It's been a while, but I finished the comprehensive analysis. It was hard to separate out MC and IC from OS because its structure was melodramatic. (Archetypal hero and villain in the same story)
Dramatica Storyform analysis of "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow
Main Character Resolve of Steadfast:
Marcus still wants to revenge against DHS for his friend even after all the hardship. He keeps his non-conforming fortitude throughout the story even when offered easy way out.
MARCUS: "I had the chance to run. Last week. Someone offered to take me away, get me out of town, help me build a new identity. Instead I stole her phone, escaped from our truck, and ran away. I turned over her phone — which had evidence about my friend, Darryl Glover, on it — to a journalist and hid out here, in town. […] I decided that I couldn't run.”
Main Character Growth of Start:
Marcus is holding for other Americans like his father, Charles, Andersen to realize that DHS is violating their liberty.
Main Character Approach of Do-er:
Marcus takes action first and suffers consequence later. Marcus hacks school security measures because he doesn't like it. He skips school to play a game with his friends. He establishes xnet to undermine government surveillance because he feels vengeful. When spies within his network become a problem, he establishes the web of trust right away. He steals his Masha's phone to corroborate his story. Marcus finds it very uncomfortable to adjust his behavior which is why he hates surveillance in the first place. When Masha gives Marcus choice of “being a fighter than a martyr”, he almost goes crazy because he is not used to making internal deliberation.
MARCUS: “When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”
Main Character Mental Sex of Male:
When Marcus thinks something is problematic, he works it out without considering relational dynamics. After determining DHS to be his enemy, he gets his hacking community attacking DHS although attacking DHS makes the hacker group look suspicious, especially right after terrorism attack. He cannot understand how joining a protest movement can possibly resolve his personal issues because he thinks that DHS is the cause of his problem. Marcus has tendency to determine a problem first and make into procedural steps especially when it comes to hacking.
Story Driver of Action:
Action forces the decision from the characters. Bombing of Bay Bridge. Darryl getting Stabbed. Passage of Patriot ACT II. Zeb running into Marcus. Presence of spies within xnet. Web of Trust breached by Masha, Him getting Caught by DHS and being rescued by the state troop.
Story Limit of Optionlock:
When Marcus gets caught by DHS for the second time, story reaches climax. Marcus proclaims his victory on his second detainment while being waterboarded because he had done everything he could to fight against DHS.
MARCUS (as a narrator): I had won. And if I hadn't won, I had done everything I could have done. More than I ever thought I could do.
Story Outcome of Success:
Marcus is successful in preventing paranoia from spreading by exposing DHS.
BARBARA: "The point is, it's over. The Governor has thrown the DHS out of the State, dismantled every checkpoint. The Attorney General has issued warrants for any law-enforcement officers involved in 'stress interrogations' and secret imprisonments."
Story Judgement of Bad:
Marcus is still tormented because the “military tribunal [has] cleared [Johnstone] of any wrongdoing” along with other DHS officers.
Overall Story Throughline: Terrorist Paranoia
Domain of Psychology:
Terrorists bombs the Bay Bridge to cause terror. DHS (Department of Homeland Security) manipulates and deceives people through media, interrogation and surveillance. Mass paranoia sweeps across the nation as Patriot ACT II is decreed. Activism like Xbox Network (Xnet), youth riot breaks out to in effort to incite emotions and sway public opinions. News media portrays sensational information which invoke fear.
MARCUS: Homeland Security had my city and my country caught in a massive, irrational shrieking freak-out where anything could be done in the name of stopping terrorism.
Concern of Conceiving:
Benson tries to come up with any reason why school needs surveillance system. DHS devises to make people conceive that “there are threats everywhere.” DHS and saboteurs come up with novel ideas to infiltrate each other. Andersen and Charles tries to convince Marcus that in times of danger and insurgence, individual liberty must be yielded. Marcus as a protagonist wants the public to conceive that DHS is violating their liberty. Marcus as a main character wants readers to conceive that mass surveillance is not an answer to terrorism.
Issue of Permission:
Overall story's thematic point explores excessive governmental permission. Authorities wouldn't allow large gathering whether it's an illegal rock concert or group role playing. People find that security measures like RFID tracking analysis, security camera surveillance techniques are violating their liberty. DHS has to get approved by the congress to increase budget for mass surveillance. Groups of parents sues school board over the surveillance cameras. Passwords and cryptographies are mentioned as a way to limit access to information. Xnetters, a hacker group rebels against DHS because they believe that they have rights to do so. Civil rights movements are discussed in social studies class, which actually get the teacher in charge suspended.
MARCUS (citing the Declaration of Independence): 'Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.'
