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The Day Before First Day of School

Here I am sitting down and trying to prepare for the first day of school. Of course I’ve had many first days of school, twenty to be exact.

This time it’s different, because it will be my first day of school as a teacher- a student teacher!

While reading through a great blog, ( I came across some wonderful inspirational videos, which reminded me of why I want to teach and why I love to teach:

Along with learning from my guiding teacher and experimenting new lesson plans during my student teaching, I would like to play around with the phenomenal  idea of “Genius Hour.” “Genius Hour” allows students  to work on projects they are interested in and develop it throughout the semester: “It provides a path to intrinsic motivation.” (

Rules to “Genius Hour”:

1. Project needs to have a driving question: students needs to communicate what they want to learn about.

2. Project must involve research and resources used.

3. Project must be shared with the class and entire world.

Visit for more information.

With this said, tomorrow I will begin my first first day of school as a student teacher and blog my daily accomplishments and shortcomings!

Wish me luck!

See you soon!


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Internship @ Peter Greenberg Worldwide

I have been writing and researching as an intern at Peter Greenberg Worldwide for the past two months. Peter Greenberg is America’s most widely known travel journalist. He is Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This MorningCBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and CBS Sunday Morning, among other broadcast platforms. As an intern at Peter Greenberg Worldwide, I help research for his upcoming travel books as well as write small pieces for their webpage, including a variety of volunteer opportunities abroad, travel tips and much more.

Traveling and writing are two hobbies that take time and effort, but this internship has allowed me to kill two birds with one stone. I’ve always had a feeling that the more worldly a person is, the more he/she can reach out to readers of all cultures and nationalities. I plan to travel and write this summer and  my internship at Peter Greenberg Worldwide has made that dream a footstep closer.

Please check out a few of the volunteer programs I have researched and written about:







Thank you,

Until next time…

Tara Kay E.

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Xtranormal Video

Debate between Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, over who is the better mystery writer!!

The XTRANORMAL video was submitted to you.


Collins: Welcome Edgar. How are you on this fine evening of your afterlife?

Poe: Well Wilkie, after being buried for over 30 years, I am not in the best of moods. I heard about the argument between you and Arthur and couldn’t help but interfere.

Collins: Ah. Yes. We have been disturbing everyone’s sleep, but this is something that will allow us all to rest in peace, once solved. Now, Sir Arthur erroneously believes his mystery novels to be superior to mine. Whom do you prefer?

Poe: Pardon me, Wilkie, but I came to tell you that without me, none of you guys would be writing anything. I am the American predecessor who influenced you…

Collins: Laughs. You woke up from your eternal sleep for this? You wrote what, short stories? (laughter) To quote T.S. Elliot, The Moonstone is “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels.” Clearly, you had not the creativity, nor the story development for the novel.

Poe: Very funny, Wilkie. I might have written short stories, but “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” contain the first elements of the growing Mystery genre.

ENTERS Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Doyle: Hello my unfortunate quarrelers. Are you all here to agree that I am the undisputed victor?

Collins: Enough of your insufferable arrogance. You are dead for god’s sake.

Poe: I’ll have to agree with Collins on this one.

Doyle: I would rather suffer from arrogance than say… alcoholism or even more shameful, an opium addiction. Regardless, none of your works made it–as the Americans say– to the big screen!

Poe: Confused Face.

 Collins: Come again?

Doyle: Right, you do not know. My books became plays, and now they are on television! I am so famous and loved, that the whole world talks about Sherlock Holmes. How many people talk about Betteredge or Blake from the Moonstone?

Poe: Collins, don’t answer him. Clearly, he doesn’t want to admit that he read my short stories, which later influenced his own works. I guess this is what people mean when I hear them saying that fame destroys someone’s true identity.

Collins: Doyle, you should acknowledge that you are indebted to us. You can deny it or you can come to terms with it. Yes, you are famous and loved, but everybody knows that Poe and I influenced the mystery genre.

