Archive for November, 2012

What would happen if the female characters from Jane Eyre and those from Diablo III were to come into contact with one another, and exist in the same environment?  For our final project, Savauna Reyna and I plan to make a video that explores this idea.  Jane is on a quest of self exploration, she sets out determinedly in search of excitement.  The characters that Savauna and I play in Diablo III are on their own mission.  If these women were to meet, would they find a kindred spirit in their strong female counterpart, or would their similarities just serve to highlight their differences, thus creating animosity in the household.  In our era of reality television, no one is safe, not even fictional characters.



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In Calliois’ Typology of Play, the idea is put forth that in literary studies, students are only taught to analyze text through close reading.  This does not leave students with an understanding of the text, instead they are left guessing at the proper interpretation of a text when the nature of literature is that there are many interpretations of a work depending on the individual who reads it.  For literary studies students, playing Diablo III is a unique experience.  While students have become programmed to approach reading a book as a task to discover the author’s meaning, it has not become ingrained in them to approach a computer game in this way.  Therefore, Diablo III is able to be approached as play and students can discover new thoughts and ideas without wondering if they are interpreting the material correctly.

In Wyatt Cheng’s developer journal he described how he remembered “watching Jay play his barbarian. He was having a blast, killing monsters left and right”.  Even the developers of Diablo III exhibit Calliois’ typology of Play.  Even though creating this game was their job, they enjoyed it and incorporated play into their creative process.  They funneled their creative energy produced from playing into improving the game and the experience of the gamer.  Developers have learned to harness play to enhance work, a skill that literary students are just starting to recognize.

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1.  What is the significance of your partner’s hero?

  • Droog is a Witch Dr. who goes to find Leah, who has survived the fallen star.  Then Droog goes to speak to captain Rumford.  Droog helps to fight the undead.
  • Droog is a manipulator of the forces of life and death, as well as a shrewd caster who wields the power of the spirits in astounding ways.
  • She has a wide range of spells to choose from and her primary attribute is intelligence.
  • As well as being wise and cunning, she draws upon the magic of the spirits and summons creatures from beyond the grave.

2.   Did your partner listen to the Lore, Quests, Journals, and townspeople?

  • Yes, Savauna had her character, Droog listen to many of the people she came across.  She also read Leah’s journal and listened to the lore.

3.  What are the rules of this game-that you can discover so far?

  • So far, the rules seem to be for your character to go on quests and kill all of the undead that you come across.  You are also supposed to gather money and other items that could help you on your journey.

4.  At what level did your partner conclude the play?  How much money had her hero found?

  • She stoped at level 3.
  • She had 445 gold coins.

5.  What’s in the inventory?

  • 5 minor health potions,
  • cloth pants
  • gloves
  • shoes
  • simple knife
  • crude hand axe
  • chest armor
  • scouting shoes
  • fine short sword

6.  Was anything sold, repaired, or bought with the merchant?

  • When she was about to die, she used a health potion to recover her life.

7.  What skills are available to your partner’s hero?

  • Droog can shoot a deadly poison dart
  • She can swing her melee weapon at an enemy

8.  What makes your partner’s hero a “hero”?

  • Savauna’s hero, Droog, is a hero because she is a female character who has set out to help save the world.  In this apocalyptic world, gender boundaries are not significant.
  • She is a hero because other characters are willing to follow her and help her.

9.  How can this kind of gaming “save the world”?

  • It creates people who are good at problem solving and can use extreme focus to solve a problem.
  • It creates trust between two people who have played a game together.

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Nox picture

“To be nothing – is that not, after all, the most satisfactory fact in the whole world?” (Virginia Woolf Flush 87).

This picture of a house is directly adjacent to Carson’s musings on the meaning of the word autopsy.  As Carson is trying to sort out the emotional experience of her brother’s passing.  The picture is of a house and three people.  The shadow of the person taking the picture is cast on a thick white blanket of snow.  The shadow in the picture is representative of the fact that her brother has just recently died.  He is not physically in the picture or in this world, but like a shadow the memories of him are present in everyone’s’ minds as they mourn his loss.

The text that is paired with the image defines the use of the word “autopsy” as it is used by historians.  This word is used by historians when they themselves view a historical event take place and then they document.  The historian has power over this event because they saw it happen in real-time.  Carson and her family had power over her brother’s death because they were witness to the event and experienced it.  This gave them the power to believe that it actually occurred and they were able to accept it and continue the grieving process.  Her brother’s dog, Buster, was not an eyewitness to the event.  He was not able to believe that his master was truly gone, until he saw the coffin.

