Text Analysis Tools and their Silences

ENGL 203 FINAL BLOG POST

*Note throughout this Blog I will be associating Text Analysis Tools and their ability or lack of to connect with text with comparison to Monk. Since I worked with Monk for the year I feel the most comfortable associating this post and assumptions towards it. No assumptions are made about any other tools since I have not worked in depth with them and am not as familiar with them*

Well this is the final blog post, the last and final one of Hamlet in the Digital Humanities. Since the final blog post is a “biggie” I figured I should write on something that I have been constantly thinking about since the beginning of the course: quantitative and qualitative analysis. The digital Humanities is all about looking at things from a computer data based perspective to find more ways we can locate information or otherwise known as quantitative information. Which is a different perspective than what people are used to which is qualitative analysis. This year we analyzed Hamlet qualitatively and quantitatively and looked at how the two relate or compare to one another. It seems to be an upcoming trend to look at text through computers and I was wondering what this effect may lead to the original qualitative analysis of texts and how the two differ all together. I believe that with new technology in the digital humanities arising this may create “silences” in meaning and understanding of a text and relation to it similarly on how digital texts have created “archival silences” in that the more digital we become with text analysis the less involved we seem to get with the text and understanding it from its original roots.

Lost Voice

“Archival Silences”. Where do I begin to explain the tricky term of Archival Silences… I guess that depends on which definition you are looking at. In Kate Theimer’s Blog on “The Two Meanings of Archival Silences and Their Implications”  she describes archival silences many different ways

1. Gaps or “silences” in a body of original records

2. reference to materials that are not represented in the digital collections that have been marked up in ways that make them useful for research

3. ways in which voices from the past are silenced

4. those materials that have been digitized and made available online

After looking at these definitions and looking at my blog and what I wish to write about I decided that in terms of this paper the silences which I refer to would be the gaps or voices that are lost in the Digital Humanities Text Analysis tools, and the implications digitizing has had on our bodies of work.

Overall I felt that with the Digital Humanities and the text analysis tools there seemed to be a lack of absence or silence within the association to the original text. I felt that even though in our class we spent time looking at Hamlet on paper and looking at Hamlet through a text analysis tool I still had a lot of difficulty connecting the two together. Even so after phase two I was able to relate the two together, however I found that each part could stand on its own.  What I mean by this is when you read Hamlet on paper you are able to understand it and pick up on certain themes and ideas and don’t need the digital version of Hamlet to grasp at it. I also found this the same with the digital version in that even though with text analysis tools it takes the text and picks it apart it looks at it a completely different way than a human does, in that it looks at things from a quantitative measure as in numbers, language and how often something may appear.

Even though the digitized version of the text looks at the text through a different aspect than what a person would do it looks at the text from a different level and thus the original story and themes that we pick up can be silenced. In that the digitized version of the text only looks at the text with aspects of words and numbers not a thought provoking questioning or understanding that we get from reading it. Thus we can say if you follow this logic that Digital Text Analysis tools themselves have created their own silences in that they are unable to pick up the human perception.

Hamlet and Text

To further test my question about archival silences that are created within text analysis tools I decided to look at the text that we have looked at throughout the whole year: Hamlet. I decided to do something basic and look at a common theme found throughout Hamlet which is “madness”. I wanted to see the ways in which human interpretation or qualitative analysis found this theme.

