The Digital Humanities: What It Has to Offer

First Impressions of the Digital Humanities

When I first learned that in English 203, we would be using the digital humanities to analyze Hamlet, my initial thought was fear. I have never been a technologically savvy person, and when I learned from the course syllabus that we would be spending the entire course focussing on the newfound digital side of the humanities, I cannot deny that I was fairly anxious about the course. The closest that I have ever come to using technology for English was when I used the online dictionary or thesaurus for some of my essays. My first thoughts about having to use computers for this course, was that we would have to be able to program software, or design tools that would help with picking out themes. Now that I look back at my initial responses, they seem ridiculous and far-fetched to me. The idea of actually having to program and design tools no doubt came from paranoia I had about computers, because I am so technologically inept. I was very comfortable analyzing literature the old fashioned way, with a text in one hand, and a pen in the other, so when change was mentioned, I got a little carried away with my ideas of what that change would bring. Fortunately, what we actually had to do was nothing like my far-fetched first impressions. The only thing that made my journey through English 203 a little more difficult than it should have been was that I was one of those lucky people that got chosen to use TAPoR as their tool. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, TAPoR is very temperamental. It seems to work only when it feels like it, and only if you set it up in a specific way. The only way it worked, for me at least, was if you only used the tools that ended in (html). Otherwise, the only response you received was one of TAPoR’s multiple error messages.
As well as having specific conditions, I felt as though this program changed its mind quite a bit. What I mean by that is that if I tried to do something and it didn’t work, if I tried it a little bit later, it would work. An example of this would be when I first tried to use documents from My Texts instead of putting in the URL, it wouldn’t work. However, when I tried using the texts that I had saved in the program later on in phase one, TAPoR decided to co-operate, and I was able to actually obtain a result. Due to these specifications and issues TAPoR had, it is not surprising that in the beginning of phase one, I started to believe that you had to work for the tool, rather than with it. Instead of using the tool to help me, like I should have been doing, I was using the tool just because it was a necessary component for this course. After I had used TAPoR for the first few times, I felt as though in order to find any relevant results at all, I had to know what it was that I was looking for. Instead of using the tools to help me find themes and ideas within Hamlet, I more or less used the program to find evidence of those themes and ideas. During this part of the course, I honestly thought that the program was much more trouble than it was worth. Before I was introduced to TAPoR, I was perfectly able to delve into the depths of Hamlet the old fashioned way, using nothing more than a highlighter, pen, and my brain.

Growing with the Digital Humanities

After a while of having this pessimistic view of the Digital Humanities, I began to gain some respect for what TAPoR, and the rest of the digital tools we were using, could do. Going into the second phase of our team projects, I was able to see what the benefits of using online tools were. Though using TAPoR was definitely not my first choice of tools that I could have used, it appeared to be helpful in the end. Unsure of what to talk about in the final group project, I used one of the simpler tools that TAPoR provides to give me some ideas. The only thing that this tool was able to do was list the most used words in a specific text.

Though this task is not something a person would consider difficult, it did yield some very interesting results. After finding this piece of data, I was almost able to completely forgive TAPoR for its inability to co-operate and its incredibly large error message collection. In a former blog post, and in my final group project, I mentioned how finding this specific word at the top of the list inspired me to look deeper into the play. I have mentioned it again here because this was a pivotal moment for the Digital Humanities and I. This was the part of the course for me when I realized just how helpful the digital humanities can be. This program was able to show me something new, something I would have other wised missed if I had not used TAPoR. Even though, due to the opinions of my classmates and me, TAPoR was not the best tool, it was still able to provide me with information that I found interesting. It was this point in my research that I was able to fully understand the gift that is using online tools to do research. Later on into phase two, I also realized how helpful the other tools were. After TAPoR showed me to look into the use of the word “Lord” by Ophelia, Voyeur was able to show me how her use of the word declined as the story went on.
With these two results that the tools gave me, I was able to piece together the declination of Ophelia’s respectful attitude. This is something I honestly would have never noticed if I had not been able to use the tools that we were offered in this class, and it is information that I think is pretty important to the character of Ophelia. The use of these tools was definitely helpful, and I was able to see through this phase, how awesome the Digital Humanities can be.

Digital Humanities: Important, but not quite “Game-Changing”

After finishing phase two of this course, I started to believe in the power of the Digital Humanities. Being much faster and much more efficient than the old school way of highlighting and going through the text to count how many times a word is used, the use of online tools helps us to reach or end goal of comprehension in a much shorter time period. That is why, on the last day of class, I chose to side with the people fighting for the digital, rather than those fighting for the classic way.

In this last debate, it was interesting to see what other peoples honest thoughts were about the digital humanities. There were many conspiracy theories about how in the future, about how there will be no books, only people reading with their kindle or ipad, and about how children are going to grow up without ever having seen a book. Missing out on the ability to truly look into the novel or play they must read for class, these children will grow up never knowing what the true meaning of analyzing literature is. Although these aren’t the exact words the team against the Digital Humanities used, it is a feeling of fear that seems to be shared by quite a few people. In the blog Game Change: Digital Technology and Performative Humanities by Tom Scheinfeldt, he talks about how many people refer to the introduction of the digital humanities as a complete “Game Change”. Tom Sheinfeldt defines the phrase “game change” as something that redefines the original action, and an entirely different action (or game) is produce. He does this in the terms of baseball, the game in which this term was first used. After Babe Ruth changed the game with his ability to score homeruns in the likes that no one had ever seen before, baseball players needed different skills from the previous ones in order to successfully play this new game.
He then goes on to talk about how with this definition, there is nothing game changing about the new usage of digital humanities. Although it is new, and is in a format never seen before, online tools are used for the same purpose and to the same end that previous ways of text analyses have been used. With this new and advanced system of text analysis, the objectives stay the same. We look for important words or phrases, or different things that have been used in conjunction with each other often. These searches that we do, the items that we look for in a text, stay the same. The only difference in the way we used to analyze something, compared to how we analyze it now, is that we are making the research work for the time period we live in. With today’s technology, we are able to do everything that we have always done, but in an easier and more efficient way that is better for everyone. Being able to use today’s technology does not change what we have always been doing, but rather adapts our process to today’s society. If, in the future, kids grow up learning how to analyze texts through these online programs instead of learning on paper the way we have, not much will have changed. The will still be looking for things people have always searched for, but they will be doing it in a way that is more familiar to them and to their generation.

