Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

Blog #2: Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

I’ve chosen to write about Hobo Lobo of Hamelin for my second blog in Electronic Literature. At the start of this piece I found myself extremely bewildered. I wasn’t sure what you click or what to not click. The webpage looked at first sight to be very promising, and I suspect that exactly that is why I suspected that I was not supposed to click anything (which, when looking back at it, sort of goes against the entire premise of hypetext).

I personally found the picture-book style to be extremely enticing as I love a good tribute made to the medias of the past. But that is just about where the nod back to the collective childhood ends as the text reads “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-gearing wholesome people.” Right off the bat the text lets us in on it’s angle; this isn’t your run-of-the-mill picture-book story.

I couldn’t help but smile once I noticed that the jovial music was coming closer with the turn of each now page. It is such a small addition to the piece, yet it made all the difference in my experience of reading through it. The merry music paints the picture of something festive and sociable happening right around the corner. An allusive hint at some joyful event taking place.

But this feeling of merriness changed right quick once you start to recognize the literature that most likely inspired the story, “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. I had no previous recollection of the name “Hamelin”, so the similarity was lost on me until I clicked the “10”-button on page 3 and the eerie and unsettling music started playing.

At the “11”-button on page 3 the mood and music changes abruptly and we’re introduced to the silent horror of an unspoken massacre. The music remains eerie and unnerving, but the text is completely gone—the only thing we’re left with is a series of illustrations which tells of the explicit killing that is taking place, but without saying anything. It’s clever in the sense that although children viewing this would probably realize that something is terribly wrong, they probably couldn’t tell exactly what’s happened, but most adult could because the implication is that strong—put together with the fact that most adults would be able to recognize the source material at this point.

There is clearly a deal of political connotations and implications in this piece as there were several terms thrown at us whenever the talk-show parts happened.

And what was that part about the Mayor standing in his office naked and smeared in blood all over his body and face? And did anyone else notice the border between button “2” and “3”? It was filled with what looked like guts that was being used as isolation between the walls separating the Mayor’s office and the waiting room. I’m suspected that it is supposed to be a callback to the killing of the rats—but I’m not sure why. I mean, yeah, the two conspired to rid the town of the “rat” problem, and they went through with it, but was that supposed to be the main point of the piece? And why? I don’t know—but it was weird. Seeing the Mayor naked all of a sudden threw me off the piece more than it absorbed me.

In conclusion, I thought the piece was innovative with its usage of a traditional medium to tell its story in such a modern setting. The piece was easy to read through—except for my personal hiccups in the beginning with how to navigate—and quickly teaches the reader how to read the e-lit.

—Robert

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