Theme and message

The main theme of the short story “Lightbox” by Emma Cleary is privacy in modern society. The theme is enhanced through the motif of stalking and stalker mentality, as the story explores how easy it is for a stalker in our digital world to pursue his agenda and find out everything about the private life of the person he is obsessing over.

Privacy in modern society

The story alerts readers to issues related to privacy in modern society by presenting the psychological profile of a stalker. The narrator of the short story develops an obsession with a woman who lives on the same floor in a building across from his. Being able to see inside Elsie’s house fuels the man’s obsession. Furthermore, the digital technologies we use in our modern society such as online profiles and blogs, become stalking tools for the narrator.

The fact that Elsie has a public profile where she frequently posts what she does, as well as a blog, make it much easier for the narrator to follow her every move:

Elsie has uploaded a picture of the berry smoothie poised artfully over the crossword puzzle. (…) It has a lot of...

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