“Black Box: Prose of Twitter Fiction”

From beginning to end of “Black Box” Jennifer Egan establishes a commanding voice from her protagonist who relays her experience as a spy through what is more or less a long list of lessons. Instead of recalling her mission in long detailed descriptions, Egan directly addresses the reader and commands that we reflect on her character’s mission and learn from her observations and decision making. At most, it takes 1-2 sentences to contextualize what is happening to her, learn a new lesson from her situation, and then quickly move on to her next scenario. This format is consistent through out all 8,500 words. While I read the original New Yorker version first, I felt that the twitter version still allowed the strong voice of Egan’s character to remain. Twitter already restricts your word count and instead of being able to tell followers every detail of your daily experiences, one is forced to pick and choose specific information they wish to tell. This is a strength the protagonist proves she already has as she lists off lesson after lesson connecting to the reader through specific analysis of her own experiences.

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