Data Mining Project: The “Thoreauian” Metaphor Revealed

I have found a very interesting pattern/discovery that I might not have seen without data mining. I noticed that one of the words frequently used by Thoreau was like. It seemed odd at first and I thought that the “stop word” function (stops unnecessary words) had “missed” this word. With further research though, I found out that Thoreau’s refined ways of describing landscapes was through metaphor. I looked into many cases of the word like, and after setting it in context I found that much of the usage was toward metaphor. Granted, one may have seen this by reading the text but when it is set into unified perspective through data mining, the patterns emerge and the trends are ever prevalent.

I also¬† found the same usage of the word like for Moodie. She uses it less so for describing the landscape in similes/metaphors, though. The similarity in word use between the authors is very interesting because it reveals a common experience – Thoreau was practically the leading mind in regards to landscape at the time, yet Moodie’s text contains similar words and use of those words.

Reviewing the data, I have found that although the Canadian landscape plays a large role in these two texts (especially Thoreau) there is another story in Moodie’s in Roughing it in the Bush. She paints the landscape as a tough and often dark and desolate place (hence the use of the phrase “Roughing it” in the title). For her, the landscape seems to tell a story of her troubles, while still managing to keep form being a “secondary” theme.

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