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John Barth uses intricate techniques in order to achieve something different in terms of writing.

The story is about how a writer is creating his works, thus referring to the development of the
short-story itself. Its a story about someone who is writing a story and so on, in a postmodernist
manner which goes against the predicament of the traditional structure in order to deconstruct the
idea of the story as a linguistic construct. The narrator believes that plots consist of a groundsituation as in Scheherazade desires not to die and vehicle-situations as in Scheherazade
beguiling the King by telling endless stories. However, the lack of a ground-situation, or the
lack of a good basis for a meaningful story, is not a cause for despair, and the narrator eventually
realizes that the lack of a good ground-situation can become a good ground-situation itself. Her
stories have a structure of exposition, rising action, climax and denouncement, but she does
not invent them herself, as they are fed to her by a genie, a writer like Barth, who travels back
through time to share with her his enthusiasm for The Arabian Nights. He uses this analogy in
order to describe the relation between the writers and the readers. Scheherazade tells stories to
the King every night so that she wont be killed. So is the case of writers, who are supposed to
write what is expected of them so that they wont be killed by the readers. The characters,
represented by letters, act as both narrators and writers, as is the case of D, who suspects the
world is a novel and he is a fictional character. Moreover, there is no clear line between reality
and fiction, between life and art. The self reflexive metafictional tendency is presented in the first
sentence Without discarding what hed already written, he began his story afresh in a somewhat
different manner. The readers are told here how the nature of fiction is composed. In Life Story,
there are various characters, such as the writer, the wife or the imagined mistress but the real
protagonist is the novel itself or rather its creation.

Life Story represents a story-within-story structure, while at the same time

the process of writing is described
It is a short story about someone who is writing a story, describing at the
same time the creation of a novel while rejecting the traditional structure of
The lack of a meaningful basis(ground-situation) can become a good groundsituation itself

No particular meaning to be found in words

Barth is obsessed with style, with complicated structure, inter-textual
reference and play in order to deconstruct the idea of the story as a linguistic
There is no clear line between reality and fiction
The relation writer-reader relation through the Sheherazade analogy
The novel itself as the protagonist ( or rather, its creation)