http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/08/a-short-story-written-with-thought-to-text-technology.html What literary techniques are used in this short story "A Short Story Written with...

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This story, "A Short Story Written with Thought-to-Text Technology" posted by Jesse Eisenberg, was published in The New Yorker

There are not many typical literary devices used in this story. Calling his writing "painting" is a metaphor, and there are several similes. Eisenberg also includes some specifics and details, and the setting (a Starbucks coffee shop) provides some implied sensory details (sights, sounds, smells).

The dominant literary element used in this short story, however, is interior monologue, also known as stream of consciousness. John, the narrator, writes his thoughts as he thinks them as he sits in a Starbucks. His thoughts change from pleasant to rather angry and back again, though he never speaks to anyone but himself; and we are allowed to listen to his thoughts. This is intriguing here, because we are able to listen to John rather fooling himself into thinking he is happy before he is forced to face his true reality, which makes him happy again. 

The title reflects the plot--what he thinks gets written, whether it the is through literal technology or not--as well as the primary literary technique of the story. Note the randomness (typical of the way our minds often work) of these lines which end the story:

I’ll eat and drink and then get back to work. Everything seems to be flowing well. It was a little tough getting into it but now it’s really flowing. It’s weird how I do that—how I think I can’t write something and suddenly I’m carried away and then I can’t stop writing. I think I’m too hard on myself. I think I punish myself for no reason. But I think I’m really hitting my stride now. I’ll just get that tea. That nice hibiscus tea.

And then get back to work.

The primary literary technique in this story, then, is the use of an interior monologue, also known as stream of consciousness.

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