and favorite books. I would have never thought that the way e literature is set up would be considered that.
I didn’t mind some of the videos we watched, while others I got somewhat bored. I can’t see e lit becoming more popular because it is so similar already to other forms of media. It is almost like a movie, and given the choice between watching a short video or a movie, I’m guessing most will be choosing a movie.
I agree though with what we discussed that it could be used for educational purposes and be beneficial. But for entertainment I doubt it will ever be a huge phenomenon.

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Libraries of the Future

E-Literature got me thinking:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjoJd_uN-7M

 

I watched this video and began to think about libraries and their place in the future of our world. I began to ask myself what my own image of the library of the future was. I got scared thinking about the possibility of books being almost entirely eclipsed by technology. It is hard to imagine but in a generation that has witnessed the cassette tape, cd, and vhs tape be almost entirely pushed into extinction, anything is possible. Look at newspapers for example, when talking to my mother (who works for the Des Moines Register) she told me that Newspapers were also on the verge of extinction. Many newspapers have been forced to significantly cut their budgets to continue to make even a slight profit from their production. When asked about the cause of this decline she said it all had to do with the internet. The internet allows for (in most cases) free exchange of news that is delivered directly to your computer without having to wait until the following morning for your newspaper to arrive.

 

Do you think that internet sources will entirely eclipse our nation’s print sources? What do the libraries of the future look like? Who are the librarians of the future?

 

I cannot imagine living in a world where the libraries are all digitized. That being said I do think that there is going to be a significant shift towards technology. I think the libraries of the future while still containing print sources will also be much more technologically advanced. The librarians of the future in turn will have to be much more tech savvy and capable of both current library duties and navigating digital archives.

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Analyzing Krapp’s Last Tape

After reading Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett I was pretty confused.  I had to go back and read the story once over again to understand it better.  It seems that Krapp is an old man who has a bunch of recording of himself speaking about 30 years ago.  Beckett describes him as a weary old man and the story takes place on what seems to be a stage.  He keeps going back stage and seems to be drinking.  I want to analyze a passage in this story that I feel describes the entire story.

Perhaps my best years are gone.  When there was a chance of happiness.  But I wouldn’t want them back.  Not with the fire in me now.  No, I wouldn’t want them back.

 

This entire story is about Krapp’s reflecting on his youth years with a woman.  He is incredibly depressed while listening to these tapes and is also drinking.  This does not seem like a very good combination.  I also thought it was interesting how he repeats the phrase “this earth might be uninhabited”.  Is he foreshadowing that he might kill himself.  The story ends with him sitting in silence and motionless.  He is obviously not happy with that shape that he is in at the moment.  My thought after this is maybe that his wife of earlier may have divorced him and he is reliving memories.  The one thing I am still confused about is why he is constantly eating a banana.  This may have nothing to do with the story, but I thought it was odd that Beckett kept adding that in there.  This is a depressing story about a lonely old man who is either drinking himself to sleep or drinking himself to death.  It is quite a perplexing story.

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Krapp’s Last Tape

While reading this play, I had a difficult time understanding it and I had a tough time following along. What I did understand was the character, Krapp, seems to be a raggedy old man. Towards the beginning of the play, the script describes him as:

Rusty black narrow trousers too short for him. Rust black sleevless waistcoat, four capaciou pockets. Heavy silver watch and chain. Grimy white shirt open at neck, no collar. Surprising pair of dirty white boots, size ten at least, very narrow and pointed. White face. Purple nose. Disordered grey hair. Unshaven. very near-sighted (but unspectacled). Hard of hearing. Cracked voice. Distinctive intonation. Laborious walk.

Krapp seems to be lonely and all he has are his tapes which seem to be about a depressing story. One of the last lines of the script come from the tape saying “Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back.” I interpreted that line as relating to Krapp’s life. There must be a reason he is all by himself and seems miserable. Furthermore, what fire does he have inside of him now? What caused this? Also, the last line of the play is “Krapp motionless staring before him. The tape runs on silence.” Much like the tape, I feel much of Krapp’s life “runs on silence” but the story lacks an explanation why he is by himself and angry. It could be up to the reader to interpret why he feels this why and how he got to be that way.

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Forms of literature

In the past week and a half we have been exposed to e-literature as well as a play script.  These two forms are much different then the novels we had read prior in the semester and I feel they can only be appreciated by select audiences.

E-literature and the play script we read for class this week share a couple similarities in my mind. Both forms of literature force the reader into envisioning a certain setting for a story as well as tell it from an onlookers point of view.  When we read Inanimate Alice our right to create a visual of the story in our mind was taken away because e-lit is a combination of text, motion and pictures, almost as if a movie is being shown frame by frame with subtitles on.  I found this form of literature to be frustrating to read because of the lack of creativity it allowed my mind as well as the fact that I felt restricted because I was forced to read about all of Alice’s location even if they didn’t add much to the story.  I feel that e-lit is best used if it is a learning tool such as in history classes or if it is for small children to help them learn to read.  The interactive aspect with the pictures would help bring clarity for the children as the read while keeping them interested.

In Krapp’s last tape, which was a play script, it was similar to e-lit because of the subtext on the page that described how the actor was moving around on the stage as he spoke or acted out what was happening.  I found this to be an in between state of e-lit and normal text because while it shaped uyour view of the story it didn’t show you an actual picture of what was taking place taking all creativity away from the reader. I found this play script hard to read because as it jumped from the actual story to subtext it became very confusing to understand what was going on. I found it to be very distracting to try to understand how what the actor had just acted out related to the text that followed. I don’t think that anyone would by choice sit down and choose to read a play script for some of the reasons I just described. I did find it very interesting to see how it related to e-literature as well as just a novel and it made me question if this served as a possible platform that inspired the creation of e-literature..

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