In our analysis of Walden, we utilized Voyant tools to enhance our understanding of the text. Voyant tools features tracking options and offers the ability to strip filter words from the text. By making key words more accessible, readers may focus more on words that give insight into Thoreau’s thoughts and their evolution throughout the text of Walden. First, we re-read portions of Walden that fascinated us. Then, we used the helpful features of Voyant tools to analyze these chapters of Walden individually, and then pieced together word trends that related to the topics each of us chose to explore.
The chosen topics were frequency of religious words, frequency of positive words, frequency of experiential words and positive and negative correlations throughout Walden as a cohesive text. The graph tool showed us where words were more or less frequent throughout the text and let us infer how that conveyed Thoreau’s message of living deliberately. We could see where words that may have not been used before and then were suddenly utilized. These red flags keyed us into searching for Thoreau’s moments of enlightenment and discovery. Voyant tools helped us to thoroughly analyze the text beyond our own comprehension of language. We tend to look at the message of the text, not the particles that make it up, and the small bits actually brought new information about Walden and Thoreau to light. Utilizing Voyant allowed us to incorporate statistics into our research so our results were no longer just opinion, but irrefutable data to back our opinions.
Our first day toying with Voyant, we removed all the filter words. After removing all filter words, “life” and “man” are the most prevalent words in Walden as a whole. Reading Walden, it is clear that he is a man on a mission: to live life to the fullest. But now, we can give substantial mathematical support to enhance understanding of Thoreau’s search for greater meaning. Each group member followed their own path, but we were ultimately able to see how our individuals aspect of text analysis conveys Thoreau’s philosophy of living life deliberately.