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Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl Essay

1957 words - 8 pages

Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl

Patchwork Girl, a hypertext vision sewn together by Shelley Jackson, is a story and an account of the creation of a monster and the relationship the mind has with the monster within the technical boundary of lexia. The monster metaphorically was originally created by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein, but has now resurfaced in a layered identity with an opposing forum of complexity. Jackson has designed her version of the timeless tale from the female perspective by offering the reader not only a facet into the monster’s mind, but that of Mary’s, the girl’s, and of the author’s, which accounts for three female angles of perception. Through each narrative voice (and/or lexia), the reader discovers the psychological nightmare of mental maturity and the pains of achieving the ultimate sense of creativity or life. For Mary it is the obsession of the creation of life and the dedication to keep a promise, while for the girl and the monster it is the aspect of finding the understanding and acceptance in a stitched life. However, for Shelley Jackson the nightmare is the hyper literary challenge of stitching together thought and creation in fictional prose to show the relationship of mother to child or writer to the word by the means of technology.

The Hypertext fiction Patchwork Girl is offered with three primary story lines in lexia story format, which is effectively connected or stitched together to reveal the lives of Mary, Shelley, the girl, and the monster from the creative impulse of the mind’s imagination visually represented in a non-linear string of links. As the reader or in this case user enters the hypertextual world of Shelley Jackson’s words, the initial question, "Where should I begin," comes to mind and is answered with a barrage of navigational passages to venture upon. From the index page (title page) the reader/user can choose either to enter the "journal" lexia, "quilt" lexia, or the "story" lexia, along with the "sources" lexia and the "broken" lexia, which appears to be more of a venting area for the author to express philosophy, non-connective thought, brainstorming, and parallel dynamics of her rendition compared to the original Frankenstein and The Wizard of Oz.

Each door (link) into the cyber-fleshed writing experiment offers its readers a different narrator or line of sight, which twists the reader through their perceptive eye, though at times the point of view streams from first person to third person omniscient midstream of consciousness or shares the first person omniscient narration, which may confuse the reader/user because of the change in narrative voice. "I had made her, writing deep into the night by candlelight, until the tiny black letters blurred into stitches and I began to feel that I was sewing a great quilt, as the old women in town do night after night" ("Written"—Story). This narration shift is evident in the lexias of the "story," where Mary and the girl share...

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