Doyle: Yes, yet Sherlock Holmes is still the better detective, although I hate him.

Collins: I beg to differ; Sergeant Cuff is far more superior, with keener senses.

Poe: Detectives do not matter! It is the psychological interest of the crime itself. Suppose you pit your two great detectives against my murder of the “Cask of Amontillado”. After all, the murder was never solved…

Doyle, Collins and Poe all leave to prepare for THE MYSTERY GAME!

New characters enter the scene. Betteredge (one of the main narrators in The Moonstone)  enters the scene and Watson (the main narrator of Sherlock Holmes) enters after him.

Watson: Betteredge, regardless of whether Holmes, or Cuff  solves this crime, our competition will be who can relate the events of THE MYSTERY GAME better.

Everybody leaves, but Betteredge.

Betteredge: (snarky comment) Of course, I will beat that cripple, Dr. Watson.

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Methodological Problems

For a general discussion of both the successes and failures of ManyEyes Word Cloud and other applications, Topic Flower, tokenizing and using dendrograms/treeview please refer to our Research Methodology section.

Issues using Xtranormal:

  1. Only allows dialogue between two characters, so it was a challenge trying to work with three or more characters.
  2. Because I signed up as a student (with a token) it only lets me submit my video to my professor. I cannot upload it onto a web page.
  3. Therefore, we go the video up with the help of our professor.

Issues using Neoformix:

  1.  One of the ways we tried to visualize our text set was by using Neoformix. Neoformix allows you to see how the different parts of the story can be connected to each other throughout the story as a whole. This process was not useful because the text was to large for the program to work and find meaningful connections. I tried putting in multiple texts but that didn’t  work either because it was to much information so the connections were off or the text was so large it wouldn’t create the data set.

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Results & Conclusions

Tara’s Results:

I chunked The Moonstone and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and found out that The Moonstone is mostly chunked together, and so is “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” At first I thought I would find more similarities, but it turns out that each text is more similar to itself then each other. The Moonstone is comprised of 8 narratives, plus one more long narrative that opens the novel. It was interesting to find that M6N1600, M5N1500 and Rue3000 had connectiones. From this I depicted that the fifth and sixth narratives of  The Moonstone were the most similar to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” I decided to focus on these connections. The dendrograms were a starting point for my investigation. They were the jump start towards focusing my attention on the 5th and 6th narratives of The Moonstone. With that observation, I decided to do a literary analysis between The Moonstone (5th and 6th narratives), and the end of  “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” These were my two observations:

1. Britain’s formation of empires during the 19th century  was a means of manifesting power over those who were different, and at times weaker. The literary critic and theorist, Edward Said, in his introduction to, Orientalism, writes “how European and U.S. literary and cultural representations, academic disciplines, and public perceptions foster biases against non-Western peoples casting them as oriental Others” (Said 1861), theorizing the effects of British imperialism, and the ways it falsely molded people’s perceptions of Eastern countries. In the fifth narrative of The Moonstone, a young boy is describing what he witnesses, to Sergeant Cuff and Mr. Blake. As he tells his story, he keeps “relating to a dark man” (Collins 467). This relation to a dark man, of different ethnic origin is a continuing theme within Victorian novels and their depiction of “the other” as being dark skinned.  Within individual households, like the one Collins creates in The Moonstone, various individuals are presented, who indicate distrust towards India and Indians. Towards the ending of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the witnesses who explain the atrocious sounds they hear at night also depict that they hear foreign voices: A Frenchman’s voice and another one of ethnic origin, supposing it to be Spanish. Collins could have gotten the idea of “the other” from Poe, but it was also an ongoing theme during Imperial Britain’s days. I came to the conclusion that the only difference between Poe’s and Collins’s depiction of “the other” is that the American, Poe,  writes a  “Spanish” to be the foreigner in his short story, where Collins, the British,  writes an, “Indian” to be the foreigner in his novel, since India was one of Britain’s colonies. With the help of the dendrograms, I was able to catch this similarity.

