Final Project: Electronic Literature- Distraction or Simplicity?

As our society moves into a technological era, we are forced to adapt our ways of thinking and interacting in order to survive and keep up with the changing times. As technology affects our society, it is also affecting our literature. Recently, hypertexts and online literature have been surfacing and causing either excitement and awe with their unique characteristics, coinciding with many peoples’ view of literature as a natural enjoyment, or in some cases, electronic literature causes frustration with these characteristics differing from basic literature, causing reading or “viewing” these pieces to be considered a task the reader has to complete rather than an enjoyment they want to take part in. While many believe electronic literature is an innovative and engaging form of reading, I believe it is merely distracting due to the required focus of all or many of your senses and the overabundance of layers causing it to not be as in depth and enthralling as basic literature, thus making it more of a task to be completed rather than a relaxing and enjoying activity.

Electronic literature engages different senses than basic literature, thus making it distracting and difficult to follow. In many of the pieces of electronic literature, the reader is required to devote thier sight, hearing, and touch in order to receive the full story and experience. Although the authors may do this to try to catch the reader’s interest, it is very distracting from the main story and causes the reader to miss the main point and storyline of what they are “reading.” If the reader cannot follow along with what they are reading, then the literature becomes more of a task than an enjoyment. When reading literature, one should not have to work to understand and comprehend the story or main idea the piece of literature is presenting. According to McLuhan, “Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions” (40). By changing the surroundings in the online literature, the authors present us with many different perceptions of sense. In “Red Riding Hood”, the reader follows along with the story of Red Riding Hood while somewhat interacting with her environment. While you can make objects move or change in the background, you cannot change the story and while you are distracted with trying to make these objects do something, you miss the actual story and then are presented with a drastically different ending than the original story and are confused as to what happened. You miss the whole point of the story and are left with questions and no answers. In trying to change the environment of the story and achieving a different outcome, the reader is presented with work to do. Most people know the basic story of “Red Riding Hood” and therefore are enveloped with the fact that they can interact with the surroundings of the story. Most “readers” become distracted with the task of changing the inevitable end, rather than enjoying the take on the story, only to be surprised with a drastically different ending, leaving the reader confused and their work pointless. Another piece of electronic literature, “Accounts of the Glass Sky”, is very similar. The reader has to follow the words on the sides of the pages while they are presented with harsh sounds and a changing image that make the words hard to read. You are unable to follow what the author is trying to say, and the sounds and changing images make the story very hard to follow. With basic literature, the reader is  presented with simple words on a page that do no change or make noise and are very easy to follow along with. You simply have to read the sentences in order to comprehend the story that the author presents. In “Carving in Possibilities”, the “reader” moves their mouse over the blurry picture of Michelangelo’s David making short phrases appear and gradually carving the statue. While this piece of electronic literature was most likely meant to have a deep meaning, when approached, the interactive aspect is merely distracting. You find yourself immersed in the aspect of carving the statue rather than reading the words that were meant to make up the literature. In the words of McLuhan, “The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act- the way we perceive the world” (41). When looking at electronic literature, adding sounds and images and the interactive aspect change our perception of the story. The reader sees the story much differently than if they were merely reading the words. In trying to focus on all of the different stimuli at once, the reader is presented with a job rather than something they can enjoy and relax with. While reading, one merely has to follow the story, but when the reader is forced to focus on many changing aspects at once, they are found to be partaking in a job that has to be completed in order to understand the meaning of the literature. When most people find literature that they want to read, they are looking for something that makes them think, while at the same time is relaxing and does not involve dealing with a task. In this sense, electronic literature is drastically different than basic literature and is much more distracting to our senses and harder to follow than the simple words of basic literature.

