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Words of Religion in "Pamela" and Its Fellows (Assignment 3)
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Words of Religion in "Pamela" and Its Fellows (Assignment 3)

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Something I am curious about, in regard to Pamela, is the presence and function of religious terminology in the text. While examining the word cloud generated by Voyant for the novel, it struck me that only two evidently religious terms--"god" and "pray"--appeared in a cloud of 55 words (with auto-detected stopwords). Moreover, both of these words were relatively small and disappeared when I restricted the cloud to 25 words. Is it not odd that a novel purporting to instill religious virtue in its readers does not make more extensive use of explicitly religious words?

I investigated this theme further while comparing the seven corpuses (corpi?), using the Trends tool to examine the relative frequencies of four religious words: "god*," "pray*," "religion*," and "virtue*." A few observations from the graph of that comparison (which I had trouble including in this post): "God" appears, as might be expected, far more frequently in Pamela than in Anti-PamelaShamela, or Joseph Andrews--but also more frequently than in Clarissa or Grandison. "Pray" follows a similar pattern but actually appears quite frequently in Shamela. The frequency of "virtue," interestingly, does not vary much among the texts. And, somehow, the frequency of "religion" is seemingly negligible in all of the texts except for Shamela, where it appears relatively often! What do these observations tell us about how Haywood and Fielding went about writing their satires--particularly in relation to how Richardson constructed Pamela and his other works?