6) Beyond Myth and Metaphor_Narrative in Digital Media

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6) "Beyond Myth and Metaphor: Narrative in Digital Media" ---Marie-Laure Ryan

looks at: George Landow Hypertext 2.0

 

Metaphor of narrative interface: Apple introduces the desktop in the mid-eighties to help ease the idea that "computers are ugly, fearsome, inhuman, and they make people feel inadequete" (Ryan 583). They accomplish this by usinng a set of metaphors which associate the parts of "a software package with familiar objects, such as pens, files, folders, erasers, pallettes, envelopes, and so on" (Ryan 584). What is unfortunate about this metaphor, says Ryan, is that it limits "the computer to the role of a business machine" (584). This is exactly how the computer first began as a...

 

Hypertext, and the Myth of the Aleph: "The Aleph is a small, bound object that expands into an infinity of spectacles" (587). Ryan compares the idea of the Aleph to the concept of hypertext. She explains that "hypertext is a textual object that appears bigger than it is because readers could spend hours - ideally, their entire lifetimes - uraveling new stories from it" (587). Ryan explains that George Landow discusses this concept in his book, Hypertext 2.0. Landow's chapter "Reconfiguring Narrative" discusses narrative in two senses: one is in the sense of narrative discourse, and the other as narrative representation, or story. In the sense of discourse, Ryan explains, "hypertext changes the way narrative structures are encoded, how they come to the reader, how they are experienced in their dynamic unfolding" (588). Hypertext is able to reconfigure narrative on the discourse level because of its ability to allow the reader to interact and choose his or her own path "through the narrtive discourse and to view its units in many different orders" (Ryan 588). This interpreation of "reconfiguring narrative" is not what Landow had in mind, however, says Ryan. She says that Landow sees hypertext in a way that challenges the traditional Aristotelian view of narrative where the story adheres to a fixed sequence....(588).

 

"Hypertext challenges the notion that there is only one sequence and one plot in the text and that readers are done when they have reconstructed an event trajectory that leads from a beginning to an end (Ryan 588-589).