In electronic literature, there are many layers to every story, making it hard to distinguish and follow along with the main story. In basic literature, there are sometimes smaller stories within the main story. This occurs in electronic literature as well, but the smaller layered stories do not necessarily follow along with the main story and make the piece very hard to follow and understand. The reader gets distracted with the smaller stories and loses track of the main story. In “The Museum”, the reader has the chance to click on different links that take them to different stories. After you click five or more links leading to different stories, the main story is eventually lost and the reader forgets what they were reading in the first place. This type of text calls for easy distraction and leads to misunderstanding. When the reader becomes lost within this hypertext, they find themselves presented with the task of figuring out how it all connects or even as simple as figuring out how to turn back to the main story. “The Museum” becomes more of a difficult and complex task rather than a relaxing piece of literature. In another piece of electronic literature called “Storyland”, the reader is presented with short sentences out of order that are supposed to make up one large story. After the story is done, the reader is presented with another; however, the stories do not make any sense when read. The fragmented stories are confusing and do not provide an engaging story that basic literature does with one story and a clear path to a definitive ending. In “Defiant: The Possession of Christian Shaw”, there are many different paths that the reader can follow in order to complete the story. While some may find this freedom to choose which part they look at first a refreshing aspect of literature, it mainly distracts from the main story. In having so many options, the story becomes jumbled and the reader is left with questions about what really happened or if there was even a story at all. In Birkert’s novel, he emphasizes this aspect of electronic literature by saying, “the reader can choose to follow any number of subnarrative paths” (163). With people today, giving them the chance to become distracted is a clear invite to follow these paths leading away from the story. Even when not given the chance, people on the internet still find their way to getting distracted and off task. By providing the reader with so many chances to lead off the path, the author is forcing the reader away from their story. Birkerts also stated, “We have created invisible elsewheres that are as immediate as our actual surroundings. We have fractured the flow of time, layered it into competing simultaneities. We learn to do five things at once or pay the price” (219). Birkerts implies that in this society we must be able to multitask in order to survive in this technologically advanced world. By forcing the reader to multitask, authors are no longer giving the reader the relaxing and enjoying literature they are looking for, but rather the tedious task of figuring out where the story is even supposed to be going. Even in literature, we have to learn to multitask and follow multiple stories simultaneously; however, many cannot succeed with this multitasking and the essence of true literature is lost in the complexity of the distracting electronic complications.

While most electronic literature is distracting and hard to follow, some people believe it is very simple and easy to read and find it more engaging than a book because of the interaction with music and images. Some think this interaction with the literature is not a task, but more of a game that is intertwined into their literature. In “Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw”, many people could see this piece of electronic literature as an interactive game rather than a story. There are very few words and the reader is left to come up with their own conclusions from the story and the different interactions that they come across. People these days are used to doing everything on a computer and are welcome to having their literature online as well. An example of a piece of easy to follow electronic literature is “Soliloquy.” It is a list of every word one man has said for a whole week where the reader simply has to put their mouse over a blank spot on the page to see the sentences one at a time and read them in order like a story. In the words of Carr, “The Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” Most people are used to everything gradually changing into a form of technology. When many people think of technology, they think of electronic games. The new invention of electronic literature to some people is another form of a game. They get to interact with the story and make aspects of the story change or follow along with different story lines to get to the ending the reader or “player” wants. Books have become mere apps on tablets like games, so why shouldn’t forms of literature turn to being online too? While some may think this way, many believe the simplicity of a book is part of the joy of literature. In the example of “Soliloquy,” while many may think this is an easy piece to follow along with, others believe that the fact that you can’t see all the sentences at once is too complex and you have to pay too much attention to make sure you are reading the correct sentence in the right order, thus making the reading of the piece a task to follow along with. Electronic literature is more of a game that we play than a story that we read; however, in this time in society, this idea may be what people are looking for to go along with every other form of technology, more entertaining and easier to access.

