October 26, 2012

Different Interpretations

Daniel’s hypertext essay on the unseen side of the corporate prison system offers a new perspective on what women go through when in these correctional facilities. She criticizes the double standard there is for men, the variations in sentences for men and women who committed the same crimes, and the lack of compassion there is for women who are trapped in negative situations. There are certain themes that happen within the system, or as Miller would say, there are “recurrent situations,” that develop a cycle of unfairness to women in the prison system. The interpretability of the critique varies. She uses a lot of personal interviews that shed light on specific situations that could be seen as a onetime occurrence, and not a representation of the prison system as a whole. This opens up the critique to be more opinionated. It could also be seen as having the specific goal of making the system look poorly. There are no examples or interviews that do allow for the other side of the coin to be seen.

Daniel also uses the construction of the piece itself to reflect her views. There are different portal the reader can take to get deeper and deeper into the information, just like the inmates seem to get deeper and deeper into trouble in the prison system. This can be interpreted in various ways. Heteroglossia is present throughout the text, different voices and points of view, and styles of saying things. This allows the reader to see the scattered and jumbled feeling that many of the women inmates feel.

6 comments:

Rdexheimer said...

I had similar views on this piece, though I don't necessarily feel that Daniels had any particular obligation to demonstrate the "other side of the story" as it were because the audience (us) live in a world where we receive that message regularly. State institutions already play a major role in propagating a particular (pro) view of the prison system. On the other hand, the women actually incarcerated within the system are essentially silenced by the mechanisms of control that characterize the prison system. I'm not trying to insist that there isn't a place for the employees of the prison to give their side of the story, but it probably shouldn't be in this piece, as doing so would draw attention away from the speakers that need it the most. I think trying to include both perspectives would detract from the very clear intention this piece has as a work of social activism. It would be like having a documentary about misogyny within society and then trying to include one or two negative stereotypes about men within the work. Doing so seems to undermine both the intention and the sense that the issue being addressed is one of actual moral weight and not simply a miniscule difference of perspective or belief.

Joel Bergholtz said...

I agree with your notion that there is another side to this coin, and perhaps Daniel isn't wanting to expose it. One of the inmates who I found particularly interesting I researched and found out that they pretty much killed their husband in cold blood. There was blood all over the house and several witnesses, and she was convicted with ease by the judge, who said the case was stacked with overwhelming amounts of evidence. Now, if the essay was solely about women being treated unfairly in the prisons, then the fact that this woman is a murderer isn't as crucial to her testimonies. But a lot of what this inmate had to say was critiquing arrests and sentences and being wrongfully accused. Daniel never tells us this, and in fact doesn't give any information on the inmates convictions.
We can see here how heteroglosia reflects the authors intentions. While it may appear she is simply holding a microphone to all of these women's tragic and often unfair stories, she is choosing what is displayed for the reader and not giving us the whole story. Although it appears several voices are simply being heard, it is the authors sharp use of heteroglosia that makes this case work so well, and persuades the reader with apparent ease.

MeganW said...

I agree with the second comment that was made here on the idea that while this project is all about heteroglossia it is a fixed one. Daniels creates this story and feeling of compassion throughout the website but the story and information given is completely one sided. I think maybe this is why she did not wish to display more graphics or pictures through out the website so that we would only see the one side of the prion critique because if we really knew what these people looked like or what they did we would no longer have compassion for what these women are telling us happened to them.

Catalina said...

The shaping of the testimonies is so apparent! When listening to the interviews, they would often cut off right when the woman was in mid-idea. Is the blatant reshaping of their ideas ethical? And the blurbs Daniel chose to represent each interviewee were often not the main point of the interview, but merely a highly politicized or shocking quote when taken out of context. They didn't act as abstracts -- they were merely for shock value to try and persuade you to continue along the essay. While this was rhetorically effective, I'm not sure it was completely ethical.

michelle reyes said...

I agree with you that the several voices gives the reader evidence of heteroglossia. I think without all those individual stories being told I am not sure if the term heteroglossia would have really been in use, at least if we were eliminating Daniel's point of view. What I really liked most about your piece is the part where you discussed Miller and the recurrent situations. What I was a little confused on was if you were saying the obstacles or environment contained recurrent situations for the inmates, because shortly after you explain how each women had their own voice stating something that was more of personal experience rather than what was taking place in the prison as a whole.

Josh Johnson said...

After reading your blog i like the insight that i have gained from it. It helped me realize some things that i didn't interpret from the project that daniel has. When people makes such projects like this i never think about how "one way" it really is. I never think about how it most cases it just tells the story in this case of the women but not the workers of the correctional system. I personally feel like the interviews that she did take on from the women that were incarcerated did reflect the institute. If not then a series of events which happened one time or often but still a series of events that happen either way will make a system look poorly.

The structure of the project or theme gave me an isolated feeling though. The black and white, the voices were very boring and blah.I didn't get a feel of a jail or prison from first viewing the project. I do however agree with you with the the different portals. How you related going deeper into the portal with the since of inmates getting in trouble and going deeper into the prison systems.

This project is definitely full of heteroglossia from the visual to to the audio, text and interviews. I personally wished she would have had more pictures of inmates or maybe information so it could be more relatable and hit our pathos more. The voices made it relatable and gave us that isolation feel but i feel like she could have made layers in this project. First started off with interviews of people who are not in the "deeper" levels of the prison and maybe show faces. The further she gets back into the portals the more isolated she should have been. Then is where she should just make uses of the interview with just the audio.

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