"One Set of Lines to See, Another Set of Lines to Be": Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck as a Case Study on Author & Audience Authority in Participatory Hypertext
McCluskey, Colleen Elizabeth
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Homestuck, a multimodal webcomic created by author and artist Andrew Hussie has been long cited as an excellent example of modern hypertextual, participatory literature. Despite its ostensible audience participation and its potential to function as an activist space by uplifting marginalized voices, the work takes a significantly more conservative approach to the coauthoring between writer and readership. By performing a detailed analysis of Homestuck through the lenses of Reader Response Theory and Post-Structuralism—specifically the lenses of Critical Race Theory, paired with Gender Studies and Queer Theory—we can gain insight into the mechanics of power structures and their influence on the clash of authority between the author, audience, and the social norms that shape their perspectives through their consumption and interpretation of literary texts. The Interpretive Communities that shape the worldviews of both readers and writers are ultimately the key force in determining the meaning of a text. Neither the author nor their audience is a single authority, and by remembering this fact, we may become more cognizant of what it means to engage with literature in a meaningful and socially conscious way.
Critical race theory
Gender studies in webcomics