Inkle and Yarico is a popular story that circulated across our culture from the late 18th century to well into the 19th century. It describes a colonialist, Inkle; someone who is being colonized (often portrayed as Native American), Yairco; and the love between them. Because it caught the attention of the general public, several new versions were realized during its popularity. One version, A Modern Inkle and Yarico was released in 1841 and describes the colonization of the Red Hills (a region above Florida). I used the web-tools below to perform computational text analysis on this text as well as this text as it relates to Steele’s version to answer the question: How has the different portrayal of gender and race across versions related to the different outcomes?
The first tool that I used was WordCount provided by DataBasic.io. This tool allows you to see what are the most frequently used words in a given text are. The results of Steele’s version of the text and A Modern Inkle and Yarico are shown below.
A Modern Inkle and Yarico
Inkle and Yarico
Although this way of analyzing a text can be limited, it proves to be a powerful tool to see the focus of each text. For example,
whiteis the most common word in A Modern Inkle and Yarico, appearing 8 times. Based on the story, it is a reasonable assumption to say that these references to white are both relating to the race rather than the color and also relates to the Inkle of the story (who is named Graham). Whereas the race of Inkle in Steele’s version is not as apparent (as no words relating to race appear in the top words of the text). Although the clear difference between the two is that in A Modern Inkle and Yarico,
graham is the most used word whereas names in Inkle and Yarico aren’t as frequent. This suggests that the former is more personal. Just by this, we can understand why the relationship in A Modern Inkle and Yarico was less transactional and more genuine than the one in Inkle and Yarico.
There are clear similarities of these two texts just by looking at the frequency of the words, however. For example, both texts have the theme of age with
young making the top list in both. The theme of gender is also apparent in both texts. In Inkle and Yarico,
women make the list. The reason that gender isn’t as apparent in A Modern is that these results are ignoring stop words, which include pronouns. Taking into account stop words in A Modern
hisappears 22 times and
her appears 20 times.
The next tool that was explored was databasic.io’s SamDiff. In this tool, you give it two texts and it shows you the similarities and differences on a word level. The results for comparing both of the versions are shown below.
|Words only in
Inkle and Yarico
|Words in both||Words only in A Modern Inkle and Yarico|
Immediately while looking at this data, the themes from the previous tool are apparent. For example, ignoring irrelevant words, the top shared words in both are
indians which go with the themes of gender, youth, and colonialism mentioned earlier. What I find interesting between these two stories, however, is the tone of the words. Steele’s version is the only one that has the word
sex which could mean a merely transactional interaction. Also in that version, not only does Inkle sell-off Yarico, but he also comes to regret their interactions:
“To be short, Mr. Thomas Inkle, now coming into English Territories, began seriously to reflect upon his loss of time, and to weigh with himself how many days interest of his money he had lost during his stay with Yarico.”
In contrast, A Modern Inkle and Yarico ends with them staying with each other and it doesn’t mention sex:
“Three successive seasons produced as many offspring to gladden the hearts of the affectionate parents; then came a withering blight upon their hopes of future happiness—the fond wife was destined to be separated by the rude hand of war from her husband, and the father from his children.”
The tone of the words used in the different versions of Inkle and Yarico shines a light on the tone of the pieces as a whole. Just by looking at the appearance and frequency of certain words, we can make assumptions about the piece as a whole (such as its themes).
By this, we can answer the question at the beginning of this post. The different outcomes of the texts stem from their portrayal of gender and race. In A Modern Inkle and Yarico, the text was more personal, focusing on their love and their relationship rather than just sex. This resulted in a positive outcome for Yarico.
- Length: 1477 words
- Publication date: December 18th, 1841
- Publication location: London
- Perspective: Third-person, (assumed) pro abolitionist
- Yarico’s Race: Native American
- Outcome: Marriage
- Theme: Gender, race, and colonialism