To “test” some of tools offered on Voyant, I looked up the extremely dense and wordy “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. The first I noticed was all the frequencies of words illustrated in a kind of word bubble, which led me to check out the correlations between some frequently used words. I was amazed by the freedom of being able to search any word or words of the text, with corresponding data for each search. It was then that I decided, taking into consideration the suggestions of Prof. Hanley, that this would be an excellent tool to compare two or more texts based on their language frequencies and overall content. Sticking to “Heart of Darkness” as my template, I’ve decided it could be interesting to compare Conrad with other colonial narratives of the period to check out similarities/differences between the texts.
First off, this was not my first time encountering Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, The Scrivener.” I was already all too familiar with this story as I’ve read it for a couple different English classes, and as per usual, have discussed it to death in those classes. However, while reading the annotated versions of “Bartleby” for this assignment, I’d say I finally found a way to engage with this short story, in a way that was interesting to me. In those endless discussions on Bartleby in previous classes, it was safe to say no one, my self included, really knew what the story was about at all. When I first read the story, I believe I took it way too literally, which is easy to do when your just reading the story without the aid of any helpful annotations or comments. Both annotated versions, although I personally preferred The Slate annotation, provided the reader with helpful, thought provoking information that enhanced my experience as a reader because it provoked me to keep asking questions as I read the story. The annotations didn’t tell me what to think, or explicitly tell me what the story was about, which I thought was helpful. On the Genius annotation, I found it was helpful to have the annotations hidden so the reader can access them or ignore them at any time during the story. For my next annotations, I’d like to do something of a hybrid between the Slate and Genius annotations, with some information always visible, and others to be more subtly available.