The Corpus word cloud:
The word cloud generated for the corpus reflects the use of dialectical language among interviewees’ transcripts. Orality seems to play an integral role of the speaker, and there is a heavy of localisms such as “dey”, “dat”, “dem”, “em”, “wuz”, and “wid” among others in the word cloud. This visualization displays narratives of what was life like in the slavery system, where terms like “slaves”, “whites”, “folks”, and “dem” who is playing what role; and terms like “plantation”, “home”, “mother”, and “miss” may be describing the context in which these players related. The corpus points to a narrative that is dominated in the South, where the bulk of interviews where probably collected or where most stories point to as interviewees from non-southern states recollect their memories.
The Corpus in comparison with the Georgia, Kansas, and Mississippi documents
This might be the reason why the corpus word cloud resembles the one from the Georgia document, a place where the plantation system was part of this state’s makeup. The corpus word cloud also resembles the Mississippi document visualization in terms of the use of broken English, Mississippi presenting narratives with a heavier reliance on the use of dialectical lexicon. When drawing a comparison between the corpus and the Kansas document word cloud, I could make the assumption that slaves and former slaves were distanced from the plantation realm. This change in interviewees’ self-conceptualization in the Kansas narratives is reflected in the cloud with (1) the lack of dialectical terms, and (2) the frequent use of terms like “school”, “man”, and “people”; something we will not see in the Georgia or Mississippi word clouds.
The Georgia word cloud:
The word cloud generated on the Georgia document might be reflective of stories revolving plantation life as a slave. Again, this is seen in the frequency of words, such as, “marse”, “master”, “slave”, “dey”, and “dem”, to depict the protagonists of these narratives. And words like “house” and “plantation” point to narratives on the “family” nucleus dynamics that took place in such a system.
When comparing the Georgia document word cloud with the one produced from the Kansas document, the Kansas one still tells stories that reflect master-slave relationships in the plantation system in the South, but with indicators that slaves (or former slaves) are speaking from a non-southern place.
In comparison with the Mississippi document word cloud, the Georgia visualization shows narratives from individuals who are conscious about the concept of “time” a word that is very present in their language system. It speaks of their own conception as slaves in a specific, their self-awareness as being part of a specific context (plantation life), and their apprehension of the duration of their existence within that space they inhabit.
The Kansas word cloud:
The Kansas document word cloud alludes to narratives that speak of their lives as slaves (or former slaves), but present stories being told from individuals that have taken more physical distance from that former system. Terms like “sold”, “school”, “married”, “came”, and “stayed” are reflective of changes in the status and lifestyle of the formerly (or about to be) enslaved individual. This word cloud differs from the corpus one, just as it distantiates itself from the Georgia. It may have to do with the intention of WPA organizers in Kansas. It may be that Kansas approached the WPA project with different objectives and agendas in mind to confront the Depression era. They may have placed emphasis on building infrastructure and on progressing as a region (as compared to southern states). Again, these are just speculations just based on what the Kansas word cloud offers as information. One would have to have a closer look at the Trends and Contexts of Voyant to make more informed assumptions.
The Mississippi word cloud:
The Mississippi document word cloud is reflective of narratives where the terms “slave” and “plantation” are missing, which leads me to make assumptions about the way the interviewees actually conceived themselves. In fact, the only word that points to how they are identified as a collective is with the use of the “n” word. It is almost as if slaved individuals cannot articulate their reality as subjected and suppressed beings. The cloud is similar to the Georgia word cloud as far as the dialectical language used. But unlike Georgia, the Mississippi narratives speak, not so much in terms of me or us, but in terms of the other, the “white”, the “folks”, “dey”, “em”. This cloud visualizes the severity in which the slavery system impacts a collective. It exemplifies in a way how the slavery system successfully worked in stripping the humanity away from these individuals. The most drastic comparison is between the Georgia and the Kansas word clouds. Whereas the Kansas narratives reflect an enunciation from a different stage (physically distant from the plantation stage), the Mississippi narratives are speaking from a more internal platform.