Delillo: Videotape

“Videotape” by Delillo is a short story about a girl who accidentally films a homicide. The entire story takes place over a relatively short period of time, but the author focuses on every minute detail, building suspense and emphasizing motifs that would otherwise go unnoticed by the reader. Among these themes, the author references the innocence of the girl filming, the suddenness of the incident, as well as the idea that this incident provokes a similar response in all people.

One aspect of this story that really intrigued me was its length. the actual story could be described in perhaps a single paragraph, but the author stretches it out immensely, focusing on the most insignificant of details and expanding them to reveal a hidden message. For example,  the camera shakes a bit when the man in focus is shot. While this might seem like a minor detail, the author discusses the fact that, although obviously shaken up, the girl keeps filming, and ties this idea into the fact that people sometimes cannot resist seeing violence. The story can easily be portrayed as a common tragedy, but the author chooses to investigate and analyze it so deeply that the reader gets an entirely new impression of humanity.


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