Concluding thoughts about the digital humanities

As I have mentioned above, I definitely went into English 203 with some doubts and some fears as to what we would be doing. I had grown accustomed to reading and searching within a text the classic way, and I am not the kind of person to accept change into their life with open arms. This is most likely why so many people believe that the digital humanities is, for lack of better words, such a big deal. The idea of change is terrifying to people who are used to doing something a specific way. This initial dislike of change mixed with the terrifying reality of our world becoming more and more dependent on technology would have a lot of people speculating about the involvement of computers in literary research. They also might be skeptical of the idea of being replaced by a computer, as I was at the beginning. The thought that a computer was able to do what I was able to, but in a faster and more direct was, was also a little insulting. However, as I grew accustomed to my online tool, and what it had to offer, I started to accept the idea that the digital humanities aren’t as scary as they seem. Though TAPoR was able to help me with a few different things, like showing me what to look for, and giving me statistics, it was in no way the overwhelming technological experience that I had feared. While the computer was able to do all of the quantitative research, I was the one who was doing all of the qualitative work. While it is extremely useful and handy to have a computer to do the grunt work for you, without the insight and thoughts of the person doing the research, all you would have would be a bunch of numbers. So, even though I agree that the digital humanities make research much more straightforward, I do not believe that it is the most important part of literary research. In other terms, even with the addition of this new resource, the game of text analysis has not changed all that much.

Google Doc. God Send

Margaret Meade Said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Obviously she was referring to Digital Humanities! The Second Phase of this project has brought together five “experts” with a common goal: Act one Hamlet…and world domination.

 

 

 

 

 

But seriously, through my research of Act 1 Hamlet, I have come across some interesting results.  As mentioned in a previous post of mine, we (my group) decided to focus on
character development and foreshadow in Act 1.  From there we divided up the characters we viewed to be the most significant.  Through my own research of Horatio’s role in Hamlet (exclusively using Wordseer), I came up with some interesting results.  However my findings were only compounded and made even more insightful by incorporating other Digital Humanities tools in the search process. Using Wordseer, I had previously discovered that one of the words commonly used/associated with Horatio is “overlooked”. This is fascinating to me because of how quite literally, Horatio is absent throughout the middle of the play (with the exception of a few line)

Taking the discovery further, I discussed my findings and plans for future investigation with my phase two teammates (Ruby, Kate, Dayna and Amy).  We call this part of phase two “filling in the holes” When we had reached the limit of our own tools capabilities, but still had questions, we referred to each others tools in search of answers.

To accommodate this element of our research, we (or Dayna) decided to create a Google Doc. where each of us would list our tools, and their available functions.  THIS WAS AWESOME! When I hit a road block with Wordseer all I had to do was pull up the Google Doc. and scan through the other tools capabilities. From there I contacted the “expert” according to what specific search I needed.

This is where the Screen shot should
be…but I had some technical difficulties logging on…

Despite our regular and productive lab/group meetings, having the Google Doc. available 24 hours a day made any independent research easy!Up until this point in our Act 1 Hamlet project, most of the research had been onour own. Individual searches on individual characters. Easy. Moving forward to the collaborative stage of phase 2, I found the searches not only easier but much more effective! Let the filling in begin!

Intrigued by my results of Horatio and the word “overlooked” I decided I had to pursue this idea further. After checking the Google Doc. I knew Monk was something I would NEVER need…sorry Kate! I did, however, notice that the tool Voyeur had some interesting searches to offer me.  After picking Ruby’s brain and forcing her (to the point of slave labor) to conduct searches for me I/we came away with some interesting visuals which reinforce my theory of Horatio’s “overlook-ed-ness” (neologism?) Anyway…check it out!

 

After taking a look at the shot to the left, you might understand where I am coming from. You can see that Horatio’s largest part in Act 1, then declines rapidly only to return slightly at the end. Does this look like the chart of the “last man standing”? Maybe not. Does this look like the chart of a perhaps “overlooked” character? Maybe.  With this visual, I am trying to prove that as one of, arguably, the most important character in the entire play, his actual presence is minimal.

After gathering this new information, I decided to try to look even further into this idea – look for something even more concrete. Enter TaPor….JUST KIDDING! (I could not find any use for TaPor…relevant to my search…or otherwise. Sorry Amy!) Enter WordHoard! After once again referring to the Google Doc. I knew Dayna was the one to contact next! She explained to me exactly what Wordhoard could do for me and this is the result….

This is also were the screen shot should be…but due to some techincal difficulties it is not…I will be sure to have it by Friday for the presentation!

Everyone knows that charts/graphs can sometimes be misleading in the way information is presented. Between scale(s) and the data itself, it can be difficult to determine the meaning. This is where WordHoard really came through for me! In the above shot, you can see exactly how many words Horatio uses in exactly which scenes/acts!  This is significant to my research because it is concrete and cannot be skewed by scale.

Using Wordseer, WordHoard, and Voyeur, my theory of Horatio’s absence throughout the play is verified how intentional was this choice on Shakespeare’s part? Was he trying to trick his readers/viewers? Think of the first time you read Hamlet. Were you tricked?

On Friday, March, 30, 2012, we, as the Phase 2 Act 1 group will present out individual and collective findings. As mentioned by Dayna in a previous group meeting, the difference between phase one and two is the collaborative effort. In phase one, the class attempted to analyze 3.4 Hamlet, however, could only take their research as far as their tools permitted.  In phase two, we have an expert from each tool to lean on, to cooperate with and to explore Hamlet with. With five extensive Digital Humanities tools at our fingertips, all the searches and all the answers are available to any willing person…or team!