2. My second observation was that the end of  “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is also similar to The Moonstone’s sixth narrative because that is when both the mysteries are uncovered. In “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Dupin finds out that the murder was not committed by a human. With a compilation of the abnormal sounds that the witnesses hear,  the horrid mutilation of the victims, and the inhuman hair found during the crime scene, Dupin concludes that the suspect is an animal. Dupin also states that the  paw print  he finds matches that of an Ouran-Outang. Dupin then declares that the owner of the creature is probably a sailor. This connection fascinated me, because it completely matches the suspect in The Moonstone.  Godfrey Ablewhite is disguised as a dark man and dressed as a sailor when he steels the Moonstone. Here there is a connection between Collins and Poe, because they both decided to use a sailor as their suspect.

The dendrograms help narrow my focus between Narrative five and six of The Moonstone and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” My conclusion form the research I gathered and formulated is that Collins did branch off from some of  Poe’s ideas, (based on the above mentioned similarities) since Poe started the mystery genre through his short stories.

Dendrogram I used:

Works Cited

Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc, 2005. Print.

Said, Edward W. “Culture and Imperialism.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed.             Leitch, Vincent B. 2nd ed. New York: NY, 2010. 1888-1904. Print.

Sinead Coleman’s research:

Edgar Allen Poe

“The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

Our project was focused on investigating the detective and mystery solving genre of literature. We wanted to concentrate our energy on looking at the first novels and short stories from this genre. This search directed us to Edgar Allen Poe, Willkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The research we conducted, through the use of dendrograms and other text visualization tools, steered us to conclusion that the texts most similar to each other were those by the same author. I chose to focus my analysis on Poe’s two short stores “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”.  I thought the most useful research was the dendrogram that showed the stories side by side.  My dendrogram raises two questions. (Please note: each text has been divided into five chunks and I have labeled them one through five) The first question: why is chunk two of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” separate from all other chunks from both stories (ideally shouldn’t part one be next to part two and so on)?  The second question presented by the dendrograms: why are chunks one and four of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” close to each other and then closest next to chunk four of the “The Purloined Letter”?

First, both stories involve the same two main characters. The first is an unnamed narrator who recounts the stories to the reader and audience and the second is the genius yet eccentric detective C. Auguste Dupin. (The character set-up is very similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson and Poe introduced these characters way before Doyle. This is a commonality within the genre) Dupin is the detective at his best. He is able to solve any mystery by finding the solution that’s always hidden in plain sight. Furthermore Dupin is able to solve the mysteries and crimes through dispassionate analysis. He is able to focus on how the mind works and from there he uses his deductive reasoning skills to figure out the rest. All this intellectual analysis is why he is always able to solve the issue at hand. The use for the unnamed narrator is to present this information to the reader in an interesting and relatable way.

Now for the mysteries they are alike in the sense that Dupin solves them but, the nature of the crime is very different. The crime in the “The Purloined Letter” is in regards to a stolen letter, Dupin must find out where this missing letter is located. The crime in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is dark and grizzly, involving a very violent, brutal, and bloody murder. The victims in the story are two females who were murdered in their apartment that was locked from the inside with no sign of an intruder. Dupin, of course, is able to solve both crimes with his aforementioned skills.

Question one presented by the dendrograms can be solved by simply reading chunk two of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and then looking at that in relation to the rest of the chunks of both texts. I came to the conclusion that the reason that chunk two is separated from the rest of the texts is because of the subject matter within. Chunk two details the horrible and disgusting murders of the two females. The text describes that a witness heard noises like speaking but weren’t able to ever figure out what was said or an actual ethnicity (but it was like the formulation of the ‘other’ like character that was popular during this imperialistic time because certain ethnicities were mentioned) they said it sounded crazed and alien. This part of the text also explores the shape of the bodies and the wounds inflicted on the corpses as well as where the bodies were located when found after the attack. I believe that this part is unlike the rest of the chunks because the rest of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” are about the brain and how it works, the relationship between the narrator and Dupin, and the solving of the crime. Not to mention the biggest difference between the texts is in regard to the crimes, one is murder the other is a case of a missing object. The two crimes are extremely different so that is why I believe the dendrogram separated chunk two from “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” from the rest of the chunks.