As most aspects of life today are either online or accessible by some sort of technology, our ancient forms of literature are changing as well. More electronic literature is published all the time and we are reading less and less books as a society. Many people do not even buy physical books anymore, but simply download the book onto the latest tablet. While many people see this as a convenience and think electronic literature is more engaging and entertaining than basic book literature, I believe that electronic literature is merely distracting and overly complicated and is not capable of getting a simple story across without complications and the reader, or in this case, the viewer, getting lost. Electronic literature is a task that the reader has to complete in order to achieve the understanding of the main point of the story rather than enjoy as a simple pastime. Electronic literature requires the attention of more than just your eyes reading the story, but requires you to listen to the sound and watch the pictures or movie that goes along with the text, or is in place instead of the text. While focusing on all this stimuli, many pieces online have interactive aspects that you have to focus on as well. Some may find this entertaining, but many believe it is too complex for literature and is turning into more of a game than a piece of literature. Turning literature into another aspect of technology takes away the ease associated with reading and introduces reading as a task for the reader to complete. Just as technology complicates other aspects of life by trying to simplify them, online literature does the same. By trying to provide a new form of literature and easier access, we as readers are not given a simpler form of literature, but rather a job to do when trying to understand the point of the piece. Another distracting aspect is the complexity of the layers over the main story online. By following all of the “subnarratives” the reader gets lost and can no longer focus on what the main story is saying anymore. All of these distractions take away from the essence of literature and turns this ancient practice into a modern day technological advancement.

Self Reflection

In revising my third writing project, I hoped to expand upon my ideas by incorporating the main idea of my first writing project while still keeping the focus on the analysis of electronic literature. I chose to do this because I considered my first writing project to be my weakest of the year and my third to be my strongest. I thought that by combining the two, I could strengthen my latest writing by adding on how I viewed reading in the beginning of the year. I incorporated my initial idea that reading should be a relaxing activity into my latest idea of how electronic literature is distracting and not relaxing. It is more of a task needing to be completed in order to understand the main point of the story. In developing my ideas by combining them, I also explored more pieces of electronic literature that I analyzed and utilized in my argument. I looked into “Carving in Possibilities” and “Defiant: The Possession of Christian Shaw”, both of which are interactive and help to argue my point in my essay. In addition, I developed my counterargument by including one of the new pieces I looked into and added the counter of my idea that electronic literature is a task by saying that some see it as more of a game.  I used the new piece, “Defiant: The Possession of Christian Shaw” to make my point in my counterargument that some may see electronic literature as a game because it is almost completely an interactive piece. My goal was to add some new ideas to each paragraph while adding on to my old ideas with more support from new pieces of electronic literature.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to focus mainly on learning to analyze writing more and working on word choice. One of my biggest struggles with writing has always been how to analyze the text we are working on or the outside sources that we are reading. This year I have tried working on this more especially in the last two writing projects. I believe my third writing project showed quite a bit of improvement on my analysis and now my final project has even more analysis of electronic literature by incorporating many examples from both the literature itself and from outside articles and books we have been studying throughout the year. While I feel my analysis has strengthened I still need to work on my word choice. In many of my essays I feel as if I repeat the same thing even though in my head I am trying to expand upon my original idea. I need to work on finding different words to describe what I am talking about and learning to transfer what I’m thinking in my mind to ideas that other’s can understand without an explanation from me. In my upcoming semesters, I hope to work on this word choice as well as a little bit of organization. While my essays make sense and I feel flow from paragraph to paragraph fairly easily, each one is the same exact structure give or take a paragraph. I want to work on mixing up my essays some and finding new ways to organize them that my make my argument or point more affective to the reader. I feel I have made a lot of progress this semester in my writing quality and style; however, I still have a lot of room for improvement and I hope to work on my writing over my years here at Washington College.

Electronic Literature: Distraction or Simplicity

As our society moves into a technological era, we are forced to adapt our ways of thinking and interacting in order to survive and keep up with the changing times. As technology affects our society, it is also affecting our literature. Recently, hypertexts and online literature have been surfacing and causing either excitement and awe with their unique characteristics, or in some cases, frustration with these characteristics differing from basic literature. While many believe electronic literature is an innovative and engaging form of reading, I believe it is merely distracting due to the required focus of all or many of your senses and the overabundance of layers causing it to not be as in depth and enthralling as basic literature.