TAPoR in Act One: The Final Struggle

It has been quite the process, and it seems surreal that we are almost done with the digital humanities for this term, but it is time to conclude with our Phase 2 blogs. My group met in the TFDL this morning, and after our talking about/ obsessing over the Hunger Games, like we do every meeting, we eventually got back on topic and started to discuss our next move. We decided that, keeping the characters we had previously looked at in Act One, we would t use each other for help and use the different tools that we are each experts in to look further into Hamlet. Rearing to go for this new blog, I began by just going back to TAPoR, so that I could look at the results that I had found last week. Unfortunately, as seems to be the curse of TAPoR, it failed to work. The site refused to load, and I was unable to view what I had done last week, and I was unable to do anything new with it as well. I even tried to use a different browser, Mozilla Firefox instead of Google Chrome, but it did not change the disappointing result. Later, I learned that it was not just my computer, but the TAPoR site had refused to work for at least one group member from phase one as well. Although I am thankful that there is nothing wrong with my computer, I cannot help but feel anger towards this tool. Brushing off this slight nuisance to my plan of action, I decided to start taking a look at the other tools, and how they could help me look further into the characters of Laertes and Ophelia in Act one. However, I encountered another problem with technology while trying to view the Google doc that is our main form of communication. I tried several times and several different ways to log onto this tool, but no matter what I did, I received the same message: telling me that I cannot access the document because it would be in violation with the Terms and Services of it. After talking to a team mate from Phase Two this time, I learned that it was not just TAPoR that was giving other people problems, but the Google doc as well. The Google doc that my team has been using as a form of communication for this phase has been giving at least two other people in my group issues. As the feeling of frustration and discouragement settled in, I wondered to myself if any of these problems facing the technological aspect of the project will ever be resolved. I can sense a kind of déjà vu with these issues, where, once again, I am busy trying to figure out the system errors of my computer rather than focusing on important aspects that I am supposed to be finding within the play. It seems that rather than trying to collaborate with the other tools, and learn what I can do with them from the Google doc, I have spent much less time learning about Laertes and Ophelia, and more time trying to fix something that I cannot fix.

To have or not to have cheesy blog titles ; that is the question

Part 3: Filling in the Gaps

Continuing on from my last blog post, Words, words, words: Finding a Clear Focus, I’m still keeping my focus on Hamlet, the theme of madness, and foreshadowing within the play.  So far, I haven’t delved that far into using the other tools to help me further analyze Act 1.  Voyeur has been very handy in helping me discover most of my inquiries.  However, because Voyeur doesn’t separate speakers, I’ve been attempting to use Wordhoard to do this.  I don’t know if it’s Java or if it’s me but I seem to be having difficulties playing around with Wordhoard.  I have been using Wordhoard to find lemmas though which has been really useful.  Because I am focusing on Hamlet’s potential madness and foreshadowing within the play I decided to search “madness” and found the following results on Wordhoard:


So I know I am not using Wordhoard to it’s full advantage but it did help me find some useful quotes (which is sad considering the number of times I have read Hamlet ) that I had completely overlooked otherwise.  I searched “madness” and found the following quote: (Horatio) “which might deprive your sovereignty of reason and draw you into madness?” (1.4).  This quote demonstrates foreshadowing seen later in the play of how Hamlet uses insanity to deceive others around him and how Hamlet’s drive to seek revenge begins to make him act more insane, confirming Gertrude’s belief that he is mad in 3.4.  Even though this is a question for Hamlet, this is actually a question for the audience; his insanity becomes questionable within the play as it progresses making the audience wonder whether he is acting or not.  This quote is strong evidence (specifically if your focusing on act 1) on how the idea of madness develops throughout Hamlet and why it is such an important theme within the play.  According to Wordhoard, “mad” is used 22 times (only as an adjective and never as a noun) and “madness” is also used 22 times.  “Madness” appears the most within Hamlet compared to any of the other plays.

Even though I used Wordhoard to find this, I’m not going to lie, I could have just as easily used Voyeur to find this also.  For me, this is the hardest part of Phase 2, because I feel like Voyeur is such an easy and brilliant tool to use that I don’t know  how to fill in the missing holes with other tools.  So far, I don’t really feel like I have any specific gaps that need filling.  I was worried because I thought my old stubborn and lazy ways were kicking in similar to how I felt when first learning that we would be using Digital Humanities tools to analyze text but I really think Voyeur is one of the best!  Seeing the Phase 1 group presentations I realized some of the difficulties that the other tools brought which I haven’t had with Voyeur.  However, I have been using the collaborative method of Phase 2 by helping my group members with Voyeur.  Haha, do I sound like a Voyeur snob?  Feel free to call me out on it.

time to wrap this thing up!

It’s hard to believe we are already at our last blog post for Phase 2! The fact that we’ve all had access to 5 different tools for the digital analysis of Hamlet makes me feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface.  There are so many intricacies to these tools we are using (more than any of us can really understand with the limited amount of time we’ve been able to work with them) and it’s difficult to try and reach real in-depth results when we are simply familiar with the tools, not full-out experts.

It has been extremely helpful, however, to have 4 other teammates who can quickly answer the random questions that I throw up in the air just hoping someone will have a solution to.  Because each of us has extra practice with our own tool, we have found that we can help fill in each other’s tools where they seem to be lacking.  For example, Kate will ask, “can anyone search all the lemmas of this word?” and I can eagerly tell her that yes, indeed, WordHoard IS useful for something and that YES, it can search up lemmas!

It has been pretty cool to see where some of our tools align, and where some of them overlap.  We used a GoogleDoc to write down all of the things our individual tools are able to do, so that when we come across a specific need in our research we can check out the GoogleDoc and find out if any of the other tools can help us with our problem.  We have found this to be a pretty helpful way of going about things because without these lists of functions, I would have no idea what to even ask or who to ask about anything, and then we’d be getting nowhere.