Question two can also be answered by going back to the chunks and reading them to figure out the similarities. Chunk four of “The Purloined Letter” which is the chunk closest to chunks one and four of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is similar because the subject matter is the same.  Dupin is talking about how he knew the letter would be in plain sight and not hidden in the nooks and crannies of the Ministers apartment like the Prefect did. He also explains how he knew this to be true. He describes a game that is played by people for fun. This game goes like this, a group of people pull out a map and one person picks something on the map like the name of a city, river, tower, etc. and then the other members of the group try to figure it out with the least amount of incorrect guesses.  Dupin says that most people when playing the game choose the thing with the tinniest name; he suspects that people will guess that making it easier to find what the person chose. Dupin suggests then that the best thing to do is to choose the most obvious, largest, longest name that stretches across the map, because that would be the hardest to guess.  That is how Dupin knew the missing letter would be out in the open, a place where anyone could see; because that would be the place no one would suspect or check. This type of analytical thinking is how Dupin is able to solve any crime before anyone else. This relates back to the Passages in the “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” because the focus of chunk one and four are very alike. Chunk one is and introduction to Dupin and the narrator as well as a description of how the mind works and processes information not just on the action that takes place. The chunk also details the same things as chunk four about finding clues, talking about how crimes are solved, solving said crimes, coming to specific conclusions, and how the mind develops ideas and conclusions. The other part of chunk four of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is the fact that Dupin is actually solving the murder. He discovers the nail and the window, plus the pole near the window, the body in the chimney, the body out in the yard, the type of marks on the body, the clumps of hair, the extreme force that would be needed to commit said crimes, and lastly the murderer’s identity. Dupin identifies the murderer as an orangutan (this is the spelling found on Project Gutenberg: ourang-outang) from East India. Overall there was a legitimate and rational reason for the way the text was chunked in the dendrogram.

These passages illustrate the related and unrelated aspects of the two texts. What I learned from this research was that Poe really created this genre and started a lot of the now typical elements of the detective mystery novels. I realized that a lot of the stories were similar to one another because of the emphasis on the brain and the processing which an important feature of the literature presented.

Research Methodology: The way I read the dendrogram was to first rotate the screen view clockwise so that the information was top to bottom. I then traced the lines horizontally and vertically to find the sections of the text that were similar by location and also looking at the separation of the texts. That is how I was able to figure out my two research questions. From that point I decided to figure out how to label the chunks. I thought that labeling which chunk was first, second, third, and so on would be the easiest. Step two was to figure out how to find the exact part of the text that the chunk was. The way to figure that out was to look at the chunk size and then look at the chunk and if the chunk ended on word 12,000 and the chunk size was 3,000 I knew I would have to subtract 3,000 from 12,000 and read from word 9,000 to 12,000 to figure out the contents of that chunk. This was the process I used to gain this information presented here.

Works Cited

Poe, Edgar A. “The Purloined Letter.” Project Gutenberg. Web

Poe, Edgar A. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Project Gutenberg. Web

Kendra’s Analysis and Continued Research Methodology

Initially, I used the Dendrogram labeled “Everything.” There were three things that stood out to me. Firstly, there are more connections between texts written by the same authors than what we initially supposed. For example, The Sign of Four and A Study in Scarlet are clearly more similar to one another. In the same way, sections of The Moonstone are more similar to itself. Despite this fact, we did  notice some similarities between The Moonstone and “The Purloined Letter.” Secondly, most of the similarities that the other texts have with the Moonstone seem to happen during the 6th narrative to the end. Thirdly, reading the dendogram is difficult so I decided create more specific dendrograms, each comparing different permutations of texts.