The theme of madness can be easily seen through one of Shakespeare’s best attributes: Language. Shakespeare has a very rich language which is layered with meaning on top of meaning. The ability to look at language, associate it and read into its many different meanings can be seen as a humanistic qualitative feature in that it human emotion and understanding is able to look at this language and see its many layered meanings as well as the association and feelings behind it. An example of madness can be seen when Ophelia has lost herself in Act 4 and the king states:”Poor Ophelia/Divided from herself and her fair judgment, /Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts”  (4.5.80-81). This quote shows how the madness has “divided” Ophelia, meaning that she is split off into two separate parts, her body as well as “her fair judgment”. We can see that her “fair judgment” indicates her senses in that she is no longer associated towards it. In turn it has turned her into a “beast” meaning that she is considered nothing more than an animal and that without her judgment Ophelia is seen as animalistic. This also gives reference to the idea of humanity and what makes us a person. Here King Claudius suggests that Ophelia’s reason and “judgment” make her human and without them she is nothing more than an animal. We must also consider the word “lost” in that it associates that she had it and now it is gone. It also gives light to the idea that she may find herself again, and there is hope that Ophelia may return to the girl she was and that she will no longer be considered animalistic this may also convey a sense of remorse in King Claudius’s choice of words in that he is hopeful that Ophelia will get better and he feels sorry for what has happened to her and the condition that she is now in. This can also be seen by how King Claudius used the word “Poor” as he associated a sense of sorrow towards her and apathy for what has come to her in that the madness has turned her into something she is not. Overall this quote shows how “madness” is not only found but is also described and related to in that day and age.

We can see through this brief analysis of text that there are many layers within Hamlet and by going through and taking apart the language bit by bit we can sense a greater understanding of not only the character Ophelia but as well as associations with how people were viewed if they were seen as mentally unstable as well as character feelings and associations towards one another. This two lined sentence in Shakespeare speaks volumes in references and meaning. It also gives the reader an association of feeling, understanding and a sense of emotion tied towards his words. On the other hand a computer would have no way of analyzing text through this deep of a method.

Gaps Created Because of the Digital Humanities

                For this past semester I have been looking at Hamlet within a text analysis towards Monk. If you have read any of my previous Blogs you probably realize that Monk is a frustrating tool which doesn’t tend to cooperate often but it is still a text analysis tool.

Text Analysis tools are used to gather a greater strength or grasp of ideas within a text. Text analysis tools basically do what the name says, they analyze text. Within each tool it took the text of Hamlet and analyzed it in its own specific way and found out some interesting things associated with it. This is where I think the silences begin. For me working with Monk it was difficult associating the text with the findings. This can be seen with the concordances in that it shows you the word that you are looking for but it does not pertain where in the text it was said, as well as who said it.

Here you see I have looked up the word “madness” in that Monk displays how often the word madness appears in the text. Although this may show that madness appears 22 times in the play. It also shows the phrase that madness was found in.

To me this is a big problem since as a class we were relying on these tools to give us information about the text. When it did give information I found that it had little association or connection to the text itself. I could see where Monk had found it, but since I had no idea of the origin I had no concept of its meaning and thus I had not gained a greater strength nor grasp of the text itself. Even though you are able to look at the words and see the context which they fit in you can’t relate it back to Hamlet because you don’t know its origin or its speaker. This shows the silences in that there is a gap of information that is not being received or understood, but it just gives you data. I know to try and fully understand what Monk is trying to say about Madness I will have to go back to the text and sift through it myself to know who said it where it was said in the play.

This is also shown with Monks unique tool Naye Bayes in the decision tree which picks up the theme that you have chosen and sees how confident it can be found throughout the text.

Once again I am shown data and information, but I have no idea why these words are associated with it or the context that they are spoken in. Even though Naye Bayes does show you the common words associated with it, it does not show you the ways in which the tool picked up the certain idea or theme. This shows me a lack of proof of what Monk actually found and how it can be useful. It leads once more to a silence which just shows data and information but lacks an actual connection towards the text and thus the reader.

In phase two my group and I decided to try and make a connection with the text towards the theme of spy and surveillance which we found extremely prevalent in act two by reading. This was a way for us to try and bridge this connection between qualitative and quantitative text while focusing on the idea of erasing the association of silences that some tools created. I found this to be an extremely helpful way of bridging the gap between human and computer association. I did feel that for the use of our presentation was for the main concept of trying to strengthen the theme we have picked up on and have found. I believe with the combination of all 5 tools we still would have picked up the theme of spying and surveillance if none of us had ever read Hamlet or understood the theme found within the text. However I am unsure of how well we would have been able o understand and grasp the strong concept of rich language that Shakespeare uses. As mentioned in one of my previous Blogs some words which we convey as strong themes throughout the play don’t even show up. The language used in a specific context seems to hold importance in the human understanding where a computer may lack or add “silences” to.