Carson muses on the subject of becoming nothing once you have died.  Someone has performed an autopsy, they have witnessed your life, but history is always moving into the past.  You have died, the event has concluded.  Now you are considered nothing, you are no longer living.  Is this the most satisfactory feeling?  Yes, you have completed your final right of passage.  Dying which everyone will do, symbolizes that you have lived, and done the greatest thing one can do.

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Mrs. Alice Fairfax is a unique character from one of Charlotte Brontë’s most famous works, Jane Eyre.  She is an elderly widow, who is in charge of running Thornfield Hall.  Mrs. Fairfax respects her employer Mr. Rochester, whom she is also related to, and she also befriends Jane who looks at her as a grandmother figure.  It is Mrs. Fairfax who responds to Jane’s advertisement as a governess and replies, thus changing the lives of both Jane and Mr. Rochester forever.  As a twitter character, Mrs. Fairfax changes lives as well, giving perspective on the modern-day world, other novels, and even other characters from Jane Eyre.   

The character of Mrs. Fairfax is representative of women’s position in society during 1847.  Mrs. Fairfax resides firmly within the sphere of domesticity, taking care of Thornfield Hall and all who enter its hallowed halls.  Upon receiving her position as governess, Jane was very nervous; she was not well-traveled and had spent her 18 years at the home of Mrs. Reed and at school.  However, immediately upon arrival Mrs. Fairfax put her at ease.  This is the woman’s role, which Mrs. Fairfax fills.  Mrs. Alice Fairfax continues to take on this role through the medium of twitter.  She is not afraid to give her honest opinion, especially to Georgiana Reed, because she has a strict idea of the role of women.  Mrs. Fairfax has the best intentions but her advice is outdated for the 21st century twitter audience, thus giving her tweets a comedic sense, as well as portraying the change in how women are viewed in the modern world.

The second way in which Mrs. Fairfax portrays the role of women in society during this time is how she takes care of Thornfield Hall and her employer, Mr. Rochester.  She takes pride in the appearance of her master’s mansion, because her skill and value lies in Thornfield’s appearance because this demonstrates her competence.  Her employer and his guests are of her utmost concern.  Mrs. Fairfax demonstrates the essence of her character, which is tied to her respect for Mr. Rochester and Thornfield hall through her tweets.  Her caretaker instincts are at the core of her character and can not be diminished.  She stays true to who she is and tries to help even the most helpless characters such as Alex from A Clockwork Orange.

The character of Mrs. Fairfax lends itself perfectly to the medium of twitter, which is why in the tweets she retains the same voice as in Jane Eyre.  She is the ideal working woman of 1847 who is tweeting in the 21st century.  The tweets of Mrs. Fairfax show the stark contrast between her idea of the woman’s role and the modern understanding of womanhood in society.  Women’s equality with men in the 21st century baffles Mrs. Fairfax.  Mrs. Fairfax’s tweets reveal the baffled revelations of an 18th century woman dropped into our modern age of feminism and equality in order to show how the role of women in society has changed.

The two subsequent tweets demonstrate the juxtaposition between Mrs. Fairfax’s idea of society and how women operate within that society compared to our modern world.  In 1847 women did not have the vote, they relied on men who were in charge of the “most important” affairs such as running the country.  For Mrs. Fairfax, the character from Jane Eyre who has been plucked from her novel and dropped into the 21st century, the idea of women having a say in the government is beyond her comprehension.  She has to retreat to a task from her life at Thornfield for comfort, namely, shining the shoes of the man she serves.  The second tweet illustrates the decision to keep Mrs. Fairfax’s voice to show how great of a chasm lies between her and the modern world that now surrounds her.

By placing a woman who epitomizes an entirely different set of social codes and ideas into our modern world, one is forced to see the progress that surrounds us, which is often taken for granted.  It takes an outsider for us to realize how far we have come, and how far we still wish to go.  For this task, Mrs. Fairfax is the perfect choice because she is quite conservative.  She is quite stunned to discover that Jane and Mr. Rochester are in love, because Jane comes from a lower social standing.  She is also quite oblivious and at times simple-minded, which creates a comedic effect within the tweets.Not only did Mrs. Fairfax interact with events taking place in the 21st century, she also voiced her opinion on other novels and the characters contained within them.  As readers we often view characters and create our opinions of them based on our own experiences and morals.  The tweets of Mrs. Fairfax allow the unique experience of viewing characters through her eyes.  Through the eyes of another character immortalized in text.