So the subject I have been using the tools to study over the past week was how the aspects of the Ghost’s character may have changed from Act 1 to the rest of the play.  Because the Ghost only speaks in 2 scenes total (I figured that out nice and quick thanks to WordHoard) I realized I would need to branch out into the other tools to get some kind of information from these few appearances.  Turns out that Richelle’s tool, WordSeer, and Ruby’s tool, Voyeur, seemed to be of most use to me in addition to my own tool, WordHoard.

To start off, I used WordHoard to see how many times Hamlet talked about/talked to the Ghost.  I got six matches total.

From there, I decided to get help using WordSeer to get some visuals going for myself.  Richelle helped me create a Heat Map for the word “ghost” to see how many times the word even came up in Hamlet.  I got the following result:

As you can see, not only does the Ghost not appear in the last third of the play, but it is not even mentioned.  I got a sense of this from my WordHoard findings, but this visual helped me grasp the effect it had on the rest of the play.  I think the Ghost’s heavy involvement in the first Act really shows what kind of role it played in the story.  The Ghost comes in initially to give Hamlet a mission, lots of conversation is had about the Ghost between Hamlet and his friends, and the Ghost pops back in to check up on Hamlet, reminding him what it was he was supposed to be doing.  After that, the Ghost basically disappears.  Hamlet becomes consumed with what he needs to do, not for the Ghost, but for himself.  The Ghost almost seems to be irrelevant to his thoughts or topic of conversation after that.

Voyeur also gave me a similar result as the Heat Map, further enforcing my inference.  The Word trends function shows that all conversation had about the Ghost completely subside near the end of the play.

As far as the content of conversation surrounding the Ghost is concerned, WordSeer gave me lists of words of nouns, adjectives, and verbs that often occurred nearby the word “ghost”.

As you can see, words such as “life” and “death” occur most often out of any.  “Dead” and “blood” also seem to appear often.  By using this function that WordSeer possesses, it allows readers to find trends through the subjects that would be near impossible to discover without the tool!

Examples such as this have really helped me see what a fresh and important spin digital humanities has on the world of literature.  Tools such as WordHoard, WordSeer, Voyeur, TapOr, and Monk really do open so many doors in terms of research possibilities., things that close reading couldn’t ever really do. I realize this is a fairly new and ever-evolving concept, but I’m excited to see what else can be discovered in years to come in the digital humanities world.

Collaboration Time! — Monk, You’re Not Invited

We decided in our meeting today that we would try to combine our tools in order to discover more about our characters and how they develop throughout Hamlet.  After we re-familiarized ourselves with each others tools, we began our collaboration.  Monk unfortunately didn’t seem to be of much help (sorry guys…), so I spent my time trying to figure out how everyone else’s tools can help me.

I began with Richelle’s tool Wordseer, and was intrigued by her visualization tool, the Heat Map.  Since I’m studying Claudius and Gertrude’s development, I thought a good place to start would be to search up when the words Queen, Gertrude, King and Claudius are used.

As I understand this only shows me when these words are said, it does not include the speakers.  Nonetheless I found it to be interesting.

An issue that I have with Monk (well, one of the issues) is that when I look up a lemma or a concordance, it doesn’t tell me the speaker, or where the word is used within the play.  It only gives me this:

I wanted to find out who in the play uses the word brother,  I was hoping it would be Claudius speaking about his brother, but Monk won’t show me that.

So I asked my group members if any of their tools could do that, and Dayna said that WordHoard can. Excellent! Another tool that I can use.  So I decided to look up the same word (brother) as I had in Monk, so I could get more accurate results.

I filled in the criteria in WordHoard:

And got my results!

I guessed correctly! The only time the word brother is used in Act 1 Scene 2 is when Claudius is making his first speech.  I’m definitely planning on using this function when I look deeper into my characters development.

In sticking to my ‘brother’ theme, I moved on over to Voyeur, to see what it could do for me.  I remembered from the Voyeur presentation that this tool could compare word frequencies, and I knew I wanted to use this feature.  I asked Ruby, the voyeur expert, how I could do this.  After she gave me a rundown of the tool I was able to work on my own and search words that I felt were relevant to my characters.  I decided to look up brother and guilt, in relation to Claudius’ guilt about killing his brother:

I am pleased with these results, but I would like to be able to find the moments in the text where these two words overlap.  Which actually I think I might be able to do, but I’m going to have to ask Ruby to help me out on that.

Finally, I decided to give Monk another try, and see what it would give me.  The two scenes that I wanted to focus in terms of Claudius’ development were Act 1 Scene 2, and Act 3 Scene 3.  The first being his opening speech, when he talks about his brother’s death, the latter being when he confesses to murdering his brother.  I created a workset of both these acts, and rated them as love or tragedy.  The reason being was that I wanted to see if Monk classified my two scenes as tragedies, in comparison to the other acts.

Based on the words used in these scenes, Monk is more confident that Act 3 Scene 3 is a tragedy then Act 1 Scene 2, but Act 1 Scene 2 is still considered to be more of a tragedy than other scenes in these acts.  Well done Monk, you’ve actually given me results that can help me.

I feel that now that I have a better understanding of everyone else’s tools (well except for Tapor…although I feel it might be as unhelpful as Monk, no offense Tapor experts) I will be able to become even more focused on my individual characters.  I hope to be able to learn more about Claudius and Gertrude, crossing my fingers that these tools will let me do that.

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!

Welcome to our POA/ An Initial Discovery!

My Phase 2 group and I have devised a POA (pronounced poh-ah), this is our Plan of Attack! If you read my most recent post, you know that I had a few concerns about what exactly to analyze in Act One of Hamlet.  After a couple productive group meetings I am feeling good. Ladies and Gentlemen – our POA has been determined.  Ready? Character Development! We decided to tackle this aspect of the play because as Act One analysts, we get to delve into who the characters are presented as in the beginning. Taking this piece of knowledge, we can then compare it to the characters throughout/at the end of the play.  We want to know if the personalities portrayed in the first act of hamlet are a truthful reflection of the characters throughout the play. If not, does something significant happen to change them? What was Shakespeare trying to prove by withholding particular traits of particular characters while exposing others completely? This is exactly what we hope to discover. This is step one of our POA.

