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Let's Go to the Videotape

This study guide will help you analyse the short story “Let’s Go to the Videotape” by Fiona Maazel. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Let’s Go to the Videotape” (2016)
Author: Fiona Maazel
Genre: Short story

Fiona Maazel is a contemporary American author. Her short story, “Let’s Go to the Videotape”, was first published in 2016 in Harper’s Magazine and was later included in the anthology Best American Short Stories 2017.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Rhetorical questions

The text features several rhetorical questions, or questions for which the narrator does not expect an answer: “Who doesn’t film his kid experiencing a threshold moment?”.

The purpose of these rhetorical questions is to underline an idea. They are mainly employed as a narrative technique to present Nick’s stream of consciousness: “But who could he tell besides his wife? Who would care beyond his friends, whose care was dutiful at best?”. These questions reflect thoughts that pass through Nick’s mind or questions he asks himself.

Sometimes, however, the rhetorical questions also function as a sort of defence. Nick is constantly afraid of not being a good father, and his insecurity makes him ask these questions as if to defend himself against anyone who might criticise him.

Message

As with most modern short stories, the message of the text is not explicit, and readers must interpret the story and draw their own conclusions.

The story presents the guilt that people who survive an accident often have to deal with. Gus blames himself for his mother’s death. However, his feelings are ignored by his father, who feels unable to openly discuss the tragic incident with his son and thereby remove his son’s feelings of guilt. Gus is five and needs acceptance from his father for being honest and brave in making the video at all, but the only thing he gets is exposure on Nick's Facebook wall.

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Let's Go to the Videotape

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