Fitting the Pattern

For my first blog post, I chose Fitting the Pattern by Christine Wilks out of the E-Lit directory. The main reason that I chose it was because it didn’t look scary or complicated and had something to do with clothes. It did not disappoint; it ended up being a hypertext memoir about the relationship between the dress-maker mother and her two daughters told through the interactive setting of a sewing tools.

The text itself was aesthetically pleasing and simply enough on the eyes. It even made very realistic noises, which I found incredibly satisfying. Here’s an example of what the text looks like:

The manipulation of the text was easy enough (especially nice for a beginner like me).  The user chooses a seam ripper, scissors, pins or a sewing machine foot and manipulates the clothing on the screen causes the poetry to appear. The text will tell you when to pick another tool. After you have read the text for each four tools, they reload with new tasks and new words. Because you can choose any of the four tools in any order, it brings a fluidity similar to “Penetration” and “Dispossession.” I’m starting to find non-linear patterns very freeing. The interaction with the text kept my interest (in a way that clicking the next link wouldn’t have) but didn’t distract from the story. I especially liked the pattern icon in the bottom right corner because it let me know how far into the story I was and gave me a sense of completion when I was finished.

That’s definitely something that English majors like, as we have learned so far in this class. Even though I could have chosen multiple endings, the one that I did chose felt like the right one. There was a definite sense of closure.

I think that setting the story on top of a visual representation of the narrator’s mother’s profession was a very good choice. A lot of conflict within families comes from what the parents do for a living. If a parent works too hard, the child might feel neglected. If a parent doesn’t make enough money, the child might be resentful of the position that the lack of income places them in society. The narrator seems to have experienced a mixture of these two things as well as the fact that her mother made her clothes and therefore expected her to always dress nicely and be the size and shape that the mother wanted her to be.

The story resonated very strongly with me because a close friend of mine has a mother who sounds very similar to the mother of the narrator. Both mothers expect their children to fit a certain mold that they have created for them, but are so consumed by their jobs that parenting takes a backseat. One way that I think the text succeeded in making me draw this parallel is that because the reader chooses the order of the story, it is not in chronological order. When my friend talks to me about her mother and the struggles that they have had, she obviously doesn’t sit me down and list her grievances in order starting at her birth. With any person, you learn about them in bits and pieces out of order and I think this text captures that very well.

 

Here is the link if you want to check it out : http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/wilks_fittingthepattern.html

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