Electronic literature engages different senses than basic literature, thus making it distracting and difficult to follow. In many of the pieces of electronic literature, you are required to devote your sight, hearing, and touch in order to receive the full story and experience. Although the authors may do this to try and catch the reader’s interest, it is very distracting from the main story and causes the reader to miss the main point and storyline of what they are “reading.” According to McLuhan, “Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions” (40). By changing the surroundings in the online literature, the authors present us with many different perceptions of sense. In “Red Riding Hood”, the reader follows along with the story of Red Riding Hood while somewhat interacting with her environment. While you can make objects move or change in the background, you cannot change the story and while you are distracted with trying to make these objects do something, you miss the actual story and then are presented with a drastically different ending than the original story and are confused as to what happened. You miss the whole point of the story and are left with questions and no answers. Another piece of electronic literature, “Accounts of the Glass Sky”, is very similar. The reader has to follow the words on the sides of the pages while they are presented with harsh sounds and a changing image that make the words hard to read. You are unable to follow what the author is trying to say, and the sounds and changing images make the story very hard to follow. With basic literature, you are presented with simple words on a page that do no change or make noise and are very easy to follow along with. You simply have to read the sentences in order to comprehend the story that the author presents. In the words of McLuhan, “The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act- the way we perceive the world” (41). When looking at electronic literature, adding sounds and images and the interactive aspect change our perception of the story. The reader sees the story much differently than if they were merely reading the words. In this sense, electronic literature is drastically different than basic literature and is much more distracting to our senses and harder to follow than the simple words of basic literature.

In electronic literature, there are many layers to every story, making it hard to distinguish and follow along with the main story. In basic literature, there are sometimes smaller stories within the main story. This occurs in electronic literature as well, but the smaller layered stories do not necessarily follow along with the main story and make the piece very hard to follow and understand. The reader gets distracted with the smaller stories and loses track of the main story. In “The Museum”, the reader has the chance to click on different links that take them to different stories. After you click five or more links leading to different stories, the main story is eventually lost and the reader forgets what they were reading in the first place. This type of text calls for easy distraction and leads to misunderstanding. In another piece of electronic literature called “Storyland”, the reader is presented with short sentences out of order that are supposed to make up one large story. After the story is done, the reader is presented with another; however, the stories do not make any sense when read. The fragmented stories are confusing and do not provide an engaging story that basic literature does with one story and a clear path to a definitive ending. In Birkert’s novel, he emphasizes this aspect of electronic literature by saying, “the reader can choose to follow any number of subnarrative paths” (163). With people today, giving them the chance to become distracted is a clear invite to follow these paths leading away from the story. Even when not given the chance, people on the internet still find their way to getting distracted and off task. By providing the reader with so many chances to lead off the path, the author is forcing the reader away from their story. Birkerts also stated, “We have created invisible elsewheres that are as immediate as our actual surroundings. We have fractured the flow of time, layered it into competing simultaneities. We learn to do five things at once or pay the price” (219). Birkerts implies that in this society we must be able to multitask in order to survive in this technologically advanced world. Even in literature, we have to learn to multitask and follow multiple stories simultaneously; however, many cannot succeed with this multitasking and the essence of true literature is lost in the complexity of the distracting electronic complications.

While most electronic literature is distracting and hard to follow, some people believe it is very simple and easy to read and find it more engaging than a book because of the interaction with music and images. People these days are used to doing everything on a computer and are welcome to having their literature online as well. An example of a piece of easy to follow electronic literature is “Soliloquy.” It is a list of every word one man has said for a whole week where the reader simply has to put their mouse over a blank spot on the page to see the sentences one at a time and read them in order like a story. In the words of Carr, “The Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” Most people are used to everything gradually changing into a form of technology. Books have become mere apps on tablets so why shouldn’t forms of literature turn to being online too? While some may think this way, many believe the simplicity of a book is part of the joy of literature. In the example of “Soliloquy,” while many may think this is an easy piece to follow along with, others believe that the fact that you can’t see all the sentences at once is too complex and you have to pay too much attention to make sure you are reading the correct sentence in the right order. Electronic literature is more of a game that we play than a story that we read; however, in this time in society, this idea may be what people are looking for to go along with every other form of technology, more entertaining and easier to access.

