The small Digital Humanties part of this course was the most interesting to me. Though I was familiar with word clouds prior to taking this class, I had never put one together myself or understood the significance of its use within literature. Composing my own word cloud allowed me to understand this. Word clouds are used as a tool to locate themes within a particular piece of literature and outline any patterns that weren’t clear from just simply reading the piece of literature. For example, just from looking at a word cloud of The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we get a sense that the major themes include slavery, religion, and family. Also, the TEI markup exercise helped to point out such things. By catergorizing different nouns, we can locate themes and any symbolism. Overall, I believe that word clouds and TEI markups are significant for locating literary devices within literature and understanding the uses of them.
I found the word cloud to be one of the more interesting topics in class. The word cloud allowed a whole new way of processing a piece of literature. I find the practice to be, on its own, unsound, but it does give a whole new method of viewing text. I found it most interesting when I applied it to my own writing to see what words I used the most allowing me to attempt to change it. It also gave me a the idea that unconsciously a reader may interpret the feeling or expression of the text by the repetition of certain words. For example, it is difficult to ignore the use of the term freedom or sanctity, and if used enough may color a text completely. The visual representation is also brilliant in its application allowing for a crowded mind to ease through a complicated text.
The most likely candidate for my approach to this paper was a combination of psychoanalytic theory and cultural studies.The psychoanalytic theory is a loose connection because my analysis was much more sociologically based than psychologically. Identity theories relate to an individuals construction of identity separate or part of a group. I used neither Freudian or Jungian psychology, instead I used a collection of other sociology figures. They relate but not as closely as the book suggests. Cultural studies fit in nicely with A Pair of Tickets due to the connection between ethnocentrism and culture. It also fits with both as the identity theories used are closely related to the time period in which they were written.
By far, one of the most interesting assignments of the semester was literary interpretation through acting. More specifically, I was assigned to act out a scene from the play The Real Inspector Hound. This was especially interesting because, as far as drama goes, this play was pretty far out there, compared to others. There were many different levels of cliche’s acknowledgment of those cliche’s, humor, mystery, criticism, and in a sense, a breaking of the fourth wall that is not typical for most theatrical works.
The scene I had to act out greatly called for a need of the analysis of character setting, theme, plot, and many other variables that made it one of the most in depth assignments I took to heart. For my scene, especially, this was necessary for I was playing a quiet theater critic talking to another quiet theater critic in a scene with little action that could have turned dull very easily to the audience. Looking at the script, I could see that it was of up-most importance to draw the audience in, as this was the opening scene of the play. If my part were to come off as lackluster, the entire audience perception of the play would be brought down. To give my best performance, I required deep character and text analysis. I really got into it asking myself, “Who is this character What are they thinking? What are their ambitions? What’s fascinating about them?” These are questions I very commonly overlook when reading through a non-theatrical work of literature, so the assignment to act out my character in a scene really allowed me to analyze the story in the deeper sense that is often forgotten or unnecessary in other literary works.
One of those most fun classes that I have had in this class, was the day that we acted out the short sections of the plays that we read. The reason why was that it allowed for the class get a little laugh. It also helped us out in understanding the dynamics of the play. I know from person experience that it is very hard to read a play once and totally understand what is going on in the play. It also should hw the class can improvise with the surrounds that we had and the props that we had with us.
My favorite reading was The White Slave: or, Memoirs of a Fugitive by Richard Hildreth. I like to read and study literary works that relate to slavery and The White Slave was a great story because it talked about a different kind of people being in slavery which were mixed people born into slavery. It was a great experience to actually see the book and study it because it was unique and rare books. I liked the experience of studying an old book and learn how to study it and make it available for other scholars to look at and study. I liked the experience of using cotton gloves and handling the book with care. I liked the experience of holding and reading from an antique book. Also the assignment of typing up the passage from the book we went to photograph and submitting it to word cloud was really helpful to figure out the theme of the passage. At the beginning I was looking at the main theme, which was slavery, and class differences, but after submitting the typed passages into word cloud and using some of the tools online it helped me understand the other minor themes that the chapter was trying to depict, for example Happiness.
A couple years ago, I would listen to chaotic Electronic music while I did my math and science homework. It was, in some way, relaxing, answering problems left and right with minimal thinking. Let me rephrase that: math usually did not require complex thoughts, so I could do it with loud music. Coding a text felt bit like that. Granted not every answer to where a piece of XML (or HTML) code should be placed. Thus it requires some contemplation. However, it felt simple just the same.
Not only that, but both my parents use computer code for their jobs. After encoding the text of “The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” I felt I could better understand what they do on a daily basis.
With the ever growing population of gadgets and electronics it seems like people are buying books from a book store less and less. Now days people read the paper on their lap tops, iPads, and smart phones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the times are simply changing. I am one of these people. I read the paper on my computer and I read books on my iPad but every once and a while it is nice to whole a book in your hands and flip through the pages. The assignment that we did in class that I enjoyed the most was when we went upstairs to the library of rare books. I enjoyed going through the old books and truly grasping how long ago the book was written. It was cool having a piece of history right in the palm of my hands. The other part I took from the rare book asignment was how you tied it into digital humanities. We took old books and we got to go through them and upload them to an internet site. I thought that was an interesting way to take the old with the new. Lastly I enjoyed the text I read, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that story had everything, love, family, religion, good vs. evil and it is timeless. People will be reading that book for centuries to come and we at Marymount have an original copy of it in our very own library. Pretty cool.
I thought the most interesting and fun assignment we did this semester was to act out the scences from Trifles and The Real Inspector Hound. I highly enjoyed the acting and the variety and break it gave us from just normal lecture class. I also enjoyed acting out the scenes because I am a very visual and hands-on learner and I tend to process things better that way. I think it helps to act things out or read things aloud because it gives me a better grasp on the characters and the context and the way things are said in the text.
My research paper is going to be about the oppression of women’s rights in the early to mid-1900s as displayed in Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles.” I think the best critical approach for me would be the Emphasis on the Text because the text of the play is key to determining how and why the murder was committed, and the treatment of the murderer because of her gender, as well as the treatment of the women around her. However, I also need to analyze the time of when the play was written, and the actual conditions that women faced. I’m not sure that any of the critical approach methods would combine the outside research and the analyzation of the text.