WordHoard’s Take On the Ghost

Our Plan of Action is lifting off!  Since our last meeting, our team has further developed our POA and it now feels a lot more streamlined and purposeful. I’m excited to see where it leads us!  To fill everyone in, we had originally decided to use our individual tools to analyze one main subject (you can find that in my first post), and slowly begin to collaborate with our tools to be more effective.  Today, we decided to expand on that idea.  We are now each going to use our tools to study the growth of a specific character in Act 1. From there, we will share with each other our struggles and shortcomings that our own tool caused and then use each other’s tools to help us achieve better results.  I’m so happy to have Ruby, Richelle, Kate, and Amy in my group for Act 1! Each one of them brings so much insight to our project and I completely trust all of them to help me through in the coming days when WordHoard’s limitations begin to be a bigger issue!

So now, on to my responsibilities in the group.  I am studying the change in character of the Ghost throughout the play by using WordHoard.  I am now going to spend the next few paragraphs sharing with you a bit of what WordHoard has taught me about the development of the Ghost’s character and some things I wish I could have found!

First, I needed to see how many times the Ghost even speaks in the play.  I ran a search through WordHoard of just the speaker “Ghost”, without specifying any lemmas or any extra requirements.  I got this result:

So WordHoard automatically tells me that the Ghost speaks in two scenes in the entire play: Act 1, Scene 5 and Act 3, Scene 4.  Evidently, the Ghost speaks a great deal more in its first appearance than its second.  I could already infer from this simple finding that the Ghost’s character was very instrumental in its first appearance seeing as it spoke 641 words in this scene.  We all know that Act 1, Scene 5 is where the Ghost and Hamlet have their first meeting.  I wondered what it was that caused the Ghost to speak so much at the beginning and begin to be less vocal later on.

Because WordHoard only allows me to search all of the words spoken by the ghost, I had to manually go through the text and locate how many “speeches” the Ghost has.  I found there to be three, one of them being very large.  WordHoard can’t exactly tell you how many lines a character speaks either, it just locates the words spoken for you and then you have to go and look at it for yourself to obtain anything further.  Later on in Act 3, Scene 4 the Ghost basically has one line.  This is a very big contrast to the powerful demeanor the Ghost relayed earlier on in the play.

I often just find myself at a loss of what to search when it comes to lemmas with WordHoard.  I scan the text and look for words that seem to pop out or seem to be an underlying trend and then search those, but the fact that I can’t use related words almost defeats the purpose of that.  I think by pairing up with tools such as Voyeur could really help me expand my horizons when learning about the development the Ghost has made as a character, because at the moment there isn’t a whole lot to go on.

I thought I’d  search how many times the Ghost refers to the word “mother” in both scenes, yielding only two results:

The word was said once in each scene.  This evidently does not tell me very much about the Ghost’s character.  What I am taking away from this little experience is definitely the fact that WordHoard is not an effective stand alone tool.  I Could definitely make use of things such as word clouds and heat maps to see the trends in the Ghost’s words and then draw further conclusions from there.  So once we do bring all of our tools together, I believe I will grasp a better understanding of the Ghost!

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