Counterpoint of Deficiency:
Deficiencies of privacy, liberty and happiness is brought as an argument against government's surveillance. Many people including Marcus feels that their liberty are taken away.
MARCUS (as a narrator): It's not about doing something shameful. It's about doing something private. It's about your life belonging to you. They were taking that from me, piece by piece.
Permission vs Deficiency:
Should the government be allowed to suspend individual rights at all? Does the government have permission to take away people's liberty in the name of its protecting its citizen?
As the story progress, it becomes clear that as granting government permission to withhold individual rights is problematic as DHS fails to apprehend any terrorists, abuse its power and limit freedom of speech.
ANDERSEN: “The role of government is to secure for citizens the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In that order. It's like a filter. If the government wants to do something that makes us a little unhappy, or takes away some of our liberty, it's OK.”
Problem of Potentiality:
When characters determine or fathom uncertainty, problems of overall stories deepen. People are always considering the chances of terror, security breach and surveillance.
Vanessa finds Marcus's activism problematic due to its potential that he would get himself and others into trouble.
Marcus considers potential that he and Ange would break up and betray each other.
People see that there are always chance that newly invented security measures will be breached.
“Millions of have-you-seen sites [has] popped up on the net” out of chance that they might return.
Benson determines Marcus as the hacker that stole the last year's standardized tests without any evidence.
DHS detains the innocents out of the chance that some might be terrorists.
DHS and police treat all their citizens as potential terrorists by data-mining.
Saboteurs determine that the terrorist tests can be potentially abused.
General Sutherland is concerned that the impressionable young people might be recruited to “fight the war on the home front” for terrorists
The government is alarmed that high number of “false alarms are potentially 'radar chaff' intended to disguise real attacks.”
Marcus's father is convinced that methodology of DHS has potential to arrest terrorists although it has proven otherwise.
Jolu mentions that police and DHS determine that brown people have more potential to be criminals, thus giving them harsher punishments.
MARCUS (as a narrator): What if I got hit by lightning while walking with an umbrella? Ban umbrellas! Fight the menace of lightning!
Solution of Certainty:
The problems of overall stories are resolved as characters embrace the certainty.
Marcus establishes web of trust to know for certain that his ring of communication cannot be breached.
Marcus knows for certain that Darryl is in DHS’s custody.
When Marcus finds out for certain there has been spy within the ring of trust, it provides him new opportunities.
Masha’s photo and camera footage turns out to be hard evidence that indicts DHS for certain.
Marcus is rejoiced that he proved DHS as “chumps and despots.”
Ange “solemnly promise[s] that there is nothing [Marcus] could ever do to [her] that would cause [her] to betray [his] secret.
Marcus tries to convince himself that DHS couldn't kill him while being waterboarded
Father finds out exactly who to blame (himself and DHS) after Marcus tells him what really happened after bombing.
Marcus finds it for certain that he can trust Vanessa to the point of confiding her with his password, which he “never” does.
MARCUS: "Now, though, I have evidence. This stuff -- it could change the world. This is my last hope. The only hope for getting Darryl out, for getting a life that I don't spend underground, hiding from the cops."
Focus of Acceptance:
Objective characters focus their attention on the presence or lack of acceptance.
Johnstone says to Marcus that he “can cooperate, or [he] can be very, very sorry.”
Dad claims that DHS increasing budgets and surveilling more people will solve the problem
Governor pleads that no price is too high for security urging people to accept the security measures
MARCUS(as the narrator): The law said they couldn't force us to go to school with cameras all over the place, but it didn't say anything about us volunteering to give up our Constitutional rights
Direction of Nonacceptance:
In order to remedy to seeming problems, characters are driven not to compromise.
Characters who find surveillance unacceptable actively jams and thwarts the security measures
Xnet community stands up to surveillance
Illegal concert is held in protest for DHS
Marcus is inspired by civil rights movements and yippie’s activism.
ANONYMOUS XNET USER: “Let them hire a billion pigs and put a checkpoint on every corner. We'll jam them all! […] We're jamming up the system because we hate the Homeland Security, and because we love our city.”
Catalyst of Need:
When characters appeal to need for security to justify DHS's enforcement and police interrogation, conflict accelerates. Congress approves DHS's budget requisition, justifying that "no price is too high for security."
MARCUS: “Have you noticed that they haven't caught any terrorists? Dad's all like, 'We need to be safe,' but he needs to know that most of us don't feel safe. We feel endangered all the time."
Inhibitor of investigation:
Investigation is what causes the xnet community to dissolve. There seem to be investigation that disguised itself in forms of livejournal questionnaire spreading throughout the xnett community. When several Xnetters gets arrested, Marcus pleads others to stop jamming.