When Mrs. Fairfax feels that she is able to relate to a character, as is the case with Clarissa from The Hours and  Mrs. Dalloway, it is because she feels as if they share common ground such as hosting parties.  The simple-mindedness of Alice Fairfax is used to highlight the fact that the characters she feels she can relate to are in actuality nothing like her.  They are in fact, very different.  Not only to they exist in different time periods but they have different views of womanhood.  Mrs. Fairfax finds comfort in fulfilling the position that society has created for her while Mrs. Dalloway is questioning the meaning of her life.  Clarissa inhabits our own modern society.  Mrs. Fairfax is incapable of understanding the nature of the party that Clarissa is throwing for her brilliant but dying friend.  The solidarity that Mrs. Fairfax feels for these characters highlights their differences in a comedic way.  It also serves as a way of illustrating how women’s roles have changed over time, despite the fact that women continue to throw parties.

The character that Mrs. Fairfax is the most dissimilar to is Alex from A Clockwork Orange.  In no other reality would these two ever encounter one another.  The thought of Mrs. Fairfax trying to assimilate into Alex’s world, when she uses the term “droog” is hilarious, but understandable because Alex is a master manipulator and is always searching for recruits to initiate into his gang.  Mrs. Fairfax is just simple enough that she just might find herself as Alex’s new gang member.

While the differences between Mrs. Fairfax and our modern world and characters from other novels are obvious, it is momentarily surprising that Mrs. Fairfax finds nothing in common with Georgiana Reed.  However, there is a generational difference between these two characters who are polar opposites despite inhabiting the same novel.  Not only does Mrs. Fairfax’s interaction with Georgiana create comedic entertainment, it demonstrated the different social roles of women who inhabited different economic positions.  While the social roles of today are different, women still take on different roles depending on their economic statuses.

Mrs. Fairfax is a woman who exists in a novel from a time period far removed from the one we find ourselves inhabiting today.  However, once she is infused into our modern society through the mode of twitter, it is clear that while ideas and gender roles have changed drastically, the concept of gender roles has not been eliminated from our would.  Mrs. Fairfax lives in every modern woman, her tweets resonate with us because she is relevent.

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The materiality of a literary work is very important because it affects the reading experience.  How a work is presented should take the reader on a journey that enhances their experience rather than being cumbersome to the reader.  If  the materiality of a work hinders the reader’s experience, then it can no longer be considered art.  The most common form that literature comes in, is where the pages are bound together between a front and a back cover and the reader, if they so choose, is able to read continuously through the pages from start to finish.

Tree of Codes is in the standard form of most books, in that it is a series of pages that are bound together and that you read one after the other.  However, Tree of Codes is unique because sections of each page are cut out so that you can see pieces of text that are on subsequent pages.  The materiality of Tree of Codes hinders the reading experience because the reader’s journey through the text is interrupted.  The reader’s attention is drawn not only to the text on the page, but to the text on subsequent pages, so that they are reading text that is not part of the narrative yet.  Visually the text is hard to follow because of the presence of text from other pages.  The pages themselves are hard to turn, which interrupts the reader’s experience because they are battling with the cumbersome pages.  The materiality of the work is constantly interrupting the reader’s interaction with the text and therefore can not be held up to the standard of art.

The materiality of Nox is dissimilar from other works because it comes in a box, which contains pages that fold out accordion style on one continuous piece of paper.  The reader’s experience is not interrupted, and the reader is therefore able to follow the narrative and gain the true essence of Nox.  By having the pages fold out of the box in a continuous stream, Nox is experienced the way the author intended for the work to be experience.  There is only one way to consume the material as opposed to Tee of Codes.  The materiality of Nox, enhances the reader’s experience and Nox can therefore be elevated to the level of art.

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She herself is trapped here forever, posing as a wife.  She must get through this night, and then tomorrow morning, and then another night here, in these rooms, with nowhere else to go.  She must please; she must continue.  It could be dreadful and wonderful.  We thought her sorrows were ordinary sorrows; we had no idea.  Pull yourself together, for heaven’s sake.  As she stands she’s aware of her disheveled housdress, the lank disorder of her hair.  As she passes the oval mirror that hangs in the foyer she is tempted, briefly, to look at her reflection.  But she can’t.

He says, “This is great. This is perfect”.  His hair is slick with Vitalis, slightly coarse, like an otter’s pelt.  He is a distinctly earthly and even decorative figure, all billows and scrolls, his face and body rendered in an affectionate, slightly sentimentalized attempt to depict a state of human abundance so lavish it edges over into the ethereal.  His face, stubbled now, has a sweaty shine, and his well-tended hair has relaxed enough to produce a single oily forelock, about the width of a blade of grass, that dangles to a point just above his brows.

“Let’s leave her now, everyone,” Vanessa says.  “We’ve done what we can.”  Clarissa, she thinks, is not the bride of death after all.  Clarissa is the bed in which the bride is laid.

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