                                Overall I felt that the text analysis tools did create “silences” that were not included to or pertained to the text. When looking at both text and tool I did feel like there was still some aspects that were not being fully understood even though the computer gave me an answer. The best way I can describe it is solving a math problem by hand and understanding all the parts and particulars to it where as if I picked up a calculator I would have the answer starring straight at me in the face and I have no idea or concept of how it got there. This makes me wonder of our future and understanding of books and novels. Will there be a “calculator phase” that will just show us the answers but we have no idea or concept of how they got there? Can we really consider this diving deeper into a text when it just shows us the answer or tells us how often something appears?

The In-Between

A main point I saw throughout the whole experience was the point and validity to quantitative analysis. Yes it is interesting to see things broken down in a numbers based only perspective but I still felt that you had to rely heavily on the text itself to fill in the “gaps” or “silences” that were created because of the fact that it is taking a text that we understand qualitatively and putting it into a quantitative format.

Now don’t get me wrong about the tools in that they are all useless and evil, that is definitely not the case. I am merely suggesting that in looking into this new era of digitizing we still need our original texts to fill in the blanks that we don’t really understand. In that text analysis tools become a help towards our understanding but not a dependence. I am a strong believer in the original form of understanding text. I think it is important to go through a text and pick it out the old fashion way similarly to how you won’t understand someone until you have walked in their shoes. To me the text is the shoes and for me to fully understand and comprehend something you need that text. Without it you may have grasped a concept or idea that is being presented but there will be gaps.

What the future Holds

Kate writes on how these archival silences have had implications on ourselves and how eventually one day “that which is not available digitally with become equated with that which does not exist” . I guess you can say we have similar fears in that one day there may be a time when text analysis tools have taken over the concept of reading and understanding a book the old fashion way.

This can also relate to the technology today in that there are so many different ways that people communicate with one another but don’t at the same time. If you look at texting, Facebook chat, or even talking on the phone (which seems old fashion now a days) they all convey the idea of finding and passing information to one another fast while missing the human connection of emotion. There are countless times when someone will get mad over some computerized message because the human connection and emotion behind it is lost similarly to the silences found within text analysis in that the deeper meaning and context is essentially lost due to this phase of understanding and processing at a fast pace.

I can’t help but wonder if this will happen to our books and if they will “be or not to be” (3.1.58) meaning if they will be able to survive in an ever expanding digital world. I hope we don’t lose sight of the text and what it has to offer us because without it there will be a million unheard, unrecognized voices that eventually will go silent forevermore one day.

 

 

Works Cited List

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Stephen Greenblat, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard and Kathrine Eisaman Maus: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print. The Second Norton Edition.

Simple is Best- Well… at least for Monk it is…

Looking back on phase two I find it neat to look at the text and analyze it through different tools and methods of analyzing. The use of combination of tools I thought was very helpful in that it was able to look at things from a different perspective similarly to how a different person looks at a text.  I decided for my final blog post to go simple, and look at the words and themes found in act 2.

I decided to go back to the old fashion way of analyzing and read! I re-read the text to try and find some other themes and a common one I found throughout the text would be public and private actions. The act is about how individuals try to come in on these private moments and actions to reveal to be public. This also seems to be centered around one character: Polonius.

Polonius seems to be that annoyingly pompous guy that always has to know what is going on, and you know when Polonius is around trouble is going to happen. Why does Polonius have this insistent need to be a know it all. The desire for him to know it all and be in the middle of everything can be seen as the thing that brings him down and kills them. The is seen since he is killed behind a curtain, spying.  However his outward appearance is seems opposite with the idea that the king describes him as “a man of faith and honorable”.

From here we can see Polonius’s outward appearance to the King is one of a high and noble status. This makes me think that Polonius cares about how other perceive him and that maybe to make himself feel better.

