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I do believe that Wordle and Ngram are useful Digital Humanities tools because they helped reaffirm my interpretation and analysis information of my short story.  I thought they were fun, new,and interesting but ultimately a new way of doing old things.  The Wordle was a new way of doing old things because the prominent words it identified in my story were descriptions of it’s setting like Water, Bridge, and even Now.  However, the word Now is interesting because the author tricks the reader into thinking something is real (happening Now) when it is not.  Yet when you look back the author actually foreshadows the twist ending of the story by using certain words to establish what is really happening (happening Now).  Nevertheless, this is still a new way of doing old things because the Wordle picked a word that, when interpreted in the context of the story and it’s theme, revealed the theme of the story.

I found the Ngram interesting because I used it to see if the three words that were prominent in my story about the Civil War were also prominent in other pieces of writing when America was in other crisis’s.  I found that to be true with the word Now which was most useful in my search.  This only affirmed the theme of my story about how war changes our present and how during peace we don’t think about the present but how to remember the past and that memory is subjective.  All in all, I believe Wordle and Ngram are useful Digital Humanities tools but they are just new ways of doing old things.  I would also like to mention these tools are only useful if interpreted correctly because if no interpretation is used then these tools will just reveal interesting things about words in your story but provide no insight about your story.

Web Wednesdays

These last two Web Wednesdays have been pretty fast paced and confusing but I’m still glad we are doing it because I need to be more technologically savvy. With each Web Wed. I learn what to do and what not to do the next time we meet on the Web. On the first Web Wed. I decided to go home but when I got home I only had a few minutes to settle down and get ready for class. Once class started it took me nearly the whole class to compose my own rendition of Millay’s poem. As a result, I had to all the other assignments as homework.

On our recent Web Wed. I decided to go to the school library. Unlike last time I was much more calm before class begun. Then, I began working on Yeats poem unlike last time I paced myself when doing this assignment so it wouldn’t take up the whole class time. I also thought the assignment was more fitting for Web Wed. because it wouldn’t take too long. However, in my attempt to quickly publish my assignment and move on to the next one I forgot to copy my answer before hitting the “Post Comment” button. To my utter dismay once I hit the button an error happened and all my work was lost in cyberspace.

The sight of my shocked face staring at my laptop followed by an angry stare for a few seconds must have been a rather curious and alarming scene to other students because I caught some of their eyes. Nevertheless, after a few seconds of pause I collected myself because time was going. I posted on Twitter my misfortune so the Professor wouldn’t wonder why I was taking so long and was offered some advice by a fellow student. Her advice was to always copy my comments before posting. I wrote a much more condensed version of our first assignment and moved on to the next.

I quickly read the article on Second Life, which I had never heard of before, and responded by saying that although I thought Second Life should be strongly suggested in an English major’s curriculum I didn’t think it should be required because I believe in-class activities are much more beneficial for creative, academic, and social development. Unlike last time I copied my answer before posting and everything went off without a glitch. Then, class finished and all I had leftover was this assignment which isn’t that bad considering some of the glitches I faced during this class.

On looking back at our last two Web Wed. I definitely learned one of our course learning goals which was how to “effectively use web-based technologies in order to read and publish academic writing.”

The short story I’m thinking of working on is “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce published in 1890.  I picked this story because it has a surprise ending.  If you go back and reread the story you see all of the clues that foreshadowed the big reveal at the end.  The story is about a man named Peyton Farqhar who is about to be hanged for being a Confederate during the American Civil War. 

 It is a great example of story vs. plot.  I love history and literature so this story is perfect for me.  I was introduced to this short story in my Film to Literature class during my senior year in High School.  There is a Twilight Zone episode of this story with the same name.  Here’s a link to the short story http://www.enotes.com/occurrence-owl-creek-bridge-text   

I am also considering working with one of these short stories by O. Henry titled “The Hiding of Black Bill” and “The Purple Dress.”  O. Henry is known for his twist endings and these short stories are no exception.  “The Hiding of Black Bill” is about a man who travels to a lonely texas ranch in order to earn some money.  There he meets a mysterious stranger who recently moved to the area and who gives him a job.  While there he learns that the law is looking for a notorious train robber named Black Bill believed to be hiding close to the texas ranch he is currently staying in.  “The Hiding of Black Bill” reveals a lot about Texas history. 

“The Purple Dress” is about a girl named Maida who has saved up all her money to buy a magnificient purple dress which she hopes will woo Mr. Ramsay at an upcoming Thanksgiving party.  However, all the other women going to the party are hoping to woo him as well including her bestfriend Grace who plans to wear a red dress.  All Maida has to do is pay off $4 to get the dress of her dreams but then Grace bursts in crying revealing that she needs to pay her rent today, which happens to be $4, or else she’ll be kicked out! 

I am considering these two short stories by O. Henry because they are not as familiar as “The Gifts of the Magii” “The Last Leaf,” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.”  Here’s a link to “The Hiding of Black Bill” http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/o_henry/84/ and “The Purple Dress” http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/o_henry/219/

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