For this assignment, I chose to focus on the Reader capability of Voyant. What I looked at was the way in which the word “bosom” was used throughout Pamela. I was surprised by the low usage (in comparison to other key words) of words like bosom, saucy, hussy and slut. These are the words which stood out to me most while reading the actual book, probably because of their personal connotations, and so I was surprised to see how sparingly they were used. “Bosom” was only used 31 times in the entire text.
Using the reader function I looked at every time bosom was used. Over the course of the book, we see a transition in how bosom is used in its symbolic meaning for Mr. B and Pamela. For Pamela, the bosom is originally tied to her letter writing, her soul and emotional state. The letters being her thoughts and feelings, and the bosom being where she stores these. The phrase or concept of putting a “letter in my bosom” (or writing supplies – the ones Ms. Jewkes gives her) was used 10 times. Ms. Jewkes kept her own instructions from Mr. B in her bosom, as well as Williams keeping the letter from Pamela within his bosom. Pamela also hides her letters for Mr. Willaims in the” bosom of the earth.” This phrase tapers off in usage as the book progresses, parallel to Pamela’s developing relations with Mr. B. Pamela goes from hiding letters in her bosom to performing actions like, “hide your [Pamela’s] dear face in my [Mr. B’s] bosom,” describing Mr. B, “generous bosom,” and finally, “hid my blushing face on his bosom.” Pamela’s relationship with her bosom alters over the course from hiding her own feelings within it to interacting with the bosom of Mr. B
Gradually as the book professes and Pamela develops her relationship with Mr. B, she begins to refer to the bosom of Mr. B rather than her own, her bosom no longer being used to keep her letters but to keep the sentiments and feelings of Mr. B.
Mr. B also undergoes a bosom change. What starts as a purely physical assessment of the bosom becomes, for Mr. B, a more emotional and conceptual understanding of the bosom. The phrase “hand in/on my bosom” was used three times, all in relation to Mr. B and Pamela. He says, “I tell you the truth in one instance, you may believe me in the other. I know not, I declare, beyond this lovely bosom, your sex.” But Mr. B’s conception of the bosom as something purely physical gradually changes as he comes more sentimental and invested in Pamela’s emotional state. We begin to see bosom used in manners such as Mr. B asking Pamela to hide her face within his own bosom, acknowledging Pamela’s bosom in a different context, “Now, Pamela, judge for me; and, since I have told you, thus candidly, my mind, and I see yours is big with some important meaning, by your eyes, your blushes, and that sweet confusion which I behold struggling in your bosom, tell me, with like openness and candour, what you think I ought to do, and what you would have me do.” He also makes allusions to his own bosom as an emotional source, “Ay, that, my dear Pamela, said he, and clasped me in his arms, was the kind, the inexpressibly kind action, that has rivetted my affections to you, and obliges me, in this free and unreserved manner, to pour my whole soul into your bosom.”
Bosom is a conduit for emotional capacity and change amongst the two main characters of the book, an observation which is made easily studable through the Voyant program.
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