Lightbox Short Story | Essay

Essay 8 - Assignment 5A
Assignment 5A: Lightbox

Nowadays, it is possible to build a relationship with another human being without even meeting or touching in real life. Social media has enabled this form of social encounter and it has become widely popular to communicate with and observe other people from a safe distance.

However, when using social media it has the side effect that it can create a fake, anonymous, and faceless reality, which blurs the line between what is real and what is not. When this line no longer exists, it makes room for lonely, socially disabled people to take advantage of the information that other people provide online.

In some cases, this can even lead to stalking which is exactly what happens for the main character in the short story “Lightbox” from 2015 by Emma Cleary, when he gets obsessed with Elsie who lives in an apartment opposite of him.

When the narrator is a first-person narrator it often means that the reader feels sympathy for him or her. However, in this short story, this is not the case. In this case, the author uses a first-person unreliable narrator, which means that the narrator cannot be trusted due to the fact that he has created his own reality, which is far away from the truth.

Therefore, he is unreliable and manipulative without even knowing it himself. The reason for this is that he is having an inner battle with himself where he tries to convince himself that they have a relationship and that he does not do anything wrong, which can be seen in the following: “you know?”(l.22) and “if you want the truth”(l.23-24).

Consequently, he believes so much in his own story, and as a consequence of this, he truly believes that he is in a relationship with Elsie. As a result of this unreliable narrator is that it creates suspense and it engages the reader in the sequence of events.

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