First seeing the use of Wordle, it looked like a cool tool but not necessarily one that would prove overly useful, asides from creating flashy visuals to show the more common words in a particular text. But then I began to wonder, what if I used this tool to compare texts, in particular different items focused on the same subject. It would indeed create great visuals, but it also keeps tabs on the number of times different words are used throughout a text. Through doing this there is no doubt that I would come to some interesting conclusions.
For this comparison I used the book Generation Kill. The book is written by Rolling Stone Magazine reporter Evan Wright and provides an in depth first-hand account of the invasion of Iraq. Evan rode in the back seat of a hummer, part of the United States Marine Corps First Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company. Yet, what proves most unique and beneficial in terms of comparing the text is the fact that not only was the book turned into an HBO mini-series, but a Marine who commanded the platoon of Humvees that Wright rode in also wrote a book. Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away looks at his personal career in the Marine Corps, most of which is focused on his time in Iraq. As Fick is a lieutenant it means that he was almost always no more than two-hundred or so meters away from Wright, which in turns means the two texts are covering very similar and at most times identical events.
So long story short, I took the text from Fick’s One Bullet Away, the text from Wright’s Generation Kill and the transcript from HBO’s Generation Kill and put them into individual word clouds. This is done in all honesty to satisfy my curiosity as I have read both books and watched the series several times. But in terms of research it can be said that I did this to compare a text written from the stance of the media/a non-combatant/someone with little knowledge in terms of military (asides from a brief assignment in Afghanistan), compared to a Marine lieutenant. I was also able to compare Generation Kill the book to the mini-series, which of course means that there would be a difference from a text consisting mostly of descriptions to a text consisting of primarily dialogue.
It is also important to keep in mind that while the series is highly accurate in accordance to the text it’s based on and most of the dialogue in the book has been translated to the series, there is still a large quantity of “made up” dialogue in the HBO series. However because of the creators great attention to detail and heavy communications with the marines who the series is based on dialogue that is made up still bares the mannerisms, similar opinions to an extent that it could have been said by the marines themselves. This helps to assure that commonly said words would have most likely been the words commonly used by the soldiers during the invasion.
|Scene from HBO's Generation Kill, episode two "The Cradle of Civilization"|
Results of Wordle’s use to come in Part 2