For Lab 2, I used the literary tools Voyant and Lexos in order to focus on specific patterns and words used in Danielewski’s Only Revolutions. Specifically, I looked at how “the creep” fit in relation to the text in several different ways.
This graph was created using Voyant. It is comparison of the words “free” and “creep” used in OR from the plain version of Sam’s text.
This graph is much like the graph above. I used Voyant to create it as well. It is a comparison of the words “free” and “creep” in the plain version of Hailey’s text.
This word cloud was also created using Voyant. It is simply a visualization of the most used words in the plain version of Hailey’s text. The larger words are used the most often.
This word chart was created by using Lexos. It is a visual representation of Sam’s text, where the most frequently used words are shown. In addition, the words that are slightly bigger are used the more often than the others.
In Lab 2, we learned about how to view the plain text of Only Revolutions in new ways. We used the tools Voyant and Lexos in order to quickly and easily see which words within each text were most used and most relevant. Once we had the plain texts of several different aspects of the book (Hailey’s perspective, Sam’s perspective, historical timeline, etc.), we placed them in these literary tools. Each of these systems was relatively easy to use once we learned about how they are used in class. I chose to use Voyant more than Lexos, because it was a little bit user-friendlier. Lexos had many more options for viewing text than Voyant, so it seemed to be more confusing to me.
When deciding which plain text files to use for these representations, I chose to view Hailey’s plain text and Sam’s plain text. These will be the main text I use for my first close reading paper we’re working on now. I think it’s really interesting to see the patterns of mirroring in the two opposing sides of the novels, and I think it’s especially interesting to see where certain aspects of these two narratives intersect. In addition to looking at the two narratives, I also decided to focus in on two words that are used often in the two novels: creep and free. Using these visual tools, I am now able to see specifically in the text where the two are used and where they are used at the same time in order to better form my close reading argument about how “the creep” affects the freedom of Hailey and Sam.
I think these tools very easily compliment our close reading of Only Revolutions. In certain ways, these tools allow us to see certain things about the novel that we would not necessarily be able to see without their help. For example, without the help of Voyant and/or Lexos, I would not physically have the time to find out every time that the words “free” and “creep” appeared in the narratives. In addition, I would not be able to easily see the words that are most prominently used in the texts. I think the biggest advantage that these literary tools gives readers and researchers is time. As I plan to choose these specific words to analyze and form a thesis about for my close reading paper, these tools allow me to easily see certain patterns and repetitions that Danielewski has chosen to include for the passages I choose to support my argument.
One of the scholarly articles we’ve read so far seems to directly relate to what these tools allow us to do in regards to close reading. In Culler’s The Closeness of Close Reading, he addresses some of the current ideas of what close reading is about and how it works in classrooms today. He writes, “…the goal of close reading is to determine the meaning, to produce and interpretation. In fact, the work of close reading is not primarily to resolve difficulties but above all to describe them, to elucidate their source and implications” (22). In this passage, Culler points out an interesting idea in regards to close reading that doesn’t always match what people believe about it. He points out that close reading is about highlighting the difficulties in works, not figuring them out, so to speak. Voyant and Lexos definitely aid in the process of highlighting and discovering the difficult patterns in order to make close reading a more accessible and approachable experience.