Individual Work
The Cape

Using DHTML, JavaScript, Homesite 4.0, and Dreamweaver, J.R. Carpenter created and published The Cape in 2005. On the surface, it is a fictional documentation of a young lady’s visit to her grandmother’s house in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The story centers on her desire to learn how to whistle, and the challenges she faces to accomplish this goal. Does she succeed in the end? Was it worth the effort?

The narrative is divided into nine sections that can be viewed in a linear or non-linear order via links located at the bottom of the webpage.

Carpenter’s piece could be considered a narrative poem, as the writing is broken up into short stanzas of one or two sentences. They are accompanied by photographs of people standing on the Cape Cod beach, or walking ahead of a huge boulder within the forests, as well as maps of the Cape Cod’s mineral deposits, locations, and wind currents. Some images move in a direction that further compliments the text. For example, in the section entitled “If I had a photograph I would insert it here,” the reader is presented with a photo-diagram of Cape Cod, from which a photograph of a family car transitions from the middle of the photo, to the top of the webpage, giving the impression that the trip has ended, and the main character and her family is driving away.

One section of the poem is accompanied by an audio recording taken from a CBC Radio segment starring Bob McDonald in which an expert discusses the physiological properties of whistling. This audio recording serves to enhance the challenge the main character faces as she tries to accomplish a goal that seems relatively simple. It amplifies the main character’s frustration throughout the work and personifies the relationship between the main character and her uncle, her teacher throughout the story, who despite being lousy in talking to kids makes an effort to teach his niece what she so much desires, and builds a relationship with her.

The Cape does present an underlying message to readers: appreciate life’s big and small moments, despite challenges and what we do not understand. This is supported throughout the story maps of Cape Cod that symbolize the complexity of a world that the main character does not know. Throughout the story, she also wishes for what she should have done throughout the story despite her efforts to complete her current goal. At one point in the story she states, “I don't have a photograph of my grandmother Carpenter. If I did, I would insert it here.” Because the narrative focuses on the main character’s first and last visit to her grandmother’s house, this statement further reveals her lack of appreciation of and attention to other important things (as opposed to more important things).

The narrative's characterisitics are similar to that of memoirs, a diary, or a scrapbook, and it is easy to immerse yourself in the story, as it contains black and white photographs, accurate maps, references to real radio broadcasting company and DJ. Because the the author uses her name throughout the story the reader may believe that the narrative is non-fiction. However, it is important to note that the story is fiction; the author, J.R. Carpenter states, “Cape Cod is a real place, but the events and characters…are fictional. The photographs have been retouched. The diagrams are not to scale.”

Author statement: 
Why do we trust our memories but doubt our doubts? The Cape conflates fact and fiction. Cape Cod is a real place, but the events and characters of The Cape are mostly made up. The diagrams are not to scale. The maps are accurate, but out of date. I didn't take any of the photographs and anyway, they have all been retouched. The Cape was written, designed, built, and copyrighted by me, J. R. Carpenter, in 2005. Many DHTML and javascripts were injured during the making of this web site. I used HomeSite 4.0 for everything except the timelines, which I plotted in Dreamweaver. All other credits remain intact inside the source code. To navigate The Cape, click on the images at the bottom of the screen. I generally read from left to right, but you can read in any order you like. There are no special instructions or requirements for viewing this piece, except for possibly: Don't believe everything you read.