Curious Incident Analysis

September 6, 2021 By Mason

As a part of this week’s assignments for DS106, we had to read a few essays and watch some videos on storytelling, particularly through digital mediums. The main thing I took away from these readings was that digital storytelling provides an entirely different set of tools than other mediums. In his essay, I link, therefore I am, Zacharias Szumer discussed how hyperlinks could be embedded into stories as a way to create nonlinear, branching narratives. However, one of the things that interested me most was how they used hyperlinks within their essay. They would frequently use hyperlinks in order provide immediate access to supplemental material, including definitions and some of the digital narratives they reference in the essay. This stood out to me as a really great way of incorporating sources and information into a text, and it also reminded me of a story I read in high school.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a book written from the perspective of a neurodivergent child who is trying to find out who killed his neighbor’s dog. I had started to re-read it recently because I was cast in my college’s production of the book’s play adaptation. Obviously, since it is a book, the story can’t include hyperlinks, however, it does include a lot of supplemental material, such as graphs, pictures, and diagrams. These materials help elaborate or visualize certain parts of the story and, despite being in an entirely different medium, their inclusion is very similar in function to the hyperlinks in Szumer’s essay. Had this book been written in a digital medium, I assume that the author would have included some of the information pertaining to real people and mathematical theorems as hyperlinks.

Revisiting this story after reviewing the materials for class was interesting because it allowed me to review the act of telling a story through print from the perspective of telling a story through a digital medium. Of course, there were a lot of similarities. Kurt Vonnegut’s method of story graphing can be applied to any narrative (I considered making a graph for Curious Incident, but the main character’s state of being fluctuates drastically within the story to the point where I would have to go through the text again in order to have an accurate chart) and the concept of the “hook” presented in the first chapter of The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media is also present, as the book begins with the main character describing a dead dog. The main character even acknowledges this, stating his began the book this way because his teacher told him to start his story with an exciting event. Seeing these elements along with the supplemental materials show up within the book helped me realize that the only difference between how stories are told in digital and print mediums are the tools available within them.