I also looked at “truth” and I found that it is mentioned 3 times within Act 2. I found that truth was used as 3 times with relation to finding the truth, seeking the truth. It always came back to the idea of knowing the truth and being aware of what was real and what was not.

This relates to Polonius in his constant need to find the truth and seeking in truth. It also relates to the ways he uses to find this truth out which can be seen mostly by sneaking around and having spies. The aspect of truth also relates to the King and Queen and how they feel like they must know the truth to Hamlet with his current state of being, if he is mad or not and his relation with Ophelia. I also looked at the word “hid” and found that it relates closely with the word “truth” in that it was used to cover up the truth and keep it secret and hidden. This once again touches on the idea of things being kept public and private in that everyone wants to keep their personal views private and everyone else’s views public.

It seems like within Hamlet it is a constant power struggle of knowledge and who knows the most and how they can use this information to their gain and knowledge while keeping their views private and away from what everyone else thinks. Act 2 seems to revolve around this idea of knowledge and power, who has it and how can it be used to your personal advantage.

Even though Monk isn’t that fancy or considered a great tool sometimes simple is better and with Monk it is either simple or really complicated and complex. However in either situation I find that you have to be able to know and relate to the text thoroughly. Having Monk as a tool seems to really show me how to not fully rely on a tool for pure information, and I find that it seems to be equal parts of Monk and self knowledge.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends- and Monk…

Today was the second meeting with my group on Act 2 and we spent our time trying to figure out ways in which our tool can be helpful to others and ourselves. I am pretty sure that Monk won’t be very helpful with picking up the slack compared to other tools, but I find myself at a large advantage in that every other tool will be helpful to me. Thus I will learn new things about all the other tools, and I can teach my group my frustrations.

I am having difficulty once again just comparing or looking at Act 2 effectively. So I have decided to branch out further and look at Act 2 with much larger parts of Shakespeare mostly focusing on the tragedies.  I have found that common words associated with Act 2 and tragedies such as Richard III, Macbeth and Hamlet as a whole in comparison to Act 2 and its different parts. I have looked at Richard III Macbeth and Hamlet while sifting Hamlet act 2 words throughout it. I can also see where these words are mentioned in comparison to other plays.

 

 

The findings show up as the most common seen throughout Shakespeare and then the other two plays as followed. I found that Hamlet is a noun that shows up most often, which does seem obvious since you are comparing words in Hamlet 2.1 to Hamlet itself, these words show up in black. The words which are more commonly seen in other plays than that compared to Hamlet would be seen as an under use in grey.

 

 

Some words which I found interesting would be the under use ones. Words such as God and grace appear in such high numbers, but when you look at the comparison between other plays it occurs much more often however, the word heaven can be seen as an overuse word. This is odd because these three words seem connected but yet there is such a strong disconnect between them as an overuse and an underuse. This makes me think once again of what the context of these words could be used, in this case I would like to ask someone in my group who is able to look at these particular words and see who is speaking them, when they are spoken and the context that they are said in. Once again Monk has done a good job at showing you something interesting but it has left it up to you to decide how to handle the information.

 

I then wondered if these overuse words or underuse words could have been noted in Naye Bayes discussion tree. I decided to look up the underuse words and see if the language could have interpreted it as something with a strong confidence or a weak confidence. At first I looked at God, grace and brother looking at Hamlet, 2.2, and 2.1 as follows. I was surprised to find that a strong confidence showed up for the word Grace in 2.2. I believe this means that the language used in 2.2 can be seen as language which strongly refers grace and other words associated with it. There was also a soft pink shade which with relation to brother and looking at 2.1 which means the language used could be found as a relation to the word brother.

 

 

Afterwards I switched to the more common words seen throughout the text and I decided to look at matter, passion and heaven. I found that heaven has a very strong confidence towards 2.1 and matter has a weak relation and passion has no relation.