MARCUS (as the narrator): “It's stupid to get arrested. It's only jamming if you get away with it.”
Benchmark of Being:
Characters judge the progress of the story by seeing how much people act like compliant citizens.
FATHER: "This isn't the time to be playing lawyer about the Bill of Rights. This is the time to make some sacrifices to keep our city safe."
Conceptualizing: After the terrorist attack characters try to re-imagine what has happened by mourning. Plans for maximizing securities are implemented. DHS's detainees tries to imagine what has just happened.
MOTHER: “Marcus, we thought you were dead. Do you understand that? We were mourning you for days. We were imagining you blown to bits, at the bottom of the ocean.”
Conceptualizing to Being: Passage of Patriot ACT II gives DHS permission to conduct mass surveillance.
THE TURK: The government. They monitor it all now, it was in the papers. PATRIOT Act II, the Congress passed it yesterday. Now they can monitor every time you use your card. I say no. I say my shop will not help them spy on my customers.
Being: People have trouble adjusting to new lifestyle of being surveilled. People's private lives are invaded.
MARCUS (as the narrator): The Xnet was full of these stories, and so were the newspapers and the TV news. Husbands were caught cheating on their wives; wives were caught cheating on their husbands, kids were caught sneaking out with illicit girlfriends and boyfriends. A kid who hadn't told his parents he had AIDS got caught going to the clinic for his drugs.
Being to Becoming: Police strikes down the illegal concert.
Becoming: Xnetters get a bad reputation after news media’s disinformation. Xnetters try to form an identity to their movement. Public opinions start to split as people determine each other's identity.
CHARLES: It's easy to tell who's us and who's them: if you support America, you're us. If you support the people who are shooting at Americans, you're them.
Becoming to Conceiving: Marcus's story is covered on the press.
Conceiving: Public is finally convinced of DHS's wrongdoing and incriminates DHS and the government.
Main Character Throughline: Marcus Yallow
Domain of Universe:
Marcus as a “marked man” finds that world is his extension of his prison. He takes DHS's surveillance very personally as they has had abused him and his friends.
MARCUS: “I decided that I couldn't run. That I had to face justice - that my freedom wasn't worth anything if I was a wanted man, or if the city was still under the DHS. If my friends were still locked up. That freedom for me wasn't as important as a free country.”
Concern of Present:
Marcus is concerned throughout the story about Darryl's current status. Marcus initially thinks that DHS has had let his friend die, but he is informed that Darryl is still detained by DHS and still finds it problematic. Additionally, Marcus finds himself at odd with his present situation from being detained by DHS. Being M1k3y. Being a fugitive to finally being detained again to being on a trial.
Issue of Attraction:
Marcus puts himself into trouble by pursuing what he finds attractive since his close friendship with Darryl makes him want to avenge against DHS in the first place. ex.) He skips school to school to play Harajuku Fun Madness, which get his group detained by DHS. Marcus attends illegal concert which almost gets him and Ange arrested. Marcus is rewarded with sex with Ange after telling the press his story. Marcus finds learning and dissecting technologies highly attractive to the point that he finds smart hacking “practically perverted.”
MARCUS (as a narrator): “If you've never programmed a computer, you should. There's nothing like it in the whole world. (…) It's awesome in the truest sense: it can fill you with awe.”
Counterpoint of Repulsion:
Marcus is scared of being cooped in the security shelter. He finds that his favorite pizza is repulsive because he was fed the same pizza in the detainment. Marcus's favorite laptop which he named Salmagundi, is repulsive after government has wiretapped it. Marcus is made to pee and puke over himself while on his detainment. DHS's torture and interrogation technique demoralizes Marcus. Marcus doesn't understand why Ange uses painfully hot pepper spray to on her food to taste. Police uses pepper gas to ward off the protesters.
MARCUS (as a narrator): My heart thudded and my blood sang in a cruel parody of the way I'd felt when we got home. This wasn't sexual excitement, it was raw terror.
Attraction vs Repulsion:
For Marcus personally, how much is Marcus willing to pursue carrot even when he is met with stick? How does his environment and institution shape his sense of pleasure and pain?
In his both literal and figurative prison, Marcus cannot help but notice the dichotomy of pain and pleasure everywhere from chairs in the interrogation room to slices of pizza. However, as story progresses, he finds that the fine line of pleasure and pain is blurred. Being a fugitive, Marcus finds "Domino's -the worst pizza in town-" to be delicious. When DHS abducts him for the second time, he looks forward to heading to the prison in hopes of seeing Ange and Darryl. While in physical restraints, he even manages to find comfort covered in vomit and urine.
