Bodies

For my second electronic literature blog I chose to take a closer look at one of the pieces that Mia mentioned in our first orientation class regarding electronic literature. “My Body – A Wunderkammer” by Shelley Jackson.

Right of the bat I wondered if this piece had any relation to “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley, but dismissed this as a coincident that happened to be just a little bit too on the nose to be considered a factor. It’s just happens to be a name that shows up twice, and I guess a reference to the human ‘body’ as well, which is arguably the star of the Frankenstein show, but still.

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However, the more and more I looked through ‘My Body’ it felt like there was supposed to be an ever so thin red line referring to Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein. It was only later while I read the ‘shoulder’ part of the piece and saw an explicit reference to the name “Frankenstein” that I realized there had at least been a modicum of interplay between the worlds. First and foremost, the first imagery we’re introduced to at the ‘main window’ of the piece. The body is, in my opinion, displayed to us in a way that points the reader towards ‘dissection’ and, or, ‘mutilation’ as we’re invited to examine and explore every individual part of the body.

She talks about how she thinks her body is “hulking”, “musclebound”, and describes how she thought of herself as “looming” over he friends—clear similarities with the monster of ‘Frankstein’.

Throughout the rest of the piece the author goes on to describe numerous parts of her body that she usually both scary and delightful. She talks about how she appreciates the aesthetic looks to certain body parts, but not her own. She talks about how she likes butts and hips on girls, but doesn’t want them for herself as she would rather have the straight and narrow look and feel of a boy’s body—wishing to be as “aerodynamic” as possible. (which made me chuckle as I’ve never thought of human body’s having the potential for being aerodynamic, but with the way she put it I understand exactly what she means.)

The majority of the text in the piece itself is made up of small stories where the author reminisces about certain parts of her childhood that relate to her body parts (and tattoos). These stories usually follow the same pattern as the rest of the story—there are bad/scary parts and there are good/delightful parts. The stories usually talk about how foreign the authors thinks of her own body, or either about how the public thinks her body is foreign, or how she is afraid of how other people perceive her changing body.

The story talks for the most part about scary and daunting puberty can be, and how children don’t consider each other too different until the arrival of the changes that come about as a result of puberty.

 

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