For Discussion and Writing

1. The three main figures in this text are the Prince, the Princess, and the Witch/Fairy. As you read each lexia (A lexia is a unit of verbal text.), consider whose voice or voices you are hearing, whose point of view you are getting.

2. You will also encounter what we might call "levels of reality--or unreality." That is, the text may seem to tell us what is going on with the prince or princess at any given moment, but it may also recount things dreamed or imagined by them, or stories that have been told to them. The levels may shift in the middle of a lexia. Coover expects an alert reader. You should be ready to discuss these matters with respect to any lexia.

3. The images set between the written lexias were not chosen by the "author" but by the compiler of the hypertext. Thus, they constitute a level of interpretation, sometimes simple and straightforward, illustrating an event just narrated, but sometimes oblique. Be ready to discuss the appropriateness (or inappropriateness) of any given image to the text it follows--and especially to the final sentences of that text. Some of the images are accompanied by music (if you have problems with this, see our technical pages). Think about the appropriateness of the music, too.

4. Coover's text is a "metafiction." It tells a story but it is also a commentary on story-telling. It is an interpretation of other versions of the same story, some of which are in the printed version of Text Book 3, but it is also about the nature of fairy tales the reasons why they continue to interest us, and the way they help to construct us as inhabitants of a particular culture. As you read, consider what the author seems to be saying about story-telling, folk tales, myth, or other topics that you discover. For example, what does it mean to be living "in a story" as opposed to "living happily-ever-after"?

5. Rose complains that some of the Fairy's stories aren't "real stories"? What does she mean by this? What does Coover mean by having her make this complaint?

6. A hypertext invites various levels of participation. You can, for example, if you have the technical ability, copy some of these lexias and, collecting appropriate supplementary material, make your own alternative hypertext based on the story of Briar Rose or Sleeping Beauty.

7. You can also write new lexias for this story--number 19.5 or number 43, for example.

8. Another possibility is to take a different fairy tale and start from scratch, making your own lexias in the manner of Coover, and then turning the result into a hypertext--or a fragment of a hypertext. This will go best if you really understand what Coover is up to in Briar Rose.