Unique ability of Attraction:
His magnetic presence online and offline make Marcus uniquely suited to handle the story goal. Moreover, he frequently uses attraction like party, game and role playing to his advantage.
He distributes ParanoidXbox which has “been sneakernetted and copied all the way to Oakland in the space of two weeks.”
His online presence attracts people like Dr. Eeevil and Masha to assist in his effort.
Nate and Liam harbor Marcus on the run to let him get access to xnet because they admire Marcus.
Marcus's attraction wins over Vanessa to hand the crucial information to the press.
Zeb knowingly risks imprisonment in order to provide shelter just for Marcus.
ANGE: “Who wouldn't listen to M1k3y?”
Critical Flaw of Prerequisite:
Marcus finds that he has to proceed without Darryl who would usually handle prerequisites.
JOLU: “Darryl was... He was your second-in-command, the guy who had it all organized, who watched the details.”
Benchmark of The Progress: Marcus constantly assesses how much control he has over his environment. He tweaks his gadgets, builds a private community and engages in activism to be control of his life. Marcus loses his temper when he fears his secret identity is leaked. During his second detainment by DHS, Marcus find himself to be in comfort.
MARCUS(as the narrator): "The sensation of giving orders, of controlling my destiny, was the most amazing thing I'd ever felt."
Problem of Reaction:
Marcus’s reactions against DHS is the root of Marcus’s problem as Vanessa points out.
When he gets confined in DHS’s van he thinks that he “didn't like these people. [He] decide[s] right then that they would pay a price for all this.”
During initial detainment, Marcus couldn't stop himself from “mouthing off” to Johnstone, so he gets retaliated.
Marcus vows vengeance against DHS after he finds out Darryl has disappeared.
When Marcus rashes out to Andersen when she argues that constitution should be suspended in times of crisis, he gets suspended from the school
When Marcus as a fugitive encounters Vanessa, he realizes that his source of problem was his reaction, acknowledging her that she was “right, at least partly” but he still decides to stick to his old way.
Solution of Proaction:
Vanessa pleads Marcus to “do something positive” like joining protest movement to prevent future abuse.
Marcus is tempted to give up activism before DHS closes in on him and almost loses sight of Darryl.
MARCUS (as a narrator): Zeb had showed me a secret, something I hadn't anticipated: there was a whole hidden world out there, a way of getting by without participating in the system.
Focus of Acceptance: Marcus find it that problematic his friends like Van and Jolu and tolerating DHS's abuse.
MARCUS: Jesus Jolu, thanks so very much for abandoning me! Do you forget what it was like when they took us away?
Direction of Nonacceptance: Marcus plead others that what DHS has done to Darryl and themselves is unacceptable.
MARCUS: "I'm doing this because the alternative is to let them get away with it all."
Past: When Marcus is detained, he reminisces about his previous ordinary life as he wishes it back.
MARCUS (as a narrator): I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to go home and have my friends and my school and my parents and my life back. I wanted to be able to go where I wanted to go, not be stuck pacing and pacing and pacing.
Past to Progress: Marcus is released
Progress: Marcus doesn't like how surveillance system is being implemented and tries to gain control over his life by tweaking gadgets, hacking, building anonymous community and so on.
Progress to Present: Marcus gets a note from Zeb saying that Darryl is still being detained
Present: Marcus decides to blow whistle on DHS by telling DHS's illegal detainment. Masha comes to aid Marcus's escape.
Present to Future: Marcus discovers that Masha holds the picture of Darryl that was taken right before imprisonment.
Future: Marcus releases the evidence to the public in hopes of toppling DHS's reign. Marcus lives a life a homeless fugitive without any future. His freedom will be taken away forever if he gets caught again.
Impact Character Throughline: DHS (collective influence characters)
Domain of Mind:
Through impact characters and their mouthpieces like Andersen, Marcus is confronted to face his fixed attitude regarding the constitutional rights. Additionally, high ranking DHS officials believes that San Francisco is “Sodom and Gomorrah of fags and atheists who deserve to rot in hell” and that“the only reason the country cares what they think in San Francisco is that they had the good fortune to have been blown to hell by some Islamic terrorists.”
MARCUS: "Constitutional rights are absolute."
ANDERSEN: "That's not a very sophisticated view."
Concern of Conscious:
Impact characters points to Marcus that he is failing to consider that the recent terrorist attack justifies DHS's abuse.
Andersen: Marcus, you seem to think that nothing has changed in this country. You need to understand that the bombing of the Bay Bridge changed everything.