To subdivide the extensive research involved in character development, we decided to pick the five characters, or in some cases pairs of characters, we felt serve the most significant roles in the play.  After individually selecting characters to examine in our own expert tools, we are now ready to roll up our sleeves and uncover the dirt (look out Waldo, I am on to you!)

I will be analyzing Horatio, Kate will be analyzing the King and Queen, Ruby has Hamlet (Glare), Amy is looking after Ophellia and Laertes and finally Dayna has The Ghost! With our assigned characters, we are each planning to discover as much as possible under the umbrella of character development in specific regards to Act One.

Although I am still in the preliminary stages of my Horatio-development-act one research, I have already uncovered something pretty cool! So if you just go into your basic search on Wordseer, and type in “horatio” all by itself, when the search results are found, a box will appear at the top of the page with the most commonly used words while referring to your searched word (in my case “Horatio”)

 

Neat - O

 

This is really cool because I view Horatio as the level-headed and perhaps the only sane characters in the entire play. This makes it interesting to see the results. If you look at the screen shot, you will see the results reflect my interpretations of Horatio pretty well.  With words such as “good”, “Heaven”, “see” and “Lord” listed it is hard to not think about the end of the play. How does it all turn out? Well, in a nut shell, he is alive and pretty much everyone else…is not.  Is this coincidence? Or is this something a little amazing that has been delivered through digital humanities. Maybe it’s a little of both.

Another interesting point I found was in the word “overlooked” provided by the list in the above screen shot.  I think this is a little crazy and pretty darn cool…Horatio and overlooked. Are you seeing the connection?! The fact that Horatio is really only in the first and final Acts of the play AND is what we can call “the last guy standing” is a fair observation. Keeping this in mind, the fact that “overlooked” is so common while searching his name is knock-your-socks-off incredible/interesting/awesome! This is shocking because in the play Horatio really is overlooked. WOW.

This is only a peek into the information I know wordseer is holding and I can’t wait to run Horatio/act one through the rest of the functions available with this tool. This is a pretty incredible/exciting way of analyzing. Still not convinced? Think of the first time you read Hamlet, did you know Horatio would be “the last guy standing”? Probably not…but Wordseer did.

POA Part 2: the development of the…character…..development…..

After meeting with my group today, I’ve gotten a better sense of how I can personally contribute to the group.  As I mentioned in my last blog post we decided to focus on character development.  Today we came up with the idea for each of us to focus on an individual character(s) with our tool.  Once we’ve come up with some results we hope to collaborate with each others tools in order to get a more well rounded sense of how our characters developed in Hamlet.  I got lucky and am focusing on the characters that I was originally interested in: Claudius and Gertrude.

I knew right off the bat that this wasn’t going to be the easiest task.  If I had trouble trying to get some results by looking a small workset like Act 3 Scene 4, then how the heck am I going to get results by looking at individual characters?  Especially since Monk doesn’t show me the speaker or line numbers when I search up lemmas.  It seems that my best bet at this point is to try and be more creative in my searches, in hopes that Monk will give me something.

First off, I tried to look up Claudius’ moments of speech.  In the classification tool I’m able to look at the text of an individual scene (thanks Kelsey!), which can help me isolate concordances that I might find interesting or relevant.  I thought I’d try to outsmart Monk, and searched up the concordance ‘King’ hoping that it would isolate his moments of speech:

Well, that doesn’t work.  Monk does not recognize the speaker King as a concordance, but only when it is used by another character.

Alright, next.

During our meeting today I decided that in order to figure out how a character has developed, I’m going to need to focus on significant moments in the play that have a direct effect on my characters.  For Claudius, I decided that I wanted to compare his opening speech in Act 1, Scene 2.  And his speech in Act 3, Scene 3 where he admits to murdering his brother.  For Gertrude, I wanted to do a more general comparison of the words that she uses when she speaks to Hamlet in Act 1(specifically Act 1, Scene 2) compared to the words that she uses when she speaks to him again in Act 3, Scene 4.  To do this I created a workset for each scene and used my compare worksets toolset:

Huh, so I created my worksets and tried to use my compare worksets toolset, and this is what I got:

In the main menu I had selected the compare worksets toolset and my workset that was Act 1, Scene 2.  Instead of this workset appearing in the First workset selection box, I got this error message.

Monk teammates, help? Have you guys gotten this error message before?

My interpretation is that the workset is so small that Monk is unable to recognize it as usable data.  I really hope this isn’t the case because I felt that this would’ve been a really good way of trying to figure out how Claudius and Gertrude develop as characters.

Well, I’m hoping that my next blog post will contain more results and success, as opposed to brick walls and frustration.  For now I shall go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how else I can use tool to my advantage.

Who will win?! Will it be Monk: the visually appealing text-analysis tool with too many limitations and pointless help buttons? Or will it be Kate: the angered but determined student who REFUSES TO BACK DOWN.  Find out in her next blog post!

 

 

