The Power of Remediation

Critical Interpretation of a Digital Surrogate

In the short story “Black Box”, by Jennifer Egan, much of the plot is in the hands of the reader to determine.  The stories protagonist is a voluntary spy who has an assignment to extract information from a dangerous terrorist.

The original story is written in lines of two which is what makes the remediation to twitter very successful. This is so because the two lines fit in a single tweet and the reader is allowed to visualise and interpret information for themselves and even ask themselves questions such as “why she is doing this as a voluntary act?” or  “why does the  terrorist need her for this particular moment in time?”

In the original format of the story, a white space separates thoughts the reader should experience. A lot of readers, however, make the mistake of scrolling down and reading rather than exploring. Therefore, a lot is gained for the reader in the translation to twitter format because if each two-line composition is not thought of carefully and the questions the reader has are not answered before moving on, the story quickly falls out of the reader’s grasp. Each tweet indicates to the reader as a single thought in the head of the subject or an actual occurrence of events in that particular moment of time.

In conclusion, the space left between the lines by the author allows the reader to abstract lessons the subject learns rather than the events themselves.

Egan, J. (2016, May 26). “Black Box”. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

Water Villa Balcony – Picture of Medhufushi Island Resort, Medhufushi Island. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from