Our Voyage with Voyant

Our Voyage with Voyant

We used Microsearch and Trends to analyze Standing Female Nude and The World’s Wife and what similarities and differences there are between them. We noticed that in The World’s Wife, specific body parts such as mouth, hands, head, eyes, heart and face were used a lot more frequently than in Standing Female Nude. This says that The World’s Wife is more blatant about the physical aspects of the poem instead of using innuendos to explain what she is trying to say.

In her first collection of poetry, a lot of the things that happen are left up to the reader to try and figure out, merely hinting at the things that she is trying to keep ambiguous. This was more of a trend a few decades ago. In popular entertainment, there is a tenancy to be more blunt, particularly in physical relationships. There is no beating around the bush and she exposes her intentions with direct usage of speech. Using Trends helped to show us this idea by showing that The World’s Wife used more body parts than in Standing Female Nude. This Trend does not show all of the different body parts included, but were some that we thought were more interesting. Although this trend seems to be the case in most things, we noticed a few words that did not follow that. For the word heart, we see that it is used many more times in Standing Female Nude than it did in her other collection. It was used more in a symbolic form rather than an actual body part. It was used to symbolize love, relationships, conscience, or emotion. The other word that is used more in Standing Female Nude than in The World’s Wife is the word “body.” We think that although when it is used in the two collections, it is referring to a physical attraction or sex of some sort, it goes along with the theme of keeping it ambiguous. When she uses the word body instead of something more specific, it leaves it up to the reader to decide what exactly she is talking about. It keeps it more general and neutral, so as to go along with the idea that she is trying to convey in the rest of her poetry in her first collection.

Another aspect that we saw between the two collections was the usages of pronouns. As you can see from the Microsearch, He and She is on a completely opposite frequency between the two. He was used much more in The World’s Wife. Why? A majority, if not all, of the poems dealt with the female lead’s relationship with her spouse or significant other. Furthermore, the narrative voice is clearly that of the women’s, whereas in Standing Female Nude, the narrator’s gender was more diverse or ambiguous.

Standing Female Nude uses the pronoun she with much more frequency. In this case, the split is even more drastic. TWW rarely uses she. As discussed above, this is in large part due to the variety of narrators. In SFN, several of the poems are clearly from a man’s perspective, meaning he would describe “she” more frequently. The poems in Standing Female Nude tell less of a traditional story where we are thrown into the middle of a story, sometimes leaving the identity of the narrator unknown. This might also account for the more infrequent use of pronouns compared to TWW, considering he and she alike.

While playing around with microsearch further, we noticed a difference between the usage to past and present tense words within Standing Female Nude and The World’s Wife. One example of this is shown with the words “say” and “said.” As shown in the pictures, the word “say” is used significantly more often in Standing Female Nude  and “said” is used more frequently in The World’s Wife.

After reading both collections of Poetry, we decided that this outcome was not surprising. The poems that Duffy wrote for Standing Female Nude are more focused on capturing different moments within people’s lives that are meant to make the reader feel as if they are sharing those experiences, memories, and feelings with the subject of the poem. The best way to accomplish this goal is to use present tense and allow the reader experience the event at the same time as the subject.

In contrast, The World’s Wife is based off of well known historical figures, fictional characters, ancient mythology and more. Most of these stories have occurred before Duffy or her readers were even born. By using past tense, Duffy helps make her allusions to other people’s, stories, and events easier for her readers to grasp as she adds her own spin to the well known tales.

This difference in past tense and present tense could somewhat be observed upon reading, but with this word analysis we were able to see it plainly. Different tenses in the narration changes the feel of each collection quite vividly, but putting your finger on specifically what causes that difference was not easy until we used microsearch.

Overall, these three epiphanies were the main takeaways we have from using voyant. It took some looking around and experimenting, but what we found is definitely of significance. Other than that, we did not find anything earth shatteringly different than what we already knew from a close reading of both of the volumes by Duffy.  



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