Shapes of Stories;

After hearing Vonnegut’s talk on the “shape of stories,” I immediately thought of Wreck it Ralph by Disney (one of my all-time favorites).

The story starts with Ralph, a video game character in the arcade “classic,” Fix It Felix Jr. In this game, Ralph destroys the front of an apartment building. Felix, Ralph’s counterpart, bounces around a building full of tenants needing help and “fixes” damage Ralph has done. The movie starts out with Ralph explaining his circumstances (i.e., he hates his job as a bad guy).  Seeking something better and wanting to be the hero, Ralph leaves his game and goes on a quest. He goes through a first-person shooter game called Hero’s Duty and tries to claim the Hero’s Medal. He ends up in another game called Sugar Rush; a racing game with a candy theme. He looses the medal to a young racer named Vanelope Von Schweetz, who is thought to be a game glitch. While Ralph attempts to recover the lost medal, Felix leaves the game in search of his counterpart. He find a character from Hero’s Duty, Sergeant Calhoun, and promptly falls for her. When Ralph left Hero’s Duty, he brought with him a Cy-Bug. Felix and Sergeant Calhoun soon discover this cy-bug has multiplied in Sugar Rush and is threatening to shut down the entire arcade.  Ralph discovers that being the bad guy may not be so bad. He saves Sugar Rush, the entire arcade, and discovers that it is in fact Vanelope who is queen of Sugar Rush (not the previously-thought-king, King Candy, who turned out to be a rouge character named Turbo). Ralph returns to Fix It Felix and, happily, returns to his job. (Felix marries Sergeant Calhoun, in case you were wondering).

This story arc most follows the first shape Vonnegut discussed. Ralph probably started more below the “good” line than above in the example, but he find something (the medal) looses it, and ends up the hero in the end.

If you’ve never seen it, you definitely should watch Wreck it Ralph. It has a music video from Owl City in it as well, which increases the “cool factor” ten fold. (I may have watched the video a few times just to make sure it’s still amazing. I can confirm that it is in fact still the best.)


The second part to this assignment was to find something I have seen online that could be a digital story. A post by Adam Young came to my mind. “Owl City” is his project name and many people, such as myself, have asked “why Owl City?” Adam writes (beautifully, I might add) his thoughts and feelings about how he came to name Owl City in this post on his blog. He not only describes the reason, but also embeds a clip from a movie that had an extreme effect on him. It is Adam’s own story and it uses multiple platforms.

3 thoughts on “Shapes of Stories;

  1. I really enjoyed your choice of Wreck-It-Ralph to discuss the story arc laid out by Vonnegut! I like that you picked a character who didn’t necessarily start out well above the happy line. Vonnegut did mention in his video that not all characters need to start out at the highest level of happiness; in fact it’s much better if they start at a realistic level, and given Ralph’s circumstances, it makes sense that he started off where he did. I also really liked that you chose a music video to to visually represent the arc of the movie. I had never even thought of looking for something like that when doing my own post, so I think that’s really creative!

  2. I liked your connection to Wreck-It-Ralph to Vonnegut’s discussion. I have only seen parts of the movie, but your summary helped clarify! Ralph started off wishing he had a better job, and as Vonnegut says, he climbs to success. The video by Owl City is really cool, and portrays the movie well. I liked your post and your connections to Ralph’s journey. #talkingPolack106

  3. Wreck-It-Ralph is a wonderful example of Vonnegut’s diagram, as are the majority of Disney movies. I think it would’ve been interesting to see a visual representation of the model for Wreck-It-Ralph. Like you mentioned, I can see it starting under the good line and it keeps falling until he gets the medal where it begins to rise until he loses it. That makes wonder which Disney film would have a model with the fewest ups and downs. The story of how Owl City came up with the name is a good example of a digital story. It also helps you realize how dificult storytelling can be at times. #talkingpolack106

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