The two dendrograms I focused on are called:



“PurloinedMoonstoneFourScarlet” and “MoonstoneRuePurloined15chunks.” The former I used to compare just The Moonstone with A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. I used the latter to in my comparison of The Moonstone and “The Purloined Letter.” Using the Dendrograms as a basis, I created various visualizations using Many-Eyes. Please see the following link for these creations: I used both the Phrase Net and the Word Cloud to look for connections and in my analysis.

            At first, I focused on the similarity between The Moonstone and “The Purloined Letter.” Using the Dendrogram “MoonstoneRuePurloined15chunks” I noticed that chunks 2760-3220 “The Purloined Letter” is most similar to The Moonstone 6th narrative chunks 4950-5500. After re-reading the tokenized versions I did not notice any striking similarities between the two other than in both cases it is part of the unveiling of the crime. As a result, I ran another test using Many Eyes, specifically the Phrase Net and the Word Cloud of each individual chunksets. Again, this did not provide any viable results, so I broadened the section of the Moonstone, based on similarities in “MoonstoneRuePurloined15chunks” dendrogram and included chunks 4800-6400. By including said chunks, there is a broader context to work with. I would argue that these sections are similar not because it is the resolution of the crime, but the vindication that the written word provides. As the final mystery is in both The Moonstone and “The Purloined Letter” revealed, in both cases through writing.

The final resolution of the mysterious theft of the Moonstone comes from a surprising source: Ezra Jennings. Indeed, Jennings is the linchpin to the solving of the whole mystery. Jennings understands and solves the seemingly supernatural theft not only using scientific and rational thinking, but through his notes and writing. For instance, when discussing how Franklin Blake is to be exonerated:

No! my notes have but one value, looking to the verdict of the world outside. Your innocence is to be vindicated; and they show how it can be done. We must put our conviction to the proof-and You are the man to prove it! (Collins 388)

This passage, although not directly included in the chunkset emphasizes the importance that the written word. Jennings’ journal provides the scientific background for the experiment that Jennings conducts with Blake to prove his innocence. It is an interesting mixture not only of science and rational reasoning, but the careful examination as based on written scientific fact. Moreover, throughout the experiment Ezra Jennings carefully takes notes.

Unlike The Moonstone, the action of “The Purloined Letter” happens through the relatively simple theft and subsequent blackmail. However, in much the same way the Prefect expects Dupin to prove his assertion through producing the missing letter, another piece of writing or text. From the very beginning, Dupin requires a clear description of the missing letter, “…the Prefect, producing a memorandum-book proceeded to read aloud a minute account of the internal, and especially of the external appearance of the missing document” (Poe). Dupin in his brilliance considers not only the external appearance, the criminal who steals the letter. It is this understanding of both that leads Dupin to the solution. He recognizes the letter based on:

…the size alone formed a point of correspondence. But, then, the radicalness of these differences, which was excessive; the dirt; the soiled and torn condition of the paper, so inconsistent with the true methodical habits of D—, and so suggestive of a design to delude the beholder into an idea of the worthlessness of the document; these things (Poe)

Again as with The Moonstone, there is an emphasis on the importance of the written word. Just as Ezra Jennings’ journal establishes Blake’s innocence, so too does Dupin’s retrieving the letter end the blackmail. Moreover, Dupin’s ending replacing the letter with a fake. As Dupin explains, “…letter is not in [the blackmailer’s] possession, he will proceed with his exactions as if it was. Thus will he inevitably commit himself, at once, to his political destruction…” (Poe). It is interesting to note that the role that the letter plays is the opposite as it did with Franklin Blake. In an interesting reversal, for Franklin Blake Jennings’ journal ensures his absolution, whereas the letter causes the blackmailers’ destruction. The role of secrets and the solution of crime in these texts all seem to connect closely to writing.

Here are some samples of the phrase nets I ran. Although not directly cited in my analysis of the text these did inform my perspective.

 This is from The Moonstone. 

 This is from “The Purloined Letter”

 This is from The Sign of Four. 