As most aspects of life today are either online or accessible by some sort of technology, our ancient forms of literature are changing as well. More electronic literature is published all the time and we are reading less and less books as a society. Many people do not even buy physical books anymore, but simply download the book onto the latest tablet. While many people see this as a convenience and think electronic literature is more engaging and entertaining than basic book literature, I believe that electronic literature is merely distracting and overly complicated and is not capable of getting a simple story across without complications and the reader, or in this case, the viewer, getting lost. Electronic literature requires the attention of more than just your eyes reading the story, but requires you to listen to the sound and watch the pictures or movie that goes along with the text, or is in place instead of the text. While focusing on all this, many pieces online have interactive aspects that you have to focus on as well. Some may find this entertaining, but many believe it is too complex for literature and is turning into more of a game than a piece of literature. Another distracting aspect is the complexity of the layers over the main story online. By following all of the “subnarratives” the reader gets lost and can no longer focus on what the main story is saying anymore. All of these distractions take away from the essence of literature and turns this ancient practice into a modern day technological advancement.

Final Project Proposal

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For my final project, I plan on revising the third writing project where we had to take a stance on electronic literature. My stance was that I feel electronic literature is more distracting than it is in depth or challenging to the reader. I am choosing to revise this essay because I feel that it is my strongest essay so far and has the most potential to be expanded upon. I plan on further supporting my argument by looking into more online texts as well as establishing more of a counterargument. I want to add a way in which I find electronic literature to be distracting, going along with my thesis, and using a new online text that I look into as well as the old to strengthen my argument.

For the rhetorical/logical aspect of my project, I would like to focus on my counterargument. While I feel my paper is fairly strong, I feel that if I worked on developing my counterargument more, then it will be even more effective. I would like to add more examples from pieces of electronic literature as well as doing more of an in depth analysis of these examples. I feel I did not spend enough time on the examples in my counterargument. I would also like to work on leading my counterargument back into the main point of my essay. I would like to expand upon my analysis of the example I give to lead the reader back into my view of electronic literature rather than being stuck with more analysis of the opposing view. By emphasizing the turn back into my main argument it will provide the reader with the difference between the two views and have their last thought be back into what my point is arguing.

For the grammatical portion of my project, I would like to focus on word choice and sentence structure. While I tend to have good ideas to start with, when I try to expand upon them, I end up saying the same thing rather than reiterating my point in different words. I want to work on using more effective word choice rather than simple conversational words that do not make my argument as strong as it could be. For sentence structure, I want to change up my sentences some so that my paper flows better and is not as choppy in some places. While in some places I find I have many short sentences, there are other parts of my paper that are filled with many run on sentences. By structuring my sentences and picking my words more strategically, I feel I could develop my paper much more and make my argument a lot more effective.

Electronic Literature: Distraction or Simplicity?

As our society moves into a technological era, we are forced to adapt our ways of thinking and interacting in order to survive and keep up with the changing times. As technology affects our society, it is also affecting our literature. Recently, hypertexts and online literature have been surfacing and causing either excitement and awe with their unique characteristics, or in some cases, frustration with these characteristics differing from basic literature. While many believe electronic literature is an innovative and engaging form of reading, I believe it is merely distracting due to the required focus of all or many of your senses and the overabundance of layers causing it to not be as in depth and enthralling as basic literature.