 

I find it very odd that some words that were seen as an overuse had such a strong relation to it with words in the text such as grace. As well as words that were commonly found throughout the text shown up as weak, and a common word found such as passion had no reference to the words related within the text.

 

After my group meeting I meet with my fellow Monk friend Hannah. We compared the ways in which we are trying to be helpful to look at the tool and some issues that have suddenly come up. I know I can speak for the both of us that sometimes the saved worksets that you make won’t let you compare them with other worksets that you have made, it just shows up as a blank. We have tried switching computers, logging off and on, switching internet browsers, making a new project but nothing seems to fix this issue. Although I am happy that it isn’t just me that is having this issue but other Monk individuals as well.

 

I hope my relation to words within the text will be helpful in my group. I know I will still be dependent on my fellow Monk individuals to help overcome my struggles and see if I am the only ones having these issues or if it others as well. I am very thankful that I am not the only one using Monk and I am not the only one analyzing Act 2. I think for anyone to be effective we have to rely on one another and help others to understand our findings and help push others forward.

Monk- A Fresh Start

 

It is a new beginning and I thought a good way to start it off would be to read Act 2 and pick apart some common themes that I found were represented throughout the text. I then thought that I could use the themes that I found to try and see if I could gain more information about them through some analysis tools that Monk has to offer.

While I was reading Act 2 I found that a common theme seen in the text was spying and trying to figure out secrets.  This is seen when Polonius asks Reynaldo to go spy on his son while he is away.  It is also mentioned later in 2.2 when the King and Queen ask Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet for them.

After this I decided what information Monk may lend itself to me when associations to the theme spying. I looked up the word concordances and found that there wasn’t any word matches to the word spy or spying in Act 2

 

 

I looked back at the language used within the text and I found that the usage of the word spy was not mentioned and a few other synonyms for the word spy weren’t mentioned as well.  I found this to be very odd since when you read the text you know that Reynaldo is sent to go spy on Laertes and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sent to go spy on Hamlet, but yet it is not outwardly mentioned. This made me think of the language that Shakespeare himself uses to get across points that we ourselves understand the concepts that differ today.

I then tried to tackle Aprils concept of the Naive Baye’s and look at the language within Act to see if it is compatible to the themes that are easily noted within Act 2.  I looked up at 2 with separation to 2.1 and 2.2 and looked up common words that connect to themes that are seen throughout Hamlet 2.1 and 2.2. to see if the language itself would identify it. I decided to look up “revenge” for Act 2 in a whole,  “spy” in 2.1 and “madness” for 2.2.

 

 

As the results show the ideas of revenge by use of the language and words is something that was seen as noticeable in Act 2, but was not very prominent due to the lack of a deeper shade of red. Madness was itself was something that was easily seen within the language due to its darker shade of red. strangely enough the word spy had no language itself noted in 2.1 even though it associates with Polonius asking Reynaldo to spy on his son for him.

I thought it was very odd how some of the common themes that are easily noted within Hamlet are not even noticed or picked up through the language. I may be using the tool wrong or I might not be giving it enough information that I should, but I thought this was very strange.

I think I will find two different aspects of information while working with Monk, one I will find through myself analysis of the text and the other I will find with the analysis through word hoard. Although I wish that some of my personal findings would transfer over to what I find in Monk I think that it brings things on a whole new perspective.

I find that I am going to have to still work closely with my fellow Monk friends just to fully understand concepts and ideas to see if what I am finding may be somewhat correct or if I am going off on something completely wrong. I think it is very helpful to first learn how to use the tool and develop a stronger understanding of it, and with Monk itself you seem to learn more the more you fiddle with it and play with it however it is very tedious.

I hope that I will be helpful to my group, I know Monk isn’t the easiest thing to work with especially on a smaller scale. However I do hope that working with the other tools will help pick up where Monk seems to fall short.

Monk… One Step Forward Two Steps Back

Monk Blog Post-#2

Since my last association with Monk we have gotten off on better terms. I have learned that Monk is a limited tool and not to expect it to do these extravagant things because that is not what it is built for.  The primary use of Monk is that is a word counter, it locates words and notices the popularity with them and the concordance that occurs. It is also used to compare the words between other parts of text on a larger aspect, the larger the comparison the better results you get from it.

