Image of blue and orange intro image of the Caretaker animation

The Short Story

This is an animation to represent the concepts of a short story called “The Caretaker” by Anthony Doerr.  I found this short story compelling for the insight into a refugee’s experience and the healing journey the protagonist took. The healing was so profound in large part because of the depth of the characters that Doerr portrayed. I also appreciate the way Doerr wove elements such as, nature’s growth, burial, forgiveness, and redemption into the overarching tragic story of Joseph’s experiences.  I chose to make a digital explication emphasizing these elements of the story and to visually represent the epiphany both Joseph and Belle experience at the end


For the video I chose blue and orange for the background colors with a faded texture. To me, the orange represents the chaos and destruction that took place in Liberia during the first part of the story. Blue represents the ocean side where Joseph found redemption and healing. The faded texture is to help represent the imperfect nature of memory, which is where Joseph became lost and overcome with grief. The video is made up of 107 line drawings I did in white to contrast with the background and also represent the fleeting inaccuracies of memory that were featured in the short story.

The growth of the plant into two melons is to represent the final scene of the story when Belle visits Joseph just when he thought he lost everything again. His garden, his path of healing; he thought it was all lost until Belle showed him that she continued their care of the garden and brought him the fruits of their labor. “It is as if the melon carried light within it.”(p.179) this line represents Joseph’s completion of his healing journey.