Story Analysis

After reading the one of the articles (I chose I link, therefore I am) and watching the videos, my view of hypertext and other forms of digital storytelling was broadened, shrunk, and then broadened again. When reading I link, therefore I am, I was exposed to when hypertext and the hypertext genre really is. I realized it wasn’t just for certain types of media/digital storytelling, but it could also apply to choose your own adventure literature and was even made popular on platforms like Netflix. After watching the video Vonnegut on The Shape of Stories, I felt as though digital storytelling and storytelling in general was put into a narrow category. I don’t think it was fair of Kurt Vonnegut to break down all narratives into similar plots and call it a day. The last video I watched (The Machine is Us/ing Us) made me think about how digital storytelling is almost the opposite of what was describes by Vonnegut. Digital storytelling is what the storyteller makes it, and the internet only broadens the possibilities of online media.

When told to choose a story and analyze it, I chose The Giving Tree by Shell Silverstein. After rereading this story, I felt as though it was outdated. I have never analyzed a story in terms of how it applies to digital media, but I think the fact that The Giving Tree is a children’s book made its scope seem more narrow.

When connecting my chosen story to the three articles/videos that I read and watched, I’d say that it was most unlike Vonnegut on The Shape of Stories. In all of Vonnegut’s explanations of plot, the end of a story always ended in happiness and good fortune for a character, and usually started in a place of ill-fortune or just average luck. However, in The Giving Tree, the character of the boy starts off happy, and there is a good relationship between the tree and the boy. However, overtime, that same relationship is strained and even if the boy is having good fortune, the tree is becoming more and more ill-fortuned. In the end, both the tree and the boy are in a relatively bad place. This type of plot was not predicted at all by Vonnegut.

Even though the story was rather linear, I thought that it related to I link, therefore I am because to me, it could be interpreted as a hypertext/choose your own adventure story because you could interpret The Giving Tree in two points of view, the point of view of the tree, or the point of view of the boy.

Even though The Giving Tree was published in 1964, it was ahead of its time in terms of being adaptable to different perspectives and potential ways of looking at the plot. A book like this with multiple points of view could easily be turned into digital media.

One Reply to “Story Analysis”

  1. Hena Rashid

    Great comparison! I would like to see old work being recreated into modern digital media/format. I think I did read this book before, but I don’t remember. I am surprised it was published in 1964!

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