Uploaded by Morgan Elizabeth

Shelley Jackson Presentation


Grew up in Berkely California

55 years old

Shy child who hated talking - In an interview, she said she had this fantasy that she would have her tongue cut out and instead she could have a little white board or something hanging from her neck where she would write what she was thinking and feeling for people to see, because she thought it was so much easier to write her feelings than to speak them

Jackson’s focus often lay on “creatures” like bras, scars, dolls, and other coming-of-age domestic or feminine objects. This is done using the memoir genre, very popular in hypertext fiction, or using semi-autobiographical writing. These creatures become the ground with which larger theoretical issues can be explored and closely examined.

Teaches graduate writing at the new school in NYC

Patchwork Girl

First hypertext novel

Jackson's Patchwork Girl tells the story through illustrations of parts of a female body that are stitched together through text and image. The narrative of the story is divided into five segments, titled: "a Graveyard", "a Journal", "a Quilt", "a Story", and "& broken accents." The goal of the piece is to not only make the reader realize the structure of the Patchwork Girl as a whole but also realize all the pieces that must be "patched" together in order to create one unified structure. Each segment leads down a trail that takes the story in multiple directions through various linking words and images. Jackson uses recurring graveyard imagery in order to continually invite the reader to resurrect Mary Shelley's monster.

In Frankenstein, the creature asks Frankenstein to create a female companion for him, but

Frankenstein eventually abandons this project, as he believes it would be dangerous. In Shelley

Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl,” Mary Shelley completes the female companion.

*Themes of feminism and objectification of the woman

Patchwork Girl sold as a multimedia CD you can read it on via amazon


Other not shown:

● Brain - pictured as a labrynith, tried not to think

● Eyebrow - drew in eyebrows, hated makeup but was fascinated by it

● Nose - left nostril pierced, talks about all the things her nose can do and how she envied those who had nose bleeds, how she drew noses and hated having to draw them correctly because it limited her, friend shoving bean up nose

● Lips - how grandparents’ dog bit her lip, strawberry milkshake story

● Ears - friend Lisa tells her earwigs will crawl into her ears and lay eggs

● Neck - Drawings used to have no necks

● Skin - *Cursive S she cut out and stuck to her shoulder to place on her to tan...at end of summer, looked like ampersand

● Leg hair - grew it proudly

● Eyelids - used to twitch

● Migraines - “When I have my eyes back, I do not know them...reading becomes impossible”

● Teeth - “i like to floss or pick my teeth because I like the pain, and the more it hurts the more pleasure I get from it” *”Teeth made me wonder what realism really was...Realism lay slightly short of the exact copy. This surprised and unsettled me.”

● Tie-in products - selling small vials of pee and female ejaculation and spit, if anyone else has a body part they want to sponsor further study on, contact her

● Cabinet - sees her body as a “cabinet of curiosities”

● Skeleton - “they are whole unto themselves. My skeleton doesn’t need me, I think”

● Theories - fell out of tree when younger, realized she wasn’t special in the world “I might be discovering things the world didn’t know yet”

Arms: Shelley has muscular arms like that of a boy’s, and she says that people used to always ask her how her arms got like that, and women that worked out for competitions would ask for tips and all Shelley wanted to do was hide in a “third restroom, the one for monsters and hermaphrodites,” so that she didn’t have to answer if she was a girl or a boy

Tattoos: 28 tattoos, black ampersand on arm and black vortex inside of ankle...got tired of people asking about all tattoos, so had the other 26 tattooed in the same exact color of her skin, which she says is a mystery to everyone until she gets sunburnt

Breasts: Literally like Powell’s illustrations “It was the cartoon dames with the zeppelin breasts and outsized nipples” - obsessed with breasts. But when she got breasts of her own, they made her not her - couldn’t do everything without a shirt on. “Gravity had a grip on her”

Elbows: Not terrified of sagging and becoming old like her parents did

Internal organs: more poetic, sees it as a hollow space, praises more her external features than internal

Shoulders: big and muscular - “my parts didn’t match” (like Frankenstein monster)

Armpits: Her mother used to make her shave because of the stench and she hated it - saw a girl with armpit hair and found it to be sexy, so now she keeps her armpit hair

Hands: likes callouses, they make her feel tough. “they betray the grudging humanity of their owners.” - innocent. Loved to draw hands, wanted to memorize all of them but so many different personalities came with them

Fingernails: used to always chew nails, hates now having anything sticky. When she was younger, she cut through from fingernail to first knuckle with razor blade the babysitter left out. ‘“t is an arcane detail, a devil's mark, neither beautiful nor ugly, but it reminds me of myself”

Stomach: belly button ring - “When I am writing, I lock myself to my desk by a chain through my navel ring”


My hips are narrow and hard like a boy's.

Vagina: always wondered about having a penis It upset me that I'd never know what it felt like to have a penis . The division of the sexes seemed like a grotesque blunder, as all-around unfair as if some people were born without eyes and others born without ears. We couldn't even compare notes. Started shoving pages of books up - devouring literature. “With a razor, I carve a labyrinth into my pubic hair, and require my lovers to find their way through it. This is not whimsy, it is practical. By the time they have traced their way through it to the end, the most backwards suitor will find me ready for them.”

Butt: At one time or another, learning to draw, I have been obsessed with every part of the human body. The butt is no exception. “Drawing is almost sex”


Flesh was thought, corrupt thought corrupted flesh, but will could strain and clarify both thought and flesh.

Knees - reminisces how many times she scraped her knees as a child and now there are scars

Shins - nothing really

Feet - I am reconciled only to my own feet; everyone else's are ugly and strange. - “toe clevage” where womens toes are pinched together in open-toed pumps - evoked passion in her

Toes - tried to dance ballet, instead - was really good at piano but her parents couldn’t afford to do anything about it

Skin project -