Not Reading Alger

Alger Text-

Although I haven’t read Alger’s, Adrift in New York Or, Tom and Florence Braving the World, I did use Voyant tools to look at data for it.

Under the Cirrus cloud I found these common words:

I know that there is a lot of dialogue in the novel due to the occurrence of “said”. I also know that old New York slang like “dodger” comes up a lot (unless that’s a name?). There is also a heavy influence of New York as the setting. Words like “linden, Leighton, bolten” come up a lot as well. There are characters like Tim, Florence, friends, and an uncle. I assume they talk about money quite a bit and being young and poor.

From the trends segment, I found out Dodger is a character and his name occurs the most around the middle of the novel so I’m assuming Dodger is extremely important to the plot of the novel. Strangely, the use of Florence’s name goes down significantly when Dodger’s goes up. This could be because Florence is absent for this part of the text. The name Curtis also goes down and roughly follows the same pattern as Florence’s name.

Some of the “phrases’ featured below also give away some sense of style the novel is written in and some sense of themes throughout the work.

“he isn’t fit company for the likes of you” leads me to believe there are classist tones throughout the novel. The phrase “the saloon and walked up to a bar” makes me believe there is an element of alcoholism in the text and reckless youthful behavior.

I know from the Wikipedia article on Alger that there is a heavy theme of an impoverished boy being spotted by a wealthy person and given access to wealth. Usually the boy is doing something morally right or honest to merit the reward of riches like turning in a found wallet.

After I downloaded the corpus of Alder texts the cirrus bubble came up like this:

From this I can gather that all the texts are dialogue heavy and refer to money, class, time, and youth.

Some of these phrases reflect the overarching themes across Alger’s works:

All of these phrases seem to involve money or violence. As the wiki suggested about Alger it was really hard for him to branch out of his usual tropes in his texts.

The correlations also suggest the themes of work, money, earning, and generally hard times in America:

On ngrams I first searched the correlated words “cold” and “expense”

Both are very common words and this didn’t prove successful.

Then, on ngrams I searched a bunch of words having to do with work, money, and earning a living which showed me a slight boost of the word “work” around the 1920s and great depression era. Alger’s works were written in the 19th century and he died in 1899 so it is possibly his works circulated through the twenties and based on his themes of rags to riches I’m guessing they might have been popular in the twenties maybe more so than when Alger was alive.


Voyant Reading of Texts: The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

I’m working on examining the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. I want to look at the collective works of all the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. I’m curious to see if there are words of The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales that carry associations across all of the texts. My hypothesis so far involves certain archetypes like the fox in terms of mischief, slyness, and cunning.

I also wanted to look at if these fairy tales contain more serious content than modern children’s stories (i.e. are they more scary, deadly, etc.).

I’m curious about how these various characters speak and what that may say about those archetypes across the board in The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales.

On a more personal and ecological point I might want to investigate words surrounding the setting of the stories. Most of these fairy tales take place in the forest. Is the forest always a place where the mysterious/supernatural elements come in to play? How do the farmer characters relate to the land? Because this text was published in 1812 and society is going through a changing relation to land, resources, and environment (i.e. commodification of land rather than an active participant and creature of the land) do these children’s fairy tales reflect any of this? From what I’ve read in the fairy tales the forest usually comes up as a mystical, isolated place.

Lastly I’m curious to look at The Brothers Grimm mention of marriage in relation to gender/age. Is marriage simply proposed as an exchange of commodity or is marriage portrayed in terms of love?


Voyant Reading of Text: The Story of the Youth Who Went Fourth to Learn What Fear Was

For my Voyant reading of the text I read the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale “The Story of the Youth Who Went Fourth to Learn What Fear Was”. Before even reading the text Voyant was able to give me some jumping off points. The Cirrus word cloud has helped me see what sorts of words appear the most which in this case were words like “shudder” “father” “youth” “learn” “king” and “boy”. The trends segment showed me when these words appeared the most. It was interesting in the case of the word “shudder” because it appears seven times in the first segment and eight in the last but much less throughout the middle of the story. The summary was mildly interesting but I didn’t find it useful to my reading of the text. For instance, the summary told me it has an average of 17 words per sentence which in the case of a fairy tale seems about right. The contexts section I found useful because it provided a bit of surrounding text for when the most commonly used words appear. Bubbliness was also interesting and I realized “father” and “learn” appear together quite a bit. Voyant showed me the common trends in the wording of the text but it doesn’t provide any analysis and it doesn’t provide much context. I think it is an interesting and useful site and can help me with text analysis in the future.


I’m interested in looking at the collective works of The Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I’m curious to see if there re certain words that carry associations across the body of work. For instance, there are several animal archetypes that appear in different stories like the fox. Are words like cunning, mischievous, etc. associated with fox a lot?

Other things I’d be interested in looking at is whether these stories really are scarier than modern children’s stories. I could do this by looking at how many times scary or serious imagery and plots are used in comparison to other children’s stories.

I’m also interested in exploring history of words in the case of “forest” “farm” and other environmental words. My hypothesis is that these words appear in almost every story and I’m curious what this means in terms of enivironmental psychology and modern relation to these words. For example, the forest seems to be something “other” and where all the problems and adventures take place in the Brothers Grimm tales.

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street Annotations

After reading the annotations on Slate for Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street, I feel I have a better understanding of what online annotations can do. Before, I thought annotations were simply there to help the reader better understand the poem (i.e. looking up definitions, noting what is confusing to them). Online annotations seem to be more thought out and more self aware in the sense that they are one interpretation of a reading that is meant to guide other readers to better understand the text. The annotations on Slate I found helpful for the most part. As this is an older text there is a lot of context I might need to better understand it and the sorts of annotations that appeared on Slate would start out by informing the reader of something and then draw the reader towards how this may affect an interpretation of the poem. For example, there was an annotation about “Columns” that really helped me think of the characters in a military hierarchy concept with Bartleby as the solitary one. Initially the annotations on genius seemed like an eyesore to me. The way everything is highlighted over and the second the cursor runs over it becomes bright yellow. I found that distracting because it draws me to read the annotations right away. However, the content of many of the annotations I found insightful and of high quality. There was an annotation on genius having to do with reform to simplify the legal process and how that is significant in terms of themes of conformity and the special case of Bartleby. These annotations overall were helpful and I think will help me update my own online annotations as I have a better sense of what they should be like and what they can do for a reader. Specifically, my annotations will point out some information about something but they don’t really help to color the overall sense or meaning of the poem so I hope to work on that this week.