My Interpretation of “The Black Box”


SOURCES OF THE IMAGES: Images found on Google images

I was ecstatic to create a mood board for the Twitter fiction story, “The Black Box” by Jennifer Egan because there were so many different elements of the story that stood out to me, that may not be significant to anybody else.

At the beginning of the story, I first thought “is this woman a prostitute?!” as she was explaining her intimacy with her new designated mate while thinking of her husband, a Kenyan man. However, I was confused about why she constantly reminded herself that she is not get getting paid, that volunteering was a form of patriotism. The text “patriotism” overlapping a picture of a woman in bed with another man and a picture of American flags symbolized that constant reminder to herself. It did not occur to me until the end that the narrator was a spy, so it was also a reminder to myself while I was reading the story. Therefore, the text “patriotism” was a key word that lead me to connect the two pictures together. The narrator was using her seductive advantage as a woman, to serve her country.

Moving on to the text, “beauties”. Becoming an alpha beauty is crucial because in order to complete the mission, the narrator had to gain her designated mate’s trust. I have used several pictures to portray the seductive side of women, which was often the weakness of men in the story. According to the narrator, there are crucial ingredients to a “successful projection” (Egan. “Black Box”). A shy girl with her head down and her hair partially covering her face and her wide smile, indicated innocence. Additionally, another picture with a woman showing her bare legs, was also mentioned as a necessary ingredient.  A girl in a nice white summer dress is “widely viewed as attractive” (Egan. “Black Box”).  These are necessary to become a designated mate’s beauty.

The word “imagine” on top of two pictures of a couple embracing each other and a tomato harvest referred to two of a few things that the narrator said to imagine, while she was wounded. It was interesting that she said to not reflect earlier in the story because “too much reflection is pointless”(Egan. “Black Box”) because after each mission, one cannot be the same. I have used a small picture of a woman looking at her reflection to demonstrate that thought. Although these were small parts of the story, I found that it had more of a deeper meaning to me; to sometimes imagine about what could happen, rather than reflecting, or over thinking on things that cannot change or things that constantly and uncontrollably change.

I personally loved the story and the way that it was originally formatted because I loved how most of the tweets were so broad and it can be related to anything, like quotes. Although reading it as a story was sort of frustrating, each tweet had its own personal meaning to me and I enjoyed that!

Citation: Egan, Jennifer. “Black Box.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 26 May 2016. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.

Reconstructed version of “The Black Box”

Twitter version of “The Black Box”