Notice how without the helpful labels, it would be difficult to ascertain which texts these phrase nets came from. This would be a future area that I would be interested in pursuing.

Works Cited

Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone. Ed. Sandra Kemp. London: Penguin, 1998. Print.

Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of the Four. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2004. Print.

Murch, A.E. The Development of the Detective Novel. New York: Greenwood, 1958. Print.

The Purloined Letter

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Step 1: Tokenizing the Texts

Please refer to the below table for all of the texts we started with. We were unable to chunk the whole Moonstone because it continued to crash the tokenizer. As a result we broke The Moonstone up into seven different pieces. The organization schema we based on the Gutenberg project for ease. The only difference is that we combined everything after the 6th narrative to the epilogue in one grouping. After tokenizing the text we moved onto using chunking, merging chunksets and treeview.

Step 2: Overcoming Failures with Dendrograms

We first chunked by # of chunks into 1000 chunks for each and tried to merge chunkset 4 times and it crashed, which was our first failure.

Then we rechunked and relabeled (please see the provided table) and used advanced by chunk size, rather than # of chunks. This successfully chunked everything , merged chunksets and called it WholeCorpus, which was useless because it was too difficult to read. We tried it three times into treeview and clicked get dendro and used first a PDF clustering, which never uploaded. Then we did dendro phyloxml and got an OOPS message then we viewed the 3rd was download XML, however this never successfully downloaded.

The failures continued until Then we ran some sample tests using Moonstone1stperiod =114 and the CaskAmon=2.

After conducting Moonstone 1st period and cask of amon. as a test to see if it fails we used it as a PDF.

We tested the Moonstone1st period to see #chunks would be less that 114. so 2000 chunks=57. then we chunked it to 4000= 28 chunks.

Step 3: Success!

After numerous failed attempts we decided to use advanced chunking and break up our chunks into 30 chunks or less. Although seemingly arbitrary, this produced readable results. Following is a graph of all of the most useful dendrograms. All together we produced fifteen dendrograms useable dendrograms and countless useless ones. For the purposes of this blog we are choosing to post only the most useful. Aside from the dendrogram below, all others will be reproduced in our individual analysis sections.

This dendrograms is called “Everything” and it is the first readable dendrograms we made.

Because of difficulties and problems with tokenizing we could not compare the entirety of The Moonstone to the various texts. As a result, we separated The Moonstone into seven parts, using Project Gutenberg’s labeling system.

For a complete breakdown please see the graph: 

Using the dendrograms as a starting point we decided to narrow our focus even more and limited ourselves to five texts, which were the most similar and exemplified what we found. Using a Dendrogram we narrowed our focus to include The Moonstone, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Purloined Letter,” The Sign of Four and A Study in Scarlet. Tara focused on the end of The Moonstone with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Sinead focused on “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and  ” The Purloined Letter.” Kendra focused on  The Sign of Four and the “The Purloined Letter.” 

Our group decided to use the Topic Flowers as another way to visualize the text in order to find more connections. We first found the text on Project Gutenberg and copied it into the text tokenizer. Then we copy and pasted the text into a word document. Then from word we transferred it to the Topic Flower text box and clicked create. Then we used the snipping tool to capture the image, then we saved the image as a “JPEG” file so we could post it onto WordPress easily. One of the problems we encountered while using the topic flowers was the fact that we tried putting all of our texts into the text box, but that overwhelmed the web-page, so putting in multiple texts at the same time proved impossible.

We hoped that by looking at these two topic flowers we would find a connection between “The Sign of Four” and “A Study in Scarlet.” There were similarities between colors (purple, yellow and blue), but “A Study in Scarlet” focused more on society and science, while “The Sign of Four” focused more on economy and society. This research did not lead to any major conclusions.

Above are the topic flowers for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” We found that again the overall topic flower color’s were similar (blue, yellow and orange), but “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” focuses on society , then a bit of science and “The Purloined Letter” focuses more on science and then a bit of society (both with a touch of recreation). “The Purloined Letter” had more ‘hairs’ than “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” which only showed us that it used more personal pronouns, not generating any new insight on our texts.

