Frankenfiction: Scars, Seams, and Links in Narrative

Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)

One of the more memorable nonlinear structures in Shelley Jackson's hypertext Patchwork Girl occurs is found in her description of the making of the creature/narrative (Jackson's work blurs the distinctions between the authoring of Frankenstein and the sewing together of the creation, whose seams take the form of scars). Midway through the description, the narrative (which until then has been relatively linear, though points of departure into criticism or other concurrent narratives exist) divides. The dialog box (Storyspace's signpost at the fork in the road) gives the reader two options for continuing the construction of the narrative: "sewn" and "written". As if that weren't enough, the signpost is backward: the "sewn" link gives a brief treatise on stitching before talking about creation through the joining of words, while the "written" link talks of this joining of words as another form of sewing.