“The New Heroism” in Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box”

  • Mairi Power University of Glasgow


This article analyses the concept of “the new heroism” in Jennifer Egan’s 2012 Twitter fiction “Black Box.” The article compares the Twitter fiction reader to the video game player and applies some notions from video games in navigating the digital environment of Twitter. Moving on to the fictional description of heroism within the text, the article considers the process of digitisation described as it affects the human body and individual identity, creating “digital heroes.” Ideas of gender and sexual trauma transform the female body into a political weapon through digitisation. Final comments connect the text’s depiction of death and the afterlife to the preliminary discussion of video games, enabling the protagonist to exist forever as a digital file—or “saved game.” Conclusions draw out connections between the digital collective of the heroism in Egan’s text and the collaborative nature of electronic literature.

January 12, 2022