Spencer Karrat Blog Post

My research question is “To what extent do different versions of Inkle and Yarico express Yarico’s dissent with her treatment by her people and Inkle ?”. I’m aware that “dissent” is a subjective term, but I tried to comparatively measure it using the various tools we were introduced to during our previous lectures. I took advantage of the other plaintext transcriptions of archival documents my classmates posted on canvas as samples to compare my document. I also found a few transcriptions of popular iterations online that I added to the list. A very useful site in pursuing my research question was the Word Trees tool which let me see the context behind different word choices. For example, the use of betray/betray’d/betrayed in my poem or other texts from Yaricos perspective like “Yarico’s Lament” or “Yarico to Inkle” were mostly preceded/followed by a line regarding Inkle. One such line from my document was “How would you wish you never had betray’d, Or sold for trifling gain a wretched maid.” which indirectly nods to Inkle. A parallel could be found in Yarico’s Lament through the line “Did Yarico thus treacherously betray? For baneful plante or still more baneful gold, Was false, unkind, ungrateful Inkle sold?”. Both texts reference the metadata theme of betrayal through Yarico being sold by Inkle. I did this kind of comparison repeatedly with other keywords like ‘love’ and ‘slave’ and across various texts. I saw an interesting trend where the versions that were longer operas typically did not focus on Yarico’s dissent as much as shorter poems but that may be for a couple of reasons. Firstly because the concentration of negative language seems much higher when there are fewer words overall, and secondly because the metadata of shorter texts mostly implied that the perspective would be Yarico’s instead of Inkles.

Another tool I used for comparing texts was WordCounter so I could find the most common words and phrases across my makeshift corpora of texts and see if there were any visible trends. I noticed that after ignoring the common articles like “a/and/the”, the most frequent words were love, betray’d, and Yarico in multiple documents. I used the common words/phrases that held true across multiple documents and analyzed them to see if they could be interpreted as negative from Yarico’s perspective. There were instances where the speaker referred to the same event in different ways, and to stay consistent with the previous tools I also used the prime example of when Inkle sells Yarico to the governor. The documents from Yaricos’s perspective refer to this scene as a betrayal of her love and a barbarous act. The documents from Inkle’s perspective or a third party perspective focus on Inkle selling Yarico in order to follow through with the marriage to Narcissa and save his family’s money. In both cases, this section was where many of the common words from the corpus could be found. To answer my research question most of the texts I looked at portrayed Yarico as feeling betrayed and show her scorn by using common words/phrases throughout the text. Specifically, keywords associated with dissent and negativity can be found the most part towards the middle to end of a given document. A pivot point I found in a few cases was the example mentioned earlier where Yarico is sold, although there were a few instances of common words phrases before that. When Inkle arrived to meet Yarico is an example from more complete texts like the Gutenberg edition. The results from my current research question have led me to think of topics or questions I could research in the future. For instance, I could use the SameDiff tool in combination with the WordCounter tool to see if there is a correlation between the common words/phrases of a text and their similarity score through a quantitative approach as opposed to a comparative approach.