Electronic literature engages different senses than basic literature, thus making it distracting and difficult to follow. In many of the pieces of electronic literature, you are required to devote your sight, hearing, and touch in order to receive the full story and experience. Although the authors may do this to try and catch the reader’s interest, it is very distracting from the main story and causes the reader to miss the main point and storyline of what they are “reading.” According to McLuhan, “Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions” (40). By changing the surroundings in the online literature, the authors present us with many different perceptions of sense. In “Red Riding Hood”, the reader follows along with the story of Red Riding Hood while somewhat interacting with her environment. While you can make objects move or change in the background, you cannot change the story and while you are distracted with trying to make these objects do something, you miss the actual story and then are presented with a drastically different ending than the original story and are confused as to what happened. You miss the whole point of the story and are left with questions and no answers. Another piece of electronic literature, “Accounts of the Glass Sky”, is very similar. The reader has to follow the words on the sides of the pages while they are presented with harsh sounds and a changing image that make the words hard to read. You are unable to follow what the author is trying to say, and the sounds and changing images make the story very hard to follow. With basic literature, you are presented with simple words on a page that do no change or make noise and are very easy to follow along with. You simply have to read the sentences in order to comprehend the story that the author presents. In the words of McLuhan, “The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act- the way we perceive the world” (41). When looking at electronic literature, adding sounds and images and the interactive aspect change our perception of the story. The reader sees the story much differently than if they were merely reading the words. In this sense, electronic literature is drastically different than basic literature and is much more distracting to our senses and harder to follow than the simple words of basic literature.

In electronic literature, there are many layers to every story, making it hard to distinguish and follow along with the main story. In basic literature, there are sometimes smaller stories within the main story. This occurs in electronic literature as well, but the smaller layered stories do not necessarily follow along with the main story and make the piece very hard to follow and understand. The reader gets distracted with the smaller stories and loses track of the main story. In “The Museum”, the reader has the chance to click on different links that take them to different stories. After you click five or more links leading to different stories, the main story is eventually lost and the reader forgets what they were reading in the first place. This type of text calls for easy distraction and leads to misunderstanding. In another piece of electronic literature called “Storyland”, the reader is presented with short sentences out of order that are supposed to make up one large story. After the story is done, the reader is presented with another; however, the stories do not make any sense when read. The fragmented stories are confusing and do not provide an engaging story that basic literature does with one story and a clear path to a definitive ending. In Birkert’s novel, he emphasizes this aspect of electronic literature by saying, “the reader can choose to follow any number of subnarrative paths” (163). With people today, giving them the chance to become distracted is a clear invite to follow these paths leading away from the story. Even when not given the chance, people on the internet still find their way to getting distracted and off task. By providing the reader with so many chances to lead off the path, the author is forcing the reader away from their story. Birkerts also stated, “We have created invisible elsewheres that are as immediate as our actual surroundings. We have fractured the flow of time, layered it into competing simultaneities. We learn to do five things at once or pay the price” (219). Birkerts implies that in this society we must be able to multitask in order to survive in this technologically advanced world. Even in literature, we have to learn to multitask and follow multiple stories simultaneously; however, many cannot succeed with this multitasking and the essence of true literature is lost in the complexity of the distracting electronic complications.

While most electronic literature is distracting and hard to follow, some people believe it is very simple and easy to read and find it more engaging than a book because of the interaction with music and images. People these days are used to doing everything on a computer and are welcome to having their literature online as well. An example of a piece of easy to follow electronic literature is “Soliloquy.” It is a list of every word one man has said for a whole week where the reader simply has to put their mouse over a blank spot on the page to see the sentences one at a time and read them in order like a story. In the words of Carr, “The Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” Most people are used to everything gradually changing into a form of technology. Books have become mere apps on tablets so why shouldn’t forms of literature turn to being online too? While some may think this way, many believe the simplicity of a book is part of the joy of literature. In the example of “Soliloquy,” while many may think this is an easy piece to follow along with, others believe that the fact that you can’t see all the sentences at once is too complex and you have to pay too much attention to make sure you are reading the correct sentence in the right order. Electronic literature is more of a game that we play than a story that we read; however, in this time in society, this idea may be what people are looking for to go along with every other form of technology, more entertaining and easier to access.

