Autumn’s Daughter

Autumn’s Daughter is a work of interactive fiction about a middle eastern girl, most likely a teenager or young adult, who wants to be educated and live independently, but is forced into an arranged marriage. You are asked to make choices in hopes of helping the girl gain independence from the patriarchy that entraps her.

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Screen shot from Autumn’s Daughter

The story moves quickly, but the narration quickly pulls you into the story and the underlying conflict. When it becomes apparent that it was even difficult for the girl who you are playing as to convince her father to let her go to school, the desire fills you instantly to help this girl become independent of the patriarchy that is so deeply imbedded in her society. While it claims that the smallest choices in this game can have a big effect, I interpreted this to mean that the bolder or bigger the choice the better. This interpretation, I soon found out, was incorrect.  I found that choosing bigger, bolder moves had a more negative impact on the direction of the story. Directly defying what was asked of you and taking drastic measures in hopes of gaining independence ultimately only offered freedom in less than pleasing ways, such as committing suicide.

When I made choices that were much more in line with what was expected and only contained subtle moves to break away, I seemed to make the biggest differences. Although I never did become fully independent, my end results hinted that eventually the girl would be able to free herself of the patriarchal constraints of her society.

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Screen shot of the ending I achieved playing Autumn’s Daughter

This work of interactive fiction provides an interesting and possibly different solution to what could be considered a major issue for women in the middle east. Often times people think that the only way to break free from the patriarchy is to take drastic measure and make bold moves. However, by playing this game, we see that the bold moves don’t really get you anywhere and it is the clever, more subtly disobedient choices that elicit the bigger, more optimistic results for this young girl and her future.

 

  5 comments for “Autumn’s Daughter

  1. scolliga
    February 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

    I agree that this is a really cool work. I understand where you’re coming from about its ability to sweep you up and feel for this character, which doesn’t always happen in interactive fiction because of its tendency for the fantastic. I really liked how it operated the same way as a “choose-your-own” adventure story (which often deals with the previously mentioned fantastic), but dealt with some very real, believable problems. This is also seen in the way the responses work, as you pointed out, and how the less overt ones tend to reward the character with more freedom.

  2. Grace Draper
    February 24, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I think it’s really awesome when something that is intended to be fun also gives a deeper message to it’s audience or players. Unless you are in a situation like this of arranged marriages and lack of control over your education future, etc. it would be hard to imagine what it is like. This interactive fiction is great because it simulates something for the reader that they wouldn’t normally experience, possibly taking down stereotypes they may have and making it easier to understand other cultures. Bravo, Autumn’s Daughter.

  3. asanixay
    February 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Autumn’s Daughter reminds me a lot of the butterfly effect. An example of the effect is that the flap of a butterfly’s wings creates a hurricane on the other side of the world. Another example is a Treehouse of Horror episode from The Simpsons. Homer accidentally invents a time machine and travels back to the time of the dinosaurs. During his stay, he swats a mosquito. When he returns home, he finds out that killing that mosquito has made Ned Flanders the overlord of the world. I think Autumn’s Daughter is a great example of why you should think before you act. If you’re going to rebel, you need to think about it first, as it may result in unexpected consequences.

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