Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Voyant’s Analysis on Lincoln

When first using Voyant, I thought that it had an interesting and unique way in analyzing a variety of texts that helps readers understand more about specific readings.  In trying to get used to this new software, I selected one of the downloads from Tuesday’s class, which was a sermon about Abraham Lincoln’s death by Warren Hathaway, to experiment with on Voyant.  Before I started using this document, I assumed that it would mainly be about the life and time of Abraham Lincoln.  In order to figure out the concept of the text, I decided to look up key words like “nation,” “god,” and “death” that would relate to Abraham Lincoln and his life.

As seen from the chart above, the word, “nation,” (blue line) had the most frequencies with “god” (green line) coming in at second place.  It seemed like “death” (pink line) was not as common as the previous two, even though the main idea of this document was about Lincoln’s death, it did not mean that it was going to talk about it the whole time.  In the reading, it referred to Lincoln as an inspiring leader who was taken away so soon and how they will never forget the grateful deeds that he has done for the country.

In conclusion, Voyant has been helpful in interpreting texts that are unfamiliar to the reader.  If someone ever gets confused about a specific reading, they can use this digital network to assist them in understanding its context.

 

3 Comments

  1. Your post provides a unique analysis of the Lincoln sermon. Similar to you I would assume the sermon would focus on his death. However, according to your graphic, Lincoln’s hopes and dreams for the nation was highlighted by Warren Hathaway alongside his faith in God. What I would like to know is what was your interpretation of the Lincoln sermon. In other words, after looking at the different panels on Voyant (e.g. summary, word comparison, etc), what did you assume the sermon was about?

  2. This was an very interesting assignment. Never new that there was a program like this. A surprising way to analyze a book or series of books.

  3. I thought your analysis of the Lincoln sermon was a very good way to approach it. You broke down key words and how they would relate to Lincoln’s life. I appreciate this post because it gives more insight on the usefulness of voyant. Including the visual graph was really helpful as well as explaining the interesting fact that the word “death” was not used as much even though the document was indeed about his death. Perhaps this could be because they mentioned is death and then focused more on what happened after therefore not needing to use that word so much?

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