Using TAPoR with Laertes and Ophelia

After discussing our Plan of Action further this morning, my team of Act one decided that we would each look at individual characters, and use our tools to separately analyze our people, and then collaborate our findings on Friday. As you can see from this link to our google doc, I was chosen to take a look at Ophelia and Laertes. The first thing I decided that I needed to do, was to isolate the lines of both Ophelia and Laertes, because if there is one thing that I know about TAPoR, it is that it does not like to tell you what character is saying the words that it finds. After I found a website with act one of Hamlet, I copied it onto a word document and began to tinker with it. I started with changing all of the speakers to abbreviations of their names, so that I would be able to tell when a person is speaking, and when somebody is saying their name. I saved it to my texts in my TAPoR account, and then decided to separate Ophelia and Laertes’ lines. Though Laertes has a few lines in Scene one, I only used the lines he speaks in Scene three, because my study is based more upon Laertes and Ophelia’s relationship rather than the one Laertes has with the Royal Court. The first thing I noticed immediately after separating their lines, is that it looked like Laertes was saying a lot more words and had longer lines than Ophelia did. So, using the find words tool, I investigated this hunch and sure enough, I was right. This tool showed me that even though Ophelia is in the scene for nearly twice as long and has more speeches than Laertes, he says nearly three times as many words. With the List Words tool, I also noticed that the most frequent word that Ophelia uses is the word “Lord”. She uses this title six times, once referring to Hamlet, and the other five times she uses the phrase, she is talking to her father and is referring to him as “my lord”. The over-use of this one word in a mere one hundred fifty two words shows us how obedient and how much respect Ophelia has for the men around her. Even with almost three times as many words, Laertes does not utter the word “Lord” nearly as often as Ophelia does. The only time Laertes does say the word “lord” is when, like Ophelia, he is talking to his father and calling him “my Lord”. It is interesting when you compare how these siblings refer to their parent, in such a formal, respectful way, to the way Hamlet so informally refers to his mother as simply his mother. You can see just how much they respect their father’s authority, whereas Hamlet has seemed to lose all the respect he had for his mother. This is honestly something that I never really noticed or thought of, and (I did not think that I would ever say this, but) I am really happy that TAPoR was able to enlighten me.

Words, words, words: Finding a Clear Focus

PART 2: Continuing on with the Plan of Action at hand and specific character findings

Continuing on from my previous post (check it out here!),  we decided as a group to focus on character development and foreshadowing.  I began to experiment with Hamlet and Horatio’s characters.  I broadened my experiment by comparing the specific words Hamlet would say and compare that to the context of what other characters were saying.  I was beginning to get frustrated because this was not giving me any specific results.  Today, during our group meeting, we decided to each pick a character and to focus on that character with our tool specifically ; discussing the pros and cons of the tools as well and how we could collaborate on Friday to fill in the gaps.  I decided to focus on Hamlet, Richelle will focus on Horatio, Dayna  – the ghost, Kate – Claudius and Gertrude, and Amy will focus on Laertes and Ophelia.  Similar to what I did with Act 1, I created another document of only Hamlet’s speeches, cutting out all of the other characters so that it looks something like this :

This way I was able to focus on what Hamlet was saying specifically.  Once I uploaded this onto Voyeur, I focused on the Word Cloud tool which gave me these results:

I noticed that sensory terms such as “eye”, “seen”, and “hear” are important terms as well as “reason”.  This is significant to the play because Hamlet is confirming what his senses feel in comparison to what he is seeing which relates to  deception – a larger theme within the play.  This ties in with the argument of whether Hamlet has actually gone mad or not in 3.4 when he can see the ghost yet Gertrude cannot.  Much of the first act gives us an insight into Hamlet’s reasoning and intellect.  In 1.2, Hamlet also foreshadows his father’s murder by Claudius when he says, “Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.”  I found this quote when I searched the context that ‘eyes’ was being used in.  This line signifies a basis for the play because it also reflects Polonius’s actions when he creates lies to spy on Laertes and attempts to hide behind the curtains in 3.4.  I’m beginning to feel confident in this moment of Phase 2 because now my focus has become more clear and I am able to use Voyeur to my advantage.  In terms of the disadvantages I was going to say that the user cannot add words to the “Stop List”.  The ‘Stop List’ is a default list that takes away punctuation, conjunctions, numbers, etc., from the text that you upload so that you can have clearer results.  And like I was saying, I cannot add a word or remove a word from the ‘Stop List’.  But I was really shocked to find out that none of the other tools had anything similar to this so now I don’t see this as a disadvantage anymore.  I gotta say Voyeur has been pretty good to me – I just can’t look up lemmas.

New Beginnings and the Formation of POA

If you’ve been keeping up with Phase II Act I’s recent blog posts you will notice we have come across a new phenomenon called POA.  Thanks to my fellow group  member Richelle (check out her awesome blog post here!) we successfully came up with a focus for our group.  We will continue to discuss POA further on as we proceed with Phase II.  Now you might be asking yourself, what does POA mean?  POA is our plan of action.  POA is what will lead us to success within our second phase.

PLAN OF ACTION PART 1: The Obstacles

I used the xml file of Act 1 (click here to view!) and inserted it into Voyeur, my most valued tool.  Encoding words such as “xml”, “aker”, and “sp” were most used.  I went back into the xml file and, similar to what Katy did in the previous phase, removed all of the encoding so I could get clearer results.

However, I did not separate the speaker from when they are being the character is being spoken about. I discovered that Hamlet and Horatio speak the most throughout Act 1.  That seems obvious for Hamlet because he is the main character and also because he possesses the personality of an intellectual, constantly talking through each situation and calculating the outcomes, and also for Horatio because their [Hamlet and Horatio] relationship is established at the beginning. As a group we decided that the first act is where the characters are introduced and any foreshadowing for the play is revealed.  This seems easy, almost too easy.  And so we thought: what can we do with this exactly?  We decided the best thing to do would be to focus on character development in comparison to the rest of play.  Now that we have our plan of action in motion we can individually focus on our own tool and find our results from that.  In the next meeting we can then combine our findings and fill in the pieces with other tools that will narrow our findings.  For instance, Voyeur doesn’t allow me to separate the speaker from when they are actually speaking to when they are spoken about.  However, I can go to Dayna (the Wordhoard expert in my group) to do this.

What I decided to do with Voyeur was focus on one character, such as Hamlet for example, and focus on the specific words that they use and then compare the concept that the words are used in.  I think this will be a good way to show the character development when compared with the rest of the play.  So far, I focused on Hamlet and some themes that he is associated with such as “heaven” and “father”.  He uses the word ‘heaven’ often in vain compared the other characters such as Claudius and speaks of his father  the most within the first act.  Right now I’m trying to figure if I can compare more than three words at the same time from the Word Corpus tool.  The word corpus tool gives you all the words starting from most frequent to least.  I’ve noticed that if I flip to the next “page” of words that it gives me it erases the previous words I had highlighted on the frequency chart.  This is a little annoying but hopefully I can work it out with my group.