Issue of Appraisal:
Through DHS, pitfalls of appraisal are explored. It is seen repeatedly on how first impression can cloud judgment. DHS detains innocent bystanders near the terror sight just because of its initial suspicion. DHS's surveillance system presumes all innocents to be potential criminals, which causes public inconveniences and false alarm.
JOHNSTONE: “Even once you tell us what we want to know, even if that convinces us that you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're a marked man now. We'll be watching you everywhere you go and everything you do. You've acted like you've got something to hide, and we don't like that.”
DHS's supporters like Masha and Marcus's father reappraise their initial understanding in light of new evidence. Public reappraises DHS after Marcus blows whistle through news media. DHS is also forced to reappraise itself.
MARCUS(as the narrator): "The DHS would hold a closed, military tribunal to investigate 'possible errors in judgment' committed after the attack on the Bay Bridge. The tribunal would use every tool at its disposal to ensure that criminal acts were properly punished.
Appraisal vs Reappraisal:
Guilty until proven innocent or Innocent until proven guilty? Which of the evaluations does DHS prefer? What are possible merits and pitfalls of both sides?
DHS puts more emphasis in appraisal than reappraisal, which proves to be damaging as illustrated below.
ZEB: I had a burst appendix the day afterward and ended up in the infirmary. In the next bed was a guy named Darryl. We were both in recovery for a long time and by the time we got well, we were too much of an embarrassment to them to let go. So they decided we must really be guilty. They questioned us every day.
Problem of Potentiality:
DHS takes terrorism as an opportunity to stay in power.
MARCUS(as the narrator): President's Chief of Staff gloated at the attacks on San Francisco and admitted that he knew when and where the next attacks would happen and that he wouldn't stop them because they'd help his man get re-elected.
Solution of Certainty:
Marcus decides to end DHS's impact over him by submitting crucial incriminating evidence against it.
"I am so sick of being scared," I said. "Let's take this to Barbara and have her publish it all. Put it all on the net. Let them take me away. At least I'll know what's going to happen then. At least then I'll have a little certainty in my life."
Focus of Proaction:
DHS finds it problematic that M1k3y is putting the brakes on.
ROONEY: “So long as they're moderates, they're a liability.”
Direction of Reaction:
DHS focuses on retaliating against activism to keep them radical.
ROONEY: “Keep them radical”
Unique Ability of Appraisal:
DHS has power to use and manipulate people's first impression to their advantage to undermine Marcus. DHS controls what information gets out and gives off impression Xnetters support terrorists.
Sutherland: "I want you to look at these for a moment. Let me read you their titles. WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED: A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO OVERTHROWING THE STATE. Here's one, DID THE SEPTEMBER 11TH BOMBINGS REALLY HAPPEN? And another, HOW TO USE THEIR SECURITY AGAINST THEM.
Critical Flaw of Expediency:
Masha who has evidence to incriminate DHS defects because she finds it expedient course of action.
MASHA: “They offered me a job: help them hunt down the terrorists who'd killed my neighbors. It sounded like a good deal at the time. Little did I realize that my actual job would turn out to be spying on kids who resented their city being turned into a police state.”
Benchmark of preconscious:
Degree to which DHS has impact on Marcus is measured by Marcus’s preconscious reactions to DHS. DHS makes Marcus feel wide array of preconscious emotion from esprit de escalier, feeling like throwing up, raw terror and finally calmness.
Preconscious: Marcus is alarmed that DHS officers doesn't give off any emotions and treat detainees impersonally “like someone at McDonald's putting together burgers”
MARCUS(as the narrator): She did, and her face slammed into a totally different configuration, dispassionate, even robotic. The smile vanished in an instant.
Preconscious to Subconscious: DHS's security measures are met with huge backlash and sabotage, which angers officers.
Subconscious: DHS gets into hotheaded controversy after openly expressing hatred especially to general Claude Geist.
MARCUS(as the narrator): Abuses of Authority: it's the latest craze on San Francisco's notorious Xnet, and it's captured the world's attention. […] The rallying cry is a popular viral video clip of a General Claude Geist, a retired three-star general, being tackled by DHS officers on the sidewalk in front of City Hall. Geist hasn't made a statement on the incident, but commentary from young people who are upset with their own treatment has been fast and furious.
Subconscious to Conscious: DHS uses the youth riot to their advantage to distract the public.
Conscious: DHS officers knows where next terrorism would be, but plans not to act. At the same time, they are framing Xnetters and rebels to be real enemies of the state.
Conscious to Memory: Masha defects DHS, disillusioned by their deception.
Memory: Masha's evidence incriminates DHS. Johnstone is brought to the court to testify her statement, but she refuses to say anything.