My Thoughts On”How to Solve a Murder”

It was a pleasure to read “How to Solve a Murder” by The Guardian. It is easy to navigate, but it is also not dull. The cross platform format definitely enhances the story because it illustrates the different steps of solving a case. The story is first introduced with a real voice recording, which creates a mysterious impression that just leaves readers at the edge of their seats. Adding on, every step are in separate tabs. Going on different pages creates a sense of adventure, rather than just scrolling down a page alone.  I find that really fascinating because there are so many visuals that are captivating and not too gruesome. I like the fact that a lot of the pictures on each page are illustrations because I would have been terrified to see a blood scene in real photos. Furthermore, I did not find the format distracting at all. I was actually more engaged into the story because the content is so interesting and easy to read. It is educational, yet entertaining.The language is not complex and because it is based on true events, it makes the story more suspenseful.  This is one of my favourite stories of this course because of the simplicity of the layout and the language. It is indeed simple, but it is also eye catching and not distracting at the same time. As a digital story, this work is a great result of a combination of branded content and storytelling. It educates people about the work of policemen, but also advertises the Amazon’s TV show, Bosch (Guardian, The. “How to Solve a Murder).

Citation: “How to solve a murder.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

How to Solve a Murder


“The Black Box” By Jennifer Egan

A Review of a Unique Literary Piece

Jennifer Egan is famous for her notable novels. “The Invisible Circus”, which was published in 1995 (Leggett, “The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan”), became a movie starring Cameron Diaz in 2001. Also, her most recent novel, published in 2010, “A Visit from A Goon Squad”, has received the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 (“Jennifer Egan”). Aside from all of Egan’s essentially successful novels, there is one particular story where she has incorporated a whole new format of literature. She has completely disregarded the traditional literary structure and created her own Twitter Fiction story called “The Black Box”.  

“The Black Box” is a story that revolves around the narrator, who is an American volunteer spy. Her duties include obtaining important data from a terrorist, even if it means risking her life. The usage of technology hints that the story takes place in the future. She uses advanced materials, such as a hidden microphone and a microchip, which are crucial to her mission. In addition to her gadgets, the narrator has the most effective weapon of all, herself (Egan. “Jennifer Egan’s Black Box”).

This patriotic spy uses herself as an advantage against terrorists. She strategically uses a combination of seduction and innocence. “The Black Box” shows how women are portrayed as objects who are valued according to their appearance. Women in the story compete against each other to become a man’s ‘beauty’ using their looks (Egan. “Jennifer Egan’s Black Box”). I strongly believe that this story evidently compares the expected role of a woman to the reality of a woman’s dominance.   

I have confidence that this story deeply connects to the modern culture and the changing views of women. Because of stereotypes, women are perceived as innocent, weak, and most importantly, inferior to men. However, the narrator illustrates heroism throughout the story by using society’s portrayal of women to complete her mission. Apparently, the essential ‘ingredients’ for a woman to create a successful impression to males are “giggles; bare legs; shyness” (Egan. “Jennifer Egan’s Black Box”). With that being said, I also find it offensive because in order to save a country, a woman must sexualize herself to manipulate and gain the enemy’s trust.  I admire how the story is about a woman who is willing to sacrifice her life to save her country, but I dislike how she did so. A woman can be a hero without having to sexualize herself. I have respect for the narrator because her job is really difficult and completely voluntary. However, a woman should not feel the need to sexualize herself just to complete a mission. Overall, it is important to me how this story can strengthen the confidence of women of all ages by showing that they can be heroic figures as well. Nevertheless, women of all ages should also know that they do not need to sexualize themselves, in order to become a hero.

“The Black Box” has been written in a unique format that is rarely used by novelists. In my opinion, if the story was written as a novel rather than a set of tweets, it would not have made the same, powerful impact. I found it interesting how each part of the story was written relatively similar to a quote. Most of the tweets were broad, so it was easier for the audience to relate to the story, portion by portion. Although it was difficult for me to adapt to the format at first, I thought it was a brilliant way for readers to interact with the story. The story was written in a “you” narration, which I felt that I was being placed in the narrator’s shoes.  Also, people have the option to engage with the most relatable tweets. They can either ‘like’ it, re-tweet it, or even comment on it! I would definitely recommend this empowering story to a teenage girl or an adult who may be more familiarized with Twitter. To me, this story is a five-star read.


CBC Books. “Jennifer Egan’s Black Box.” Storify, CBC Books, 2012, Accessed 05 Feb. 2017.

“Jennifer Egan.” Jennifer Egan, Accessed 05 Feb. 2017.

Leggett, Robin. “The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan.” The Book Bag, Accessed 05 Feb. 2017.



“For You I Will” VS. “Siwash Rock”

As I read the short story written by E. Pauline Johnson (which is based on the oral stories by Chief Joe Capilano), it reminded me of the song, “For You I will” by Monica.

The song is about someone being capable of doing anything and everything they can for the person they love. Similarly, the father in the legend did not let anyone stand in his way of becoming the best father he could be. No matter the consequences or the challenges that came, the father was willing to risk everything so his child would a chance to have a clean and healthy life (Johnson, P. “The Siwash Rock”).

Citation: Monica. “For You I Will.” Space Jam, 1996.

The chorus alone can be read as a message from the father to his expected child. The song symbolizes the beginning of his unconditional love. He was so determined to be completely cleansed that nothing was going to stop him, even the men of the Sagalie Tyee.  When the Sagalie Tyee told the man to move out of their way, he refused to listen. Even when began to threaten him to transform him into a fish, tree, or stone, he still did not care. He wanted the perfect life for his child, and he was willing to face every challenge in order to succeed (Johnson, P., “The Siwash Rock”). The song suggests that sacrifice is worth the hard work for the people you love. Therefore, I believe that the song reflects the story perfectly.

Citation:  Johnson, E. Pauline. “LEGENDS of VANCOUVER.” Legends of Vancouver. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

Siwash Rock

For You I Will by Monica

Prying into “Pry”

Pry is a touchscreen fiction created by Tender Claws. This interactive fiction is uniquely shown in a first-person perspective. What is interesting about this app is that the reader is literally placed in the protagonist, James,’ eyes. Unlike usual stories, this touchscreen app enables the audience to actually experience a character’s thoughts and feelings. It is difficult to relate to a veteran’s experience after a war. However, with a usage of various elements, such as the text appearing and the touch motions, the audience can see what James feels and thinks after the Gulf War.

The usage of rapidly flashing texts and images were super annoying and frustrating. I tried to make sense of what was being said, but the flashes gave me a headache. I believe that this is what Tender Claws was trying to portray. The pain of the flashing text and images that I was experiencing reflects the same confusion and frustration that James feels.

Although the interaction of the app gets readers to engage with the story in a unique way, I feel that the interaction distracts the reader from what is happening. At times, I was more focused on ways different touch motions were being used, rather than observing the relationship between the interactivity and the story. I did not realize what those functions were actually doing until I finished watching the playthrough.

Overall, it was a clever experience to see a story in the protagonist’s perspective. This app illustrates a unique way to literally pry into a character’s story.

Citation: Cannizzaro, Danny and Samantha Gorman. “Pry.” Tender Claws, 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

Pry Playthrough