Network Theory

So far we have been looking at literature with respect to time but not space. Using Network Theory we can look at the plot and character interaction within the space of the story. Morreti says “that net- work theory could offer a way to quantify plot, thus providing an essential piece that was still missing from computational analyses of literature”. He his claiming that looking at literature over time is still beneficial but is still lacking something. I agree with this because when we used Voyant tools it was very easy to see word usage and find where that word was used. But being able to understand the overall plot or the big picture of the article was lost using this tool and would have to be done using close reading. Spatial analysis can give us more information about the overall passage which can be lost when focusing on one word over many issues of text. Network theory being able to quantify plot is the main difference to temporal studying.

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5 thoughts on “Network Theory

  1. I think this hits the nail on the head. As so very evident in our midterm, we used time to analyze word trends in certain journals. However, some of the magazines only had 1 or 2 issues and basing the analysis on time would be much harder. Seeing how concepts and ideas interacted with each other is something that is essential yet hard sometimes to find.

  2. You’ve picked a good quote and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it because I agree. While it is beneficial to literature analysis using computers, this approach misses out on a lot of things just like Voyant tools does as well. Both of those give us a good, basic understanding of the structures but in my opinion nothing beats close reading. I think that looking at trends and plot graphs would definitely facilitate the close reading process as it points out important factors to pay more attention to.

  3. Both of you agree that so far, specifically with Voyant tools, we have been looking at literature with respect to time. We also done this with our midterm project, with the different issues of the magazine. Voyant tools made it easy to see word usage over time, but did not show us literature in respect to space. Do you think that there is a way to have Voyant tools show us more about spacial awareness, or is that for us to interpret?

  4. I agree with you here. Using just one tool or the other alone loses some parts. Using just the original reading being able to tell which words are most commonly used is lost, while using just voyant tools part of the plot is lost. I think it is important that you have both. While it is a hassle to switch between, the two both have separate purposes and could be difficult to read if merged together. Being able though to see the character interaction within the story could be helpful to students and researchers because it can help them find information faster especially with complex character interactions like in “Hamlet.”

  5. The quote you chose I think perfectly describes why Network Theory can be very effective in a broad sense. It is very important to note here, what makes Hamlet a good tragedy is that the story line is inherently based on the relationships that each character has with the other. Voyant tools, something that is very useful when gathering raw data regarding any article, may not be as valuable when breaking down Hamlet. Much like some data is best suited to be shown in bar graph form and some in line graph form, it is sometimes best to break down a piece of literature by visualizing a network and exploring the dynamics between each character.

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