Let Us Commence!

I am planning on going into Phase 2 with a more optimistic mind set, instead of the angry frustrated version of myself.  Monk and I didn’t get off to the best start (and I do admit I’m still not the biggest fan of it), but it isn’t fair to me or my teammates if I just close off and don’t try to take advantage of what Monk does offer.  One of my teammates asked me today “what exactly does your tool do?”, “Nothing” was my immediate response.  Well we all know from my group’s presentation that that isn’t true!  It does do SOME things, and I shouldn’t disregard them.

For this phase, my teammates and I decided to focus on character development.  Since we were assigned Act 1, we thought this theme would work the best.  That being said we are unable to see how a character develops if we don’t look ahead to later acts in Hamlet, so it seems we’re going to have to dip in to other acts in order to help us get a better idea of how the characters that are introduced in our act will develop.

Hang on a second, this sounds familiar…..

If I wanted to analyze Act 1, and use other acts (or the rest of the play as a whole) as a reference….why yes! This sounds like my Compare Worksets Toolset!

These results actually look exactly like the ones I got when I compared Scene 3.4 to all of Hamlet, so it seems some tweaking may be in order.  In any case this is a decent jumping off point to begin Phase 2.  I plan on working hard to become even more of an expert of my tool, in order to make a good contribution to my group project.

And on that note, here is a list of questions that I would like to answer by the time Phase 2 is complete:

  • Figure out EXACTLY how the Decision Tree works (this will take multiple readings of April’s blog and many trials)
  • Answer the question, how can my tool contribute to my group’s project?
  • Answer another question, how can my tool work with other tools in order to get more in-depth results?  For this one I’m going to have to re-familiarize myself with the other tools in attempts to find a link between mine and another.
  • How to get the knot toolset to work (Come on Monk, at least allow me to use the visually appealing tool, is that too much to ask?).
  • Try and figure out if I can maybe focus on individual characters with my tool.  This will be especially challenging because not only would that be too small of a workset, but my tool is not accommodating to showing me who says what words.
    • The reason I would like to try this out is because that is my personal interest in Hamlet.  If I could focus on the character development of Gertrude in attempts to figure out if she actually knew if Claudius killed the King then I would be such a happy camper!

I think this a good start.  Throughout the rest of my posts for this phase I hope to answer or develop the questions and tasks that I have stated above, and perhaps come up with new ones.  Overall I’m looking forward to this phase.  I think that my team and I are going to be able to come up with some interesting results that we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish by simply reading the text (reading? What is this archaic method you speak of?).

In the Context of Things: How One Act May Be a Limited View

The third act of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is full of action, energy and great writing. It has strong character dilemmas, some death, powerful speeches and a play within a play. To most people with some interest and experience with Shakespeare’s works, this would seem like an excellent act and play to work with, but is it really enough to base writing on?

Until this point we’ve all been working with larger documents and even more diverse works, with work collections as big as the entirety of Shakespeare’s known works. I most often used the entire work of Hamlet as the basis of my searches on Wordseer, and with that I often got thorough and useful results, but when I started sizing down to searches focusing only on one act, even the incredibly diverse and action filled act that I and my group get to focus on, I’ve been getting less results than I care to admit and far fewer results than I would like.

One possibility is that this will be fixed when I can start to look at the collective tools working together where whatever small results that one tool can find will begin to raise questions for other tools to answer, and I think that this will happen, but even this approach limits the possibilities because no matter how effective a method you have for deriving information from data and no matter how intensely one scrutinizes their data, the results someone can attain are corrupt if their data is corrupt.

I say this because I think that looking at only one act might possibly corrupt the data that we recieve from doing so. For the uncaring this next part might be a bit technical so I’ll use point form to make it more clear.

  • A digital humanities tool is a survey tool that takes polls from texts to see if such and such a word fits under a certain description.

    • Imagine a text as a nation that we want to ask a question to, and all the words in that text as voting or polled individuals.

    • Every time I enter a search into Wordseer, I ask the individual words of the word population of the text nation “Hamlet” whether they apply to such and such a query. For example I would be asking them “do you describe the word “Ophelia”?” and, if they do, they show up in the results of the poll.

  • A survey tool has less accuracy with a smaller polled group.

    • So, if I don’t poll the entire nation of Hamlet, but rather, I ask the constituency “Act 3” or “Scene 1 of Act 5” I’ll get a less accurate result.
    • Within this constituency there are those that abdicate voting (a specific word is not used in that scene/act, but several synonyms appear in its stead) and those that are running for mayor are going to influence their friends and family into voting for them ( an artistic use of repetition over powers the results ) as well as many, many other small things that if the polling group were bigger would be less aparent and would skew the results less.
  • These same quirks and others like them occur all over the place in texts that make small changes which affect the interpretation of that text more as the text becomes smaller, and no one can anticipate or identify ally of those problems.

However, in the writing of this post, I have found that there are positives to polling a smaller sample size or to analyzing with a smaller text. For one, it clearly and effectively shows an opinion or result specific to that group or text, although that is clear in itself. For another, it clearly outlines the smaller, more specific quirks that I mentioned before, allowing for a clearer interpretation of literary methods.

