Genre Exploration

The text that is found inside a fortune cookie is well known for containing certain thematic elements that would hardly be considered a true fortune cookie fortune without their inclusion. One of the most important fortune cookie features is that the text must address the reader directly. In my prototypical examples, I use the personal pronouns ‘you’ and ‘your’ to signify that the reader is being directly addressed. Part of the appeal of getting a fortune is that the message is specifically for the reader alone. Another important feature is the length of the message. Generally, the messages are short and to the point, and they do not take up more than a line or two of small text. This is so that the message can fit onto the small piece of paper legibly for the reader to crack open from the cookie. Most fortunes are short, declarative sentences that do not contain any superfluous text. Lastly, the fortune cookie fortune is famously known for its message being pertained to the future. That is why a lot of the examples will use verbs signifying events that have not yet happened such as ‘will’. Including words such as ‘soon’ and sometimes even directly mentioning ‘the future’ in the message, the fortune cookie message addresses the reader directly with a piece of advice or clue as to their future behavior and life events.

Bending the fortune cookie genre, I chose to keep some elements the same so that they are recognizable as being ‘fortunes’ without being put into a cookie, but I changed the context. I kept the direct address to the reader by including pronouns such as ‘you’. I also kept the length rather short so that it could still conceivably pass as a fortune that could fit into a cookie. However, instead of having the message pertain to the future, I changed it so that the message addressed the reader directly about instances that have already arisen in their past. For example, the first bent genre example, it tells the person reading the fortune that they should have taken the chance and asked out the pretty girl at the bar instead of choosing not to approach her. Since fortunes are usually dependent upon the actions of the reader to make them ‘true’, I also included ‘fortunes’ that were linked to their own actions, except that they are past actions instead of actions to be made in the future. This is seen in the second and third bent examples; they both hint that the actions of the reader in the past could have changed their present moment. Fortune cookies are meant to be fun and exciting to open because they hold a hint of the future and humans are always endeavoring to know more than their present moment, even if the reader doesn’t believe in it being true. I believe the bent version holds true to that emotional response because humans are also constantly fixated on the past and what they should have done differently. The bent versions hold more room to be interpreted as sad or regretful since they hint at past events that the reader would have enjoyed the fruits of if they had only done something different. It still holds a visceral feeling in the reading of the text, but the emotional response is flipped.


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