Shy Boy: Electronic Literature


Shy Boy is poem created on a computer that has visual effects as well as words. This piece is an example of electronic literature. Katherine Hayles, the author of “Electronic Literature: What is it?” explains why this piece would not be considered print. Electronic literature is “a first-generation digital object created on a computer and (usually) meant to be read on a computer” (Hayles). This does not include pieces, such as word documents, were the work can be read in print. Shy Boy was created to be read on a computer because the words move and disappear. The movement of the words allows the reader to come closer to the overall meaning of the poem. The poem tells of the feelings of a shy boy. He wants to fade into the background and vanish. During Shy Boy, the word ‘vanish’ actually disappears, adding emphasis on the boy’s emotions. Shy Boy cannot be told the same way in a print version. The reader would not have the same experience with Shy Boy in just print, which is the author’s intention. This electronic literature piece was create by the author for the purpose of experiencing it on the computer. Electronic literature “challenges us to re-think our assumptions of what literature can do and be” (Hayles). Literature is no longer just print. Authors can have moving words, sound and moving images to better convey their message to the reader.

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