There are fairytales and folktales all around the world, which means that I will have to find a way to sort through the many options for my final project. While I do have the Animal Bride and Bridegroom archetypes to narrow my pool, there are still a lot of stories out there to read and choose from. Thankfully, there are digital tools available and accessible to me to use so I can gather the information I need to pursue the questions I have for my subject of interest without limiting myself.
For this week, I explored three different digital programs that would potentially help me create my dataset: the Google Ngram, Voyant, and AntConc. Out of these three, I felt as if the AntConc program is what my project needs with its variety of tools that contribute greatly to gathering the data I need to find the answers to my research questions. The two tools that I believe contributed greatly to my project are the Concordance Tool and the Collocates Tool.
With the Concordance Tool, I was able to look at common phrases connected to the word that I searched for, which was “bride,” “wife,” and “happy.” I especially liked this tool because, with it, I could not only see how often it was used in the stories that I gathered, but also included the context connected to the appearance of the word.
With this dataset, I can explore questions such as “When are the Animal Brides referred to as bride and/or wives? Is it before their transformations or after? How about their Animal Bridegroom counterparts? When are they referred to as bridegrooms/suitors and husbands? As for the word “happy,” when does it appear? Which stories do they appear in and from whose perspectives do the stories end happily?”
Of course, there are some questions that this tool can’t answer. For example, I want to explore the depictions of the Animal Brides before their transformation into a beautiful human woman. What animals were they and what do they represent in the story’s culture? What are the circumstances of their change from animal to human? I am currently unsure if there are tools that can gather these questions since the Animal Bride archetype does not have a consistent supernatural creature or animal connected to the said bride figure in the story.
For this dataset, I believe that, along with a significant increase of sources, and a division between Bride and Bridegroom tales, I will be able to improve on the results. For now, I do not think I will need help with taking further steps with the Concordance Tool.
On the other hand, the Collocates Tool provides me with a tool that can take a word that I enter and find the collocates for it after running through the stories. Though it may not play the biggest role, I still find the results interesting to my subject.
As seen above, the top results of the words that collocate with the word “wife” come out as “forcibly,” “dragged,” and “deceit”. This dataset can explore my questions surrounding the depiction and representation of the Animal Bride archetype in their tales. Of course, I would have to separate the Animal Bride stories from their Bridegroom counterparts to see if the same applies to the human brides to their monstrous and cursed husbands. Since this dataset is focused more on a specific question, there are many questions that it leaves unanswered, which I believe the Concordance Tool answers perfectly.
Perhaps I can find a tool that can take the stories that I gather and reflect them onto the world map to support the arguments that I will make with them.