This was the topic flower for The Moonstone. This flower had sharper and more elongated petals which is indicative of negative terms, like death, murder and idiot. Although all the other stories were about mysteries or murders, this topic flower stood out, because it sensed a larger usage of negative terms, making The Moonstone  the only topic flower to match the dark contents of the text.

Our next step was to use Many-Eyes. We first created an account on Many-Eyes and from there decided to use the text visualization tools to find more similarities within our texts. We then decided to see which words would be the most visible in the word cloud. We were hoping to find words associated with detective mystery novel genre like murder, blood, clue, detective… etc. We found that the word connections we wanted were not there, but instead we found other similarities that we would never have thought of. For example: we did find that every text had the word “upon” and “one” except for the Moonstone, which only had the word “one” but not “upon.” This conclusion didn’t lead us to any new information or insight regarding our texts. The last similarity between all the texts was the use of the main characters’ names. The only issues we encountered with Many-eyes was that using some of the applications were impossible using the free form data set. The application wanted the information/ text transformed into an excel sheet, so that the two texts would be seen as separate. Our group decided that using the applications which required that process was not a viable option in the end.

These word clouds from Many Eyes, suggest that the word “upon” was used the most in all texts except, The Moonstone. Each text also used the name of the main characters the most: Sergeant, Mr., Franklin, Holmes, and Dupin. The word “one” is also used in all five texts, which we concluded suggest that each text had only one murder!

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Description of Texts

All of the prose works we used can be categorized as detective fiction. Initially, we compared Wilkie Collin’s The Moonstone, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four and A Study in Scarlet, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” “Murders on the Rue Morgue,” “The Purloined Letter,” and the “Cask of Amontillado.” Using A.E. Murch’s definition all of these works can be categorized as detective stories or detective fiction. For instance, “a detective story…may be defined as a tale in which the primary interest lies in the methodical discovery, by rational means, of the exact circumstances of a mysterious even or series of events. The story is designed to arouse the reader’s curiosity by a puzzling problem which usually, though not always, concerns a crime…” (Murch 11). Although we did consider and compare the above mentioned texts the following five texts are the ones we focused on.

Our Five Texts:

1. Edgar Allan Poe: (1809- 1849)

  • “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841)  and “The Purloined Letter” (1845)

2. Wilkie Collins: (1824-1889)

  • The Moonstone (1868)
3. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: (1859-1930)
  • The Sign of Four (1890)  & A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Hopefully without ruining the ending for any of these stories one will be able to read the following descriptions of the detectives on
There are numerous passages that underline the similarities between Dupin, Sherlock Holmes and Sergeant Cuff.
For instance, Dupin is clearly the most intelligent of men and holds his keen sense above the police,

“Why, yes,” said Dupin, drawlingly, between the whiffs of his meerschaum, “I really—think, G—, you have not exerted yourself—to the utmost in this matter. You might—do a little more, I think, eh?” (Poe)

Similarly, Sherlock Holmes expresses the same kind of attitude regarding those of lesser intelligence,

“No, no: I never guess. It is a shocking habit-destructive to the logical faculty. What seems strange to you is only so because you do not follow my train of thought of observe the small facts upon which large inferences may depend” (Doyle 114).

Finally, there is Sergeant Cuff,

‘In all my experience along the dirties ways of this dirty little world, I have never met with such a thing as a trifle yet” (Collins 109).

All of the detectives in these various texts possess keen sense and are able to make inferences and conclusions based on only the most trifling of issues. Among other things, these are some of the connections between the texts, consider the following excerpt from The Sign of Four:

Watson compliments Holmes as possessing Dupin-like qualities. Holmes, however, does not take this as a compliment:

Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. “Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour’s silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine” (Doyle 16)

Not only were the later works influenced by another, they were often included passages mocking the “inferior” detectives and their mysteries.

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