Phase 2: The Beginning

Now that Phase two of our Hamlet in the Humanities Lab is officially done, it is time to start with the exciting, yet slightly terrifying phase two. Why so terrifying, you might ask? Well, it might be the fact that this phase of our project is worth so much more than the previous phase that may scare me. It could also be that we are expected to be an expert with our tools by now, and I feel as though Tapor is not the most useful tool to be an expert in. Fortunately this morning, my new group (those that are doing act one of Hamlet) officially started phase two together, and we discussed our ideas and concerns about this part of the study. We talked about phase 2, and what exactly this entails for all of us. After discussing our P.O.A., or plan of action as we decided to call it. We decided that using each of our individual tools, we would look at character development in Hamlet, and how the characters seem to change from the first act to the last. I am sure if you compared this act to a later one, you would not only be able to the change within the characters, but you will also see a difference in how the characters interact together. Although we are only supposed to be looking at act one, we all agreed that it would be really difficult to conclude anything about Hamlet without taking any other parts of the play into account. If we did only focus on the act we were given, we would not really be able to discuss any of the themes, the plot, the characters or really anything else that is present in the play. In the first scene, you really only find out the background story of the royal family of Denmark, and are only able to partially see everything this play has to offer. You could really learn all needed to know about the character relationships with this diagram. If we did only look at this first scene, we would maybe figure out the basic plot, and speculate on what would happen later on. This could potentially be useful, but it does not really go into enough depth that such a large part of the project requires us to. There is only so much the beginning of a story can tell you. That being said, there is one plus for being chosen to analyze the first act. Due to the fact that our scene not only introduces everybody to the play, but also introduces the plot and the complete background story of Hamlet’s family, it will be interesting to see what kind of foreshadowing Shakespeare included. I am sure that by using the word list or the find collocates tool that I will be able to find many interesting things that elude to the next acts of the play. I am not sure how exactly I will use Tapor to analyze the development of these characters, but I am sure that it will be an adventure none the less. It always is with Tapor.

New phase, new group, new perspective!

I’m feeling really positive about Phase 2.  I’m not sure if it’s just the excitement of actually being able to reap the rewards that the other tools offer or what, but I am feeling a lot less limited with our opportunities this time around and I’m ready to get down to business!

The main thing that was on my mind before our first group meeting was the act itself.  We have been assigned Act 1.  Everyone knows the standard outline for Plot Development.  You’ve got your exposition, initial incident, rising action, climax, etc. In my mind, it’s super difficult to analyze the first act because it’s kind of like the appetizer to the meat and potatoes of the play.  All the good stuff happens in the middle, so it would seem, and the first act is more about establishing the characters, the back-story, and the setting than giving us anything really juicy to actually analyze  (and now I’ve made myself hungry by talking about Shakespeare, great).

Sorry, I had to.

It was much to my relief that my fellow groups members had also been feeling skeptical about having Act 1 as our text to analyze, you can read Richelle’s post about it (written before we had our first team meeting) here.  As soon as we started discussing the situation as a group, we collectively came up with a solid game-plan by which we would tackle Phase 2. We like to call it our POA (plan of action). I know, we are pretty cool. There’s no need to be jealous of our POA.  I’m sure you have a great one too!

Basically our Plan of Action is this: we are going to focus on how the characters have developed throughout the play, but apply a comparison of these changes to our initial reactions to the characters in Act 1.  We are going to attempt to work our tools into a cohesive relationship in which they can all pick up each other’s slack, if you will.  By having this theme or question as an overall “umbrella” as Ruby described it, it really helps us narrow down what we will want to be searching for and determining as Phase 2 ensues.  We discussed as a team that staying strictly to Act 1 and nothing else makes it a bit impossible to analyze anything.  Concepts such as foreshadow and character motives can’t be pointed out if we do not know what happens later on in the play.  Since we obviously do know what happens later on, it’s not like we are going to just turn a blind eye and act oblivious to the rest of the play! If we take what we know about whom the characters develop into and compare it to Act 1, we can use our tools to analyze the journey from where they started and try to pinpoint the roots that lead to their fate later on in the play.

After seeing the groups in Phase 1 present all of the pros and cons of their tools, I’m really interested to see how everyone is able to make things work in Phase 2.  I wonder if all of the teams will use very similar tactics, or if the methods we all decide to use to combine our tools will be extremely varied.  I am crossing my fingers in hopes that we can find a happy medium between all of the tools so that each one finds its own role in our analysis. I think this way of approaching Act 1 by attempting to combine all of our tools will really set us up for success.  We are bound to run into some snags here and there, but hopefully putting our 5 minds together with knowledge of 5 different tools can really work to our advantage and help us analyze Hamlet to the best of our abilities.

Oy, we kan/ddo rreap moorre oov WS trru DH!

“Oy, we kan/ddo rreap moorre oov WS trru DH!” Do you get it? If you did you can officially call yourself a “Scrabble Freak”…smarty pants. If you did not get it, you can call yourself, umm, normal? 

A little bit of an explanation:

cool

 But why would I spend the time (I won’t tell you how much…) putting these letters together? To show how all five tools can cohesively come together…the same way our new groups are coming together for Phase 2 of our projects.  The fact that some groups faced difficulty in the previous phase is actually particularly convenient for me here. Their difficulties are represented by my interesting and “difficult” spelling choices. Obviously I did this on purpose…

In all honesty, I think that it is at this point that some truly interesting and useful discoveries are going to be made within Hamlet.  In Phase one, everyone was trying to figure out their tool and become the “expert” of it. In Phase two, however, it seems we as teams will be dealing a lot more with the text itself (specifically our designated Acts). 

 As a member of the “Act 1” group I am feeling interested but sceptical.  What could our group possibly uncover that could compare to the “Act 3” or “Act 4” group.  We do have a ghost cameo, which is pretty cool, but lets be honest – we all want to rip apart Hamlet’s famous “To be, or not to be” speech.  To dissect that speech with even one tool, Wordseer for example, could prove to be tremendously insightful. I am certainly interested to see what that group comes up with!

 That being said, maybe Act 1 will come out as the Underdog in this project. I am, admittedly, apprehensive of the results we may find in this act; however, perhaps my own lack of interest will spark a higher level of interest for myself: a challenge.  Will being assigned a comparatively less interesting act push me to search for the unobvious?   A Shakespearean “Where’s Waldo”. COOL.

cool-er

Coming out on the other side of this blog post I am feeling a little more excited about Act 1. What can we, bringing all five tools together as a team, really discover about this act? How much more “kan” we “rreap oov WS truu DH”? Is Waldo hiding in the pages of Hamlet’s Act 1? It’s all about his trademark stripped shirt: obnoxious and begging to be noticed, but also ridiculously easy to overlook.  You can’t see it…until you do.