Opposing Factors: Network Graphs and the Themes of Joyce and Eliot

While I was toggling between filters on Gephi, I found the most interesting information to be the sort of "over-arching" themes of Joyce and Eliot.  When you select the filter "Eliot,"  the words "immortality" and "aesthetics,"  and the words "death" and "religion," oppose each other on the graph.  Alternatively, using the "Joyce" filter, the graph formulated creates a triangle of "irony," "greatness," and "mediocrity."  

By looking at how these words are related to one another, comparing Joyce and Eliot, one can "read" the major concerns, and the interior conflicts, of their work.  For Eliot, he is concerned with each of the four terms described, but he is also interested in their relationships.  He wonders, in many of his poems, if aesthetics are immortal, and he wonders if religion is dead.  Further, can his aesthetics immortalize him, and can the lack of religion, or too much religion, kill?  

With Joyce, it seems that the irony of his own greatness is his exposure of mediocrity, especially in Bloom's life.  OR, that the irony of life is that everything great is truly mediocre and vice versa.  Perhaps, because this data is subjective, this is more of a reading of individual students' readings of the work, but it nevertheless indicates to some degree the message that these works create.  

Poetry and War

The Poetry Magazine does an excellent job in covering topics such as patriotism, religion and the aftermath of the war through poetry. There is a sense of strong love of ones country and the need to protect it in many of the poems. A poem titled “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke illustrates this perfectly. The poem goes on to say how the soldier “gives somewhere back the thoughts [to him] by England given”. Throughout the poem he very much speaks fondly of England as if that was his birth mother and she the only thing worth protecting.  There are also several instances of religion being used as a coping mechanism to deal with the mortal wounds sustained in war. In the “Slavic Song” a soldier tells his mother not to worry about his numerous wounds but rather call the “doctor, the young carpenter” a clear reference to Jesus.  Here we also see the bravery that the soldiers exhibited… The young man comforts his mother and tells her not to worry for he is not badly wounded even though he knows he is about to die. Poetry also touches on the issue of the returning soldiers in poems such as “The Veteran” by Margaret L. Postgate. Postgate tells of a man retelling the many horrors of war to young men but in the end we hear that the storyteller is not even 19 years old yet. This was particularly a touching poem because it showed what happened after the war to all the irrevocably damaged young men that fought so hard for their country. Overall Poetry very much was shaped by the War and the experience it brought.

Due: 6/23 Blog Post