A Postmodern Fairytale: Leishman’s RedRidinghood

Out of all the works we were to look at this week, Donna Leishman's RedRidinghood grabbed my attention the most. I think what intrigued me was in the dark, distorted, and underlying sexual atmosphere within the piece, as opposed to the overall animated interactive narrative. While navigating the living digital story was an adventure in itself and added another dimension to reading and analyzing the fairytale, I think what worked for this piece was the fact it was so crudely drawn and animated, as well as the grotesque music and images we receive from RedRidinghood. Additionally, Leishman manages to achieve this effect because of the inspiration behind it; while experiencing the piece, I stuck around for the credits, and noticed that the author could not have done it without Angela Carter, because it would have been "impossible."

I was familiar with Carter's name because of having the pleasure of reading Wise Children, as well as reading some excerpts from her notable twisted take on fairytales.  When I saw her name at the end of the credits, Leishman's digital piece made a lot more sense to me. Of course, I immediately went to find the specific twist on Red Riding Hood that Leishman was inspired by, where I found the excerpt from In The Company of Wolves. In that specific narrative, Carter subverts the traditional ending of the story of inevitable death into a "happy," sexual one. Instead of either Little Red or the Wolf ending up dead, depending on what tales you read, it ends with them becoming lustful, taboo, and contented lovers.

I went back to Leishman's piece and explored it again, and definitely appreciated it more. Ultimately, her twist on Carter's own twist shows the new dimension in which literature can continue to exist and thrive in; through this element, Leishman demonstrates the thrill of tackling the computational narrative. Like Carter's story, it brings the same, if not more, perverse feelings, which we can see exemplified through the art itself. Leishman shows us the grotesque images of the child Little Red pregnant at the end of the story with the gun to her head, she shows us the lucid, weird montage that Little Red dreams in the field of cross-like flowers that make it nightmarish, and she shows us the suggestion of her impregnation with the cells splitting (which additionally insinuates The Wolf raping her while she sleeps). Additionally, the industrialized setting of her journey also adds to the feeling of postmodern unrest with the fairy tale. However, most unsettling of all, as I said before, is the background music. Again, it adds to that "lucid" and "nightmarish" vibe that the story is striving for; while Carter achieves the same thing with her words, Leishman takes it to another level through the different facets elit creates for the reader. In the end, I think that is what is most important as we start our journey in the class to understanding electronic literature; for me, this story illustrated the potential of the narrative world it can electronically create and exploit for the reader's own interdisciplinary pleasure.