Blog Post II: Drawing Conclusions and Asking Questions

Thinking through  the hypothesis, the first words I decided to take a look at were “guns” and “arms.”  My initial thought was that maybe the usage of these terms would change as Linn went in and out of battle, either in frequency or in connotation.  A pattern did show up while looking at the trend chart, though it wasn’t what I was expecting to find.  While the frequency of these terms did increase once he got to the battlefront, there was no real change in his tone after the first battle was over.  These words didn’t really help me answer this question, so I decided to move on to a new search term.

Voyant Tools  Reveal Your Texts (2)


I decided that if the instruments of war weren’t going to give me my answer, I would have to take a step back.  I used the word trends graph to give me a comparison between the uses of the words “war” and “battle.”  It was this search that gave me my more interesting results.  Most of the 15 uses of the word “war” happened in the first half of the diary, while he was in Maryland before departing and while aboard the Cossack.  There is a long break where “war” does not appear once the first battle has started until after it had ended, where the gap was broken by the simple sentence “War is horrible.”  This very much seemed to prove Professor Jakacki’s hypothesis, at least in part.  Linn did not have such a negative view of war before that point, something had changed in his perception.  After that revealing search, I added a map of “battle” to my graph.  This revealed an entirely different trend.  The two words, “battle” and “war,” seemed to show up somewhat exclusive of each other; their frequencies were inversely related.

Voyant Tools  Reveal Your Texts (1)

This made me ask another question: Why are these two topics discussed exclusively of each other?  Was Linn unable to see the bigger picture of the war in the heat of battle?  Was he not imagining the battles that lay ahead when he was on campaign?  These are questions that I could seek to answer in the future.

Wounded and Battle

The two words that I picked to look at were wounded and battle. I wanted to pick words that would reflect his feelings during battle and would show if the way that he talked about the battles changed overtime. Instead of picking random words, i wanted to find words that had some sort of connection, and i found that wounded and battle seemed like they could possibly have some beneficial links. When i continued to look closer, it was obvious that a link was present.

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The graph above shows the number of appearances of both of my words in the progression of his writings. The second half of his writings had dramatically more appearances of both of the words. Actually, wounded does not show up once in the entire first half of the writing, but shows up thirty four times in the second half. Battle is also used drastically more often in the second half than in the first. For me the connections between the appearance of these words could show a change in Linn. Both of the words that i picked are connected to pain, war, and conflict so i would assume they would led to a change in the way that Linn sees that. His time spent in the war made him hard, resulting in the loss of innocence which in turn led to the change in the way that he writes and what he chooses to write about.

I also found it interesting to look at the words that were connected to battle and wounded in the Links tool. They were both connected to the word company, which comments that he was often talking about his solider companions when discussing battles and the wounded. The words left, exhausted, and killed were also all in this cluster. These words all have some connotations that could play a part in Linn’s transformation. Although i would say a deeper look might be required to make a strong conclusion about his change, my dive into these two words seemed to fit that conclusion.

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Links: Connections between my words