Let me begin by first noting how profound and complicated a tool Voyant is. It took me many times running through the instructions and tools to figure out even the simplest uses. From what I have begun to understand, Voyant is a machine assisted reading tool, that is to say it can pull information out of a text, simply by analyzing the frequency of words and phrases and compiling that data into visuals and graphs. Voyant contains many tools, but one of the most revealing, in my opinion is the frequency of the five most commonly occurring words, plotted onto a line graph representing their occurrence over different segments of Only Revolutions. I thought this was an interesting graph because it is not only straightforward and simple to understand, but it gives us a simple yet elegant chunk of the content of the book. I would be hard pressed to go through a book and fine the five most common words, most likely would be impossible. Voyant does this for us and provides us with information we would otherwise be blind to. What I found was that the occurrence of the words “Hailey” and “Sam” flip in the middle of the book. This is not a surprise, as one takes the narrative away from the other, we see them saying the others name more often. I found it peculiar that the word “we’re” peaks at ¼ and then falls towards the halfway mark. It then picks up in popularity toward the ¾ mark, falling again at the end of the book. The occurrence of the word “I’m” is inversely related to that of “we’re”. This struck me, as the two sets of words are opposites in a way. They separate the book into segments of individuality verses the segments that express more unity between Sam and Hailey.
Another thing I discovered using voyant is simply that I am far beyond inexperienced when it comes to using machine assisted reading techniques. I uploaded the entire text of Only Revolutions and attempted to portray it through a “textual arc”. Confusing doesn’t begin to describe it, but from what I have interpreted, the graphic plots the words in the novel, literally all of them, regarding to their relative occurrence frequency. The two dimensionality of this graph creates different arcs, to which we can begin to look at different words and how closely they occur near others. I may not be describing it correctly, but I was very confused by this one.
What voyant taught me about Only Revolutions is that certain tools can help us understand text, while some can convolute it and make it less accessible. I would not have been able to tell you the occurrence of words with such precision that this machine assisted reading tool can. I think it is very neat to look at a list of common words, it can begin to provide an overall tone of the writing. Aside from being helpful with putting the text into a graphical representation, it doesn’t do much to reveal plot. The closest thing to involving the plot of the book would be the line graph, but still, that only involves five words.
For my final scholarly paper regarding Only Revolutions, I would like to look at the relation between the text, the plot, and the object. That is to say, I want to find some vein that runs in common in-between the three. From what I have considered to far, the author has to physically flip the book around while reading it, while the actual print on the page does something similar. As a reflection of the book itself and the ink on the page, the story of Sam and Hailey, both together and separately, both flip and turn inwards on themselves. I will hopefully use text extraction tools like Voyant to find patterns, which can further my thesis and make my argument more accessibly.