Michael DiBianco '96

Patchwork Girl, perhaps to a greater degree than any other hypertext thus far, addresses the issue of identity as it is inextricably linked to the author/subject relationship. Equally important, she utilizes the very structure of the hypertext environment in order to demonstrate the distinctly multi-vocal, always questioning, always searching voice of the narrator. Within Patchwork Girl, the narrator is as much a jumbled collection of disparate parts as her monster. This is most evident in the structure of the work: the manner in which Jackson continually incorporates different personas, different voices, at all levels of the text. There is a sense of unceasingly assuming new identities, trying them on briefly, then letting the hypertextual structure of the fiction erase them, only to be subsequently replaced by new identities:

"I hop from stone to stone and an electronic river washes out my scent in the intervals. I am a discontinuous trace, a dotted line."

"She does not resemble me. But then I begin to wonder if I still resemble myself."

The collection of narrative voices and varying sources found throughout Patchwork Girl are extensive and eclectic: she borrows passages both from Elle magazine and the user's manual to Storyspace to name a few. The consequent confusion that arises from this fact, from the multitude of voices and conflicting tones and styles, is not accidental, but rather, crucial to the text.

"I am a mixed metaphor. Metaphor, meaning sometime like "bearing across," is itself a fine metaphor for my condition. Every part of me is linked to other territories alien to it but equally mine."

This excerpt is extremely appropriate to much of the text, and perhaps specifically to the "crazy quilt" section. Throughout the work, Jackson is continually questioning and expanding the borders of the narrative, and in so doing, expanding the sense of self -- and the search for this sense of self -- that unifies Patchwork Girl.