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Perception of War in Literature

Page history last edited by Edith Torres 7 years, 5 months ago

Perception of War in Literature

Team Members: Kathleen ByrneEdith Torres


Objective:  Compare The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer, Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien to study what words are unique to a specific war narrative and what words are shared between the three books, or used to describe all three wars. Attempt to answer the following questions: How are wars perceived by the authors depicting them and how are they portrayed in the resulting literature? Does this perception differ from war to war? Are some wars seen as more gruesome and animalistic while others are seen as a noble and brave events in history?


Research: A chapter from each of the books was input into the Topic Modeling Tool


Once the top 30 "topics" were uncovered, it became difficult to decipher any meanings that would connect the three books. Attempting to make sense of each line individually proved to lead to a dead end. 



List of words subjectively chosen to input into AntConc to uncover frequencies in an attempt to understand recurring themes. 


Frequencies uncovered:



Description: One book covering one of three wars (WWI,WWII, and Vietnam) from the American perspective was chosen to study. The Naked and The Dead - WWII, A Farewell to Arms - WWI, The Things They Carried - Vietnam. One chapter from each book was extracted for study. The chapters were chosen for the fact that they described an actual battle scene, rather than being a discussion of social and political context, personal history, commentary, etc. The txt file of each chapter was put through the Ant Concordance program. A list of words commonly used to describe wartime were searched for frequency using the tool for each chapter.  The words were subjectively divided into two categories: words that are associated with physical descriptions of the battle fields, weaponry, the surrounding environment and words that are associated with emotions, thoughts and physical reactions of the men experiencing the war. A graph was created based on the findings of this experiment. The graph illustrates the frequency of the words chosen as they appear in the chapters studied.


Analysis: Upon examining the data found in the word cloud and AntConc, it was found that the initial hypothesis was false. It was revealed that although there might exists universal themes in war literature, most words are used to describe a specific situation and experience. There were very few words that were common among all chapters. Upon analyzing the context in which high frequency words were found, it became apparent that those words were specific to the perception of the individual. 



Perceptions of War Prezi





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