As most aspects of life today are either online or accessible by some sort of technology, our ancient forms of literature are changing as well. More electronic literature is published all the time and we are reading less and less books as a society. Many people do not even buy physical books anymore, but simply download the book onto the latest tablet. While many people see this as a convenience and think electronic literature is more engaging and entertaining than basic book literature, I believe that electronic literature is merely distracting and overly complicated and is not capable of getting a simple story across without complications and the reader, or in this case, the viewer, getting lost. Electronic literature requires the attention of more than just your eyes reading the story, but requires you to listen to the sound and watch the pictures or movie that goes along with the text, or is in place instead of the text. While focusing on all this, many pieces online have interactive aspects that you have to focus on as well. Some may find this entertaining, but many believe it is too complex for literature and is turning into more of a game than a piece of literature. Another distracting aspect is the complexity of the layers over the main story online. By following all of the “subnarratives” the reader gets lost and can no longer focus on what the main story is saying anymore. All of these distractions take away from the essence of literature and turns this ancient practice into a modern day technological advancement.

Online Literature: A Cause for More Complex Minds?

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Looking at the online literature, the one that caught my attention was “Red Riding Hood.” This site goes through the story of little red riding hood with somewhat of a twist to it. You watch her go through her journey with music in the background and only a few words such as “Once upon a not so far away.” As she goes through her journey, you can interact with some of her surroundings but not always, thus causing distraction from the story. In analyzing this story, I have come up with how online literature is much different from written literature because it calls for a different sort of attention.

When reading a book, you focus on the words and turning the pages, when you are presented with a piece of online literature, you have to focus on more than just words. Each piece is different thus causing you to explore the site until you figure out exactly what it is that you need to pay attention to. In the case of “Red Riding Hood”, there is stimulating music while words are also presented. Along with the words and music, there is a sort of interactive movie. You can interact with little red’s surroundings, but you soon realize that you cannot change her actions or the outcome of the story. In this way, the interactive aspect is somewhat distracting because you are trying to change the story knowing what will happen since we are all aware of the original story. While doing this, you miss what is actually happening and are surprised with a completely different ending. Carr states in his article, “reading is not an instinctive skill for human beings. It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is. We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand. And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains.” As online literature becomes more of a reality, our brains have to retrain our neural circuits into understanding a new way of reading. We are used to one stimulation when we are focusing on a story. With online literature, we have to retrain ourselves and get used to a new way of literally viewing a story. According to Carr, “there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.” This is proven in “Red Riding Hood” when you have to focus on many things at once to understand the whole story. We have to make our minds work faster in a new world of online literature.

The Simple Complexity of the Printed Text

After reading the articles by Murray and Carr and looking at the hypertext “The Museum”, I have found myself to disagree with much of what they are trying to argue. While most of their premise is correct in how we are turning into more of a digital era, I believe they are mislead in people turning away from books and other forms of print and relying on only the internet.

As Carr says, “the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” Most people these days rely on the internet for their complex research or even a simple question. While some believe you should stick to print books for reasons such as research, it is true that “some kinds of knowledge can be better represented in digital formats than they have been in print” (Murray 6). As books are turned into digital formats, they are easier to search through by simply typing in a word and finding every page that word relates to rather than having to flip through hundreds of pages. According to Carr, people have stopped reading books as much “not so much because the way I read changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed.” Carr believes we have started thinking differently due to the overflow of technology in our world. Carr states, “When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing.” While some may have this problem, many have the opposite. I find myself able to read long sections of books easily, but when it comes to long articles I find myself struggling to pay attention. Reading “The Museum”,  I found myself having the same problem. Murray stated, “Frustrated by the constraint of producing a single book with a single pattern of organization, I filled my collection with multiple cross-references, encouraging the reader to jump from one topic to another…I did not think of this cross-referencing as hypertext because I had not yet heard the term.”(4) While hypertexts may seem as new technology, we have been using this same context in footnotes for years in printed texts. While Carr would say that hypertexts are our changed way of thinking in technology, in reality it is the same as we have always thought. While in the printed version of a text, you have the difficulty of finding the other text, in a hypertext you have the ease of simply clicking a button. While this ease may seem a positive aspect, I found it troubling. I could not get through the story without clicking all sorts of buttons and getting lost until I could no longer focus on what was being said or where the story was going or where it even began for that matter. In this way, the internet is not making things easier, but making things more complicated in my mind by trying to mimic the simple complexity of the printed text.