This word cloud was generated by using Wordle with the top 50 words in Chapter 3 of The Education of Henry Adams. The more frequently a word appears, the bigger it is on the word cloud. Some common words in English (such as that) were omitted. Chapter 3 mainly talks about Adams’ short trip to Washington, where he was introduced to a world of slavery and politics. As you can see from the word cloud, some of the words that stand out the most are: boy, Boston, Washington and education. Since Henry Adams refers to himself as “the boy”, the word boy is naturally the most noticeable. Adams talks a lot about his family’s disconnection to and his indifference towards Boston (where he was originally from). It is thus no surprise that Boston becomes the next most mentioned word. Education as the title and the main theme of this book is the third biggest word. Washington as the name of this chapter is the fourth most common word. Some words that are small but worth considering are political (as stated before, Adams starts to express his views about politics in this chapter), Sumner (who used to be Adams’ heroic figure) and eighteenth-century (he always describes himself as someone with a eighteenth-century’s mindset).
This Tagxedo word cloud shows the top 100 words from 3 paragraphs about Harvard College in chapter 3. I found Adams’ writing about Harvard very interesting because he tends to describe the university in an unflattering way. One of the biggest words in the word cloud is “negative”, a word that most people would not use to describe the estimed Harvard College. However, Henry Adams uses the word to characterize his college experience numerous times. It is also interesting that the word “success” is used much less often because most people think of Harvard College producing many successful people; but Henry Adams argues that Harvard made a “type” of person.
I used a passage from the beginning of chapter 3 when Henry Adams is confronted with slavery first hand in Washington. I used the top 75 words from the passage in my word cloud. I think this word cloud is teachable because it embodies what the majority of this section of the chapter is talking about and it shows how the world in Boston is being contrasted with this new world of Washington. The four words that stand out the most to me are “Boston”, “Nature”, “Boy” and “Negro”, and that shows the big ideas of the chapter and the rest of the smaller words like “horror”, “blood”, “inheritance”, and “wickedness” are the descriptions and emotions associated with those big ideas. Henry Adam’s nature of living in Boston is being deeply contrasted with the new and horrifying nature he is discovering in Washington because of slavery.
I am usually not an artistic individual, yet I found pleasure in creating this word cloud. On the surface, one might view the jumbled words as aesthetically pleasing, but providing nothing to further understanding of The Education. While selecting passages to include in my cloud, I attempted to underscore one of the main themes from the first three chapters of the book. I chose to focus on the different contrasts which Adams experiences in his childhood. Whether it be the summer of Quincy and the winter of Boston or the vicious slavery of Virginia and his well-off life in New England, the boy’s education is not the typical definition of the word. It is evident that these events in Adams’ early life are what shape him to disregard typical “classroom” learning, as he learns far more by venturing out of what he views as quotidian.
The word cloud I have created is made up of the first paragraphs in the first four chapters in the memoir. It contains top 150 words. The words that are most prominent are college and education. College is the largest because of its importance in the life of Henry Adams. Adams felt like the traditional education system and what they were teaching wasn’t truly going to prepare him with the necessary knowledge he needed to thrive in his time period. He felt this type of education was irrelevant to the world he lived in. Which leads to the next word, education. He felt that the scaffolding of education wasn’t taught correctly and wasn’t giving people what they essentially needed to know. The themes of college, and education are heavily repeated and that is why they are so important in the word cloud. Adam’s views of education were not just a problem in his life but are existent in today’s society. Advancements in education and the way it is presented connect to Adam’s ideas. Are these modern day methods really relevant in today’s world is the question.
Students in FYS Digital Humanies with Prof. Pinsker will be using this blog space during Fall semester 2014 to post their course work and to begin to develop their own digital portfolio of work. All writing posts and research presentations should be submitted here, at this space, on or before their due date. But students may post additional material relevant to their course work and in the spirit of the ongoing pursuit of knowledge embodied by digital humanities and The Education of Henry Adams. There are only a few rules to consider:
- Save your posts as DRAFTS if you don’t want Prof. Pinsker looking at them yet
- Set post visibility to PRIVATE in order to share any assignments with Prof. Pinsker
- NEVER set your posts to PUBLIC on your own. That’s for Prof. Pinsker to decide.
- However, if you don’t want him to make your posts public –no matter how good they might be– well, that’s your decision. Just put this disclaimer at the top of any such post: NOT FOR PUBLICATION
- Finally, of course, whether it’s in draft, private or public, always maintain a respectable level of civility. No bullying or threatening. Criticism is necessary and even welcome –but always should be delivered with a tone and style that will serve your cause and not detract from it.