I have tried to upload the text that other classmates have extracted from their tools however I have been unable to do so. Monk freezes up and does not let me bring it up myself. I have tried switching internet users (Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet explorer) and that did not work. It was another let down because I thought that it would be a neat experience to upload text and look at them on a whole while focusing primarily between what was said in the speech while focusing on the text that was needed. Unfortunately that could not be done so it was best to try and work with what I had got.

I have learned the use of Monk and how it can be helpful if you compare on a larger scale. If you look at three different works and comprise them all together you can save them as a workset. From there you can compare the concordance between all three of them and see which words are common among them.  I have been able to look at Hamlet 3.4 with comparison to other texts as well as other groups of plays and works written by authors.

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Monk- My Frustration and Lack of Findings…

My findings with Monk have been one of a love hate relationship. At the beginning with the in class workshop I thought that my tool and I would have a pleasant bond but, I was wrong. I have found that with Monk it sets you up with the basic steps and how to analyze things on a very broad spectrum through the comparison of texts. However if you wish to dig deeper an analyze through smaller parts of plays then you are limited.

The workset itself is very easy and welcoming, it makes it easy to find works, pick them apart and make them your own by modifying them in whatever way you wish. In our group each one of us a workset that is everything in Hamlet but 3.4. This makes it interesting to see what is there and what isn’t when you take away a section of the text. I like how you can go back and easily tweak and re-work worksets and they are easily available for ready use.

 

However you can only use the worksets that you have created to combine with one another for compare worksets and combine worksets.  Classification only allows you to use one workset at a time which I find very frustrating because I have to write down my findings then switch over to the other workset, do the same thing then manually compare the two together. I also found with my group that if you wish to compare worksets on a smaller level it doesn’t make much sense. We found that when we were looking at the whole play compared with 3.4 the analysis from the compare worksets from looking at both did not seem to make sense and the data would be relatively the same.

 

I found that the concordance was helpful with picking out certain words in an body of works or a scene however it does not tell you who the speaker is or where it was found. This is also frustrating because if I would like to have a further grasp of the scene and what it means I have to go through the play and find out where the word is mentioned to see who said it and in what context it was said. This makes the concordance useless if I have to go through and look for the specific word I can easily find it on my own. From this I can see that it’s only practical job is to count words.

You would think that Monk would be willing to help you along the way with all the question buttons available to look, however those are utterly useless itself.

I found myself and my group looking on Wikipedia and Google in search of the answers you think the program would offer you, but even that came up short.

I was thrilled to know that Monk had a bunch of fancy work set tools that you can play and make your own into whatever you wish. Unfortunately I have found that they do not work at all, I have tried countless times logging on and off, restarting my computer and switching the file of comparison but nothing seems to make these files work.  It is sad because it would be so neat to see the findings that you get on a different view point or aspect.  It does seem to be another thing Monk fails to do.

I would like to try to see if I am able to upload  entire works said by certain characters or pivotal conversations to compare to Hamlet or Shakespeare’s Tragedies.  I think that this would be very helpful in looking deeper into the text. However this seems like a lot of work to conform to the regulations made by Monk when other tools do this for you.

Overall Monk is handy if you would like to know the word count of a certain body of text or the comparison of two things on a much larger scale. From my point of view it is not made to dissect texts on a small scale but rather a very large one when looking at massive bodies of work. Anything that can bring you details seems to not match up or make sense when you try to pick it apart, and that makes me unsure of any information that I may be receiving from it.  To me Monk is like the tool that sets you up for the much larger tools, it seems to show you the basics and stop there. It then becomes up to you to work with other tools to conform to Monk. That seems a bit unfair since I think the tool should have this option already. I think Monk has failed to meet its standards that it presents and it is all flash and no substance to it, it has left